This summer I spent three weeks in the United States of America with my family. We made a roadtrip to discover the West-Coast. It was amazing and we kept being overwhelmed daily by the beauty of nature. This was week two.
(read here about week 1)
The best way to travel in America, is by car – or at the West-Coast, that is. In three weeks we drove about 4000 kilometres. We crossed different states and mostly visited the impressive national parks.
The states we went to: Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Montana en California.
The (national) parks: Grand Canyon National Park (NP), Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, Yellowstone NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Zion NP, Death Valley NP, Sequoia NP en Yosemite NP.
Big Cities: Las Vegas, Salt Lake City en San Francisco.
Salt Lake City
We ended week 1 in the beautiful town of Moab and on day 7 we departed to Salt Lake City. We arrived in the afternoon and after the checking-in we went to discover the city. Salt Lake City is the capital of the state of Utah and is named after the Great Salt Lake which lies close to the city. We were going to visit the lake later on our trip because Salt Lake City is an almost necessary stop if you want to go to Yellowstone.
Shopping and Temple Church
Salt Lake City is a beautiful, modern city with nice restaurants and a very nice atmosphere. It was also crazy hot, however there were a lot of people out in the street because Pokémon Go just got launched in the US. The city mall was very fancy and beautiful and we went for a bit of shopping. It's not our habit to shop (except for groceries) while travelling, but we felt like there wasn't that much to see and it was so cool inside, so we made an exception. Afterwards we visited Temple Church, an important church for the Mormons. Salt Lake City is known as the centre of the Church of Latter-day Saints - or in short, the Mormon Church.
We were quite lazy in discovering the city and I admit that I didn't do any research so I had no idea what the highlights of the city were. The atmosphere was so nice though that it was just fine strolling around.
Less fun though: getting in the city - in comparison with our tiny Belgium, the highway is huge. There are at least 6 lanes and that's crazy. You're also driving between huge jeeps and even bigger trucks. We had rented a jeep and in Belgium it would be considered quite big, but over there our car was one of the smallest.
On day 8 we left for Jackson, a small town in between mountains that was the perfect point to visit Grand Teton National Park. Our hotel in this village is worth mentioning. It was amazing - it was one of our best stays. We resided at The Lodge at Jackson Hole, a very cosy hotel decorated as a bigger version of a cabin in the woods. And you could find wooden statues of bears everywhere. Grand Teton is a place where you can find quite a lot of bears. And both the breakfast (one of the best - and healthiest we had) and the swimming pool were wonderful.
Grand Teton National Park
After checking in we drove to Grand Teton National Park - the park is not as well known as the others on our visit, but it is magnificent as well. It's very green, lots of wildflowers and enormous mountains. After driving through the park for a while, we decided to do a hike. Although the surroundings were beautiful, I didn't really enjoy the walk because I was scared of the bears. In Jackson they really warn you a lot for them and they had made me anxious. I wasn't at ease at all. We even ended the walk sooner, because of me. I do sincerely apologize to my family for that.
Yellowstone National Park
We did doubt about adding Yellowstone to our roadtrip because it adds a lot of kilometres. It was very wearisome but we did want to see this famous park - and I did not regret it at all because it was so beautiful! You know, we visited so many places in three weeks, but you only see so little of everything! I think you can easily spend three whole weeks at Yellowstone alone.
We started our visit to Yellowstone with one of the most famous geysers: Old Faithful. It was really cool to watch but it's definitely not what I'll remember about the park. We did a short hike near the geyser and then we drove further into the park and stopped at every place we wanted to. We ended our first day at Yellowstone with Mammoth Hot Springs. It was very sunny that day and the reflection of the sun in the water made it magnificent to see.
We begonnen ons bezoek aan Yellowstone met een bezoek aan een van de bekendste geisers: Old Faithful. Hoewel het heel tof was om te zien, was het voor mij niet hetgene wat me het meest zal bijblijven aan het park. We deden de korte hike vlakbij de de Old Faithful en trokken daarna verder het park in en stopten bij de plaatsen waar we zin in hadden. De dag sloten we af met de Mammoth Hot Springs, die ook echt prachtig zijn.
Rafting & horse riding
Our second day in Yellowstone was truly amazing. We had planned something more adventurous - in the morning we would go horse riding and in the afternoon we would raft on the Yellowstone river. Both activities were awesome. It was a nice change in our travel schedule and we all enjoyed it so much. The nature we walked through with the horses - cowboy style - was beautiful and the rafting was refreshing. It was a wonderful day. One of the best.
On our 11th day in the states it was time to move on again and on our way back through the park we stopped to walk Uncle Tom's Trail. It was an impulsive decision to do this short hike but we didn't regret it. We were rewarded with one of the most magnificent views of the whole trip. We stood above a gigantic waterfall and it was amazing. You really felt the power of the water thundering down and it was overwhelming. Nature is so powerful. The view of the valley was also really beautiful and there was a rainbow created because of the waterfall.
The summary of Idaho Falls: a simple pit stop without anything more to add. We were happy that we only left Yellowstone very late because there wasn't anything to do at Idaho Falls. We went to see the 'falls' but those were unimpressive. We did eat very well and even got vegetables served (quite rare on our trip so far)! It was a grill restaurant and we got corn cobs and broccoli. It was a great meal!
Salt Lake City
Antelope Island State Park
Idaho Falls to Salt Lake City was quite the drive. Because we visited the city already, we decided to go to Antelope Island, the park around the Great Salt Lake. It is known for its many bisons, so we hoped to see those!
Bisons and a dive in the Great Salt Lake
The nature around the Salt Lake is quite special because of the huge amount of salt present in the ground. During our drive in the park we saw whole flocks of bisons, but they never came near. But the park was very beautiful and the plains stretched out endlessly. Before we left the park, we decided to take a dive in the lake. It was really fun because you could float with the high amounts of salt in the water. Less fun were the many flies on the beach - there were huge amounts of them and apparently they love salt.
Oh, some small advice: don't wear your nicest swimsuit or bikini because the salt isn't very good to the fabric.
So we ended the last day of our second week in Salt Lake City. Time flew by and we couldn't believe we were about to start our last week. But there were lots of great destinations and beautiful parks on the planning, so off to week three!