Yellowstone National Park is stunning.
I am blogging to you from the business center of the Lake Yellowstone Hotel. We aren't staying in the hotel ($450+ a night - yikes!), but we are in a cute little cabin just outside of the hotel and that gives us access to some of the swankiness. The hotel is a complete gem, recently renovated Colonial joint. You feel like early-1920's tourists when you are in the lobby.
Quick aside on the cabin - it was one of the first pieces of Big Trip positive vibe karma. Kim was calling for lodging in the park early in the year. Rookies that we were, we weren't aware that Yellowstone lodging basically sells out a year in advance, but when she was on the phone, someone cancelled their three night stay and we grabbed it right then. Bam. It's tiny, but two beds, electricity and a shower. And it is smack dab in the middle of one of the most beautiful places on earth.
After waking up and having breakfast out of the cooler, we headed through the park and spent most of the day in the Yellowstone Grand Canyon area (not that Grand Canyon...Yellowstone has its own). We hiked mainly the South Rim. A few pictures below. Uncle Tom's Trail, Artists Point and other work around the South Rim. Breathtaking.
We had one of our first 'rough day' episodes, but just for part of the day. Hiking got difficult for MK for a while. I don't think it was any one thing, but between 8000 feet of altitude, mid-80° temps, sun, not in hiking shape yet and some VERY strenuous trails, we hit a wall. Some air conditioning in the visitors center got us back at it and we spent the remainder of the afternoon walking around some very smelly geothermal attractions. Pretty amazing stuff and we have probably seen about 1% of the park. Back out tomorrow for some July 4th hiking. Hopefully will be able to check in again tomorrow.
In the meantime, here is a challenge that I put out on Facebook every July 4th but probably won't get to because I won't have internet access until late. Your challenge is to read this (at least the first two paragraphs), and read it out loud: Declaration of Independence
(PS - you can click on the pics to launch them in a larger window. A couple of these might be worth the effort.)