Adventuring with the one you love, there's nothing greater.
Josiah and I LOVE taking trips together. We're not ones to spend a week hanging out on the beach. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the beach. BUT I get antsy laying on the beach after a few hours. I much prefer to be doing something! Because we are both similar in this, most of our trips involve lots of activities or covering a lot of ground. This trip was jam packed from morning until night almost every single day and I wouldn't have had it any other way.
We started off our trip a day and a half later than we anticipated because our catalytic converter was stolen on our car (a common Chicago crime apparently). Because we had a deadline of when we needed to be in Denver, this could have been a serious bummer. But despite this setback, our spirits were high as we embraced an extra night's sleep at home and slow moving morning before heading off. We stopped in Sioux Falls, SD our first night and made a pit stop on our way out in the morning to take in the beautiful Sioux Falls. After we departed Sioux Falls, we stopped at The Badlands National Park where I was shocked by beauty (and heat). I had no idea the Badlands were so magnificent! I wished we hadn't been so pressed for time or we would have stayed longer. Definitely an underrated attraction.
Our next stop was in Cody, WY, a little mountain town just outside of Yellowstone. Our hotel was relatively basic, but it had a hot tub and claimed "the friendliest hotel in the west", which I would say is pretty accurate. The next day was Josiah's birthday so I had made arrangements for us to stop at a bakery on our way into Yellowstone to get some birthday treats. I think we both decided we would prefer breakfast burritos over cupcakes, so we sat and ate delicious birthday, breakfast burritos. Our plans literally never go as planned, but I actually sort of love it.
On our drive into Yellowstone, which was GORGEOUS, we listened to Josiah's favorite (my not-so-favorite) band, The Mountain Goats, which I offered as part 3 of many birthday gifts. Once we got into Yellowstone we parked and headed on the hike that Josiah had picked out. Before we started out I expected it to be more on the moderate side, but it quickly became apparent that the trail was going to be a challenge, but the views we saw at the top were so, so worth it!
After we climbed the peak and made our way back down to the car, I immediately fell asleep. I missed probably 45 minutes of our drive through the park, but no matter how hard I tried to stay awake, my body was spent! We spent the rest of the afternoon checking out the geysers and ooing and ahing at the insane colors they produce. We also saw a bear that was basically twenty feet in front of us and we almost died. But we didn't. So that was good. We headed out the park a bit early, checked into our hotel room (the nicest of the ones we stayed at) that was bigger than our apartment, ordered in some pizza and salad, watched some American Ninja Warrior, and called it a night.
The next day we spent 45 minutes in the gift shop and 45 minutes waiting for Old Faithful. I'd say that the gift shop was worth it (new favorite mug and sweatshirt), maybe not so much for Old Faithful, but I guess YOLO. Then the rest of our day was spent driving through the rest of Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons on our way to Grand Lake, CO and taking in the hidden beauty of Wyoming in it's along the way. We arrived in Grand Lake, fell asleep immediately, woke up the next day and grabbed breakfast at a cute diner/ BBQ place close by. Our initial plan for the day was to head into Rocky Mountain and hike, but the incessant rain held us back a bit. We decided to take advantage of the rain and use it as an excuse to slow down at a coffee shop and let ourselves relax. The coffee shop we ended up at was located just on the lake in combination with a boat and water sport rental shop. It was an odd combination, but the coffee shop had the cutest vintage watersport decor that was like nothing i've ever seen and it was run by the sweetest girls. We soaked in that rest time and then decided to brave a hike even though the rain hadn't fully stopped. I'm so glad that we just went for it because as soon as we started hiking the rain stopped and it held off our entire 10-mile hike. After we explored some more of Rocky Mountain (and asked incessantly "WHY DID WE MOVE FROM HERE!?") we landed at our hotel in Estes Park where we spent the next day just before heading to Denver. We spent one day in Denver shooting a wedding and then made our way back through Omaha to visit some friends just before heading back to Chicago.
In true Jenna and Josiah fashion, this trip was planned on a whim, executed imperfectly, but embraced fully. Our AC stopped working halfway through the trip, we didn't make it to Devil's Tower, we didn't get to do as many hikes as we planned, we made it home at 9pm on a Sunday and Josiah had to roll out of bed for work on Monday, but we wouldn't change a thing. For us, trips are really just good excuses to spend every waking minute together. That makes the moments when everything is going wrong feel like mild hiccups, because as long as we can hold each other through, who needs AC anyway. Okay, we need AC, but being together is still what it's all about. <3