Tuesday, June 29, 2010 (Gardiner & Chico Hot Springs)

High Point: Happy Birthday, Mike (we gave him a good hiking hat). Looking up at the mountains while resting in a hot spring pool

Low Point:  Getting ready to camp without hookups and knowing the camper isn’t working correctly; Having to break the news to the girls that all the “moose” they thought they saw in Mammoth yesterday were really elk.  The moose count is back to 6. 

Before they went to bed last night, the girls asked when they would get a day off.  Elizabeth explained that she has been seeing so much it is all “hard to process.”  Julia described it as being “like Buster at dog training” because he’s exercising a little but “his brain is working hard.” The kids are tired. 


Even the sun coming through the windows doesn’t wake Julia up

That fact, combined with Mike’s plan to work again most of the day today, led to a more relaxed pace.  We didn’t drive into the park, and we didn’t tackle any great hikes.  Instead, we slept in really late, had breakfast around 11 am, and let the girls just hang out playing on their DS’s. 

Around noon, we decided to give Mike some extra quiet time, so the girls and I hooked the dog to the bike and went down to the school again to run him around.  When he was settled down and tired, we parked the bikes at the edge of Gardiner’s touristy row of shops and took turns hanging out with him on the benches while the other two of us looked at postcards and magnets. 

DSC02886 DSC02881

Running Buster around the Gardiner school parking lots and resting in the public park (you can see the Yellowstone entrance arch in the background)

When Mike finished working for the day, we packed everyone up and, on the recommendation of a friend who visited nearly 20 years ago, set off for Chico Hot Springs, a resort 30 miles north of Gardiner.  It is a cute little collection of horse barns, restaurants, day spas, and hot spring pools.  For around $20, the whole family could swim in the pools for the day.  A big swimming pool was running at 93 degrees, while a smaller pool was 103 degrees.  The water comes in right from the spring and is regulated slightly by a cold water faucet that adds water when needed to keep the temps fairly constant.  It was a neat experience soaking in the pool and looking up at the mountains just on the other side of the wall.




Julia jumped into the hotter pool once but decided it was too much “like falling in a geyser” and hopped right back out.  We’d skipped lunch AND it was Mike’s birthday, so we decided to forget the late camp dinners for tonight and instead eat at the poolside grill where Mike had bbq ribs and the rest of us shared a pizza.  Swimming in a natural hot spring was a new experience, and the history attached to this place goes back to the late 1800’s, so that was fun to read about.  Also, I’ve never seen so many people decked out in swimsuits and cowboy boots, so that was worth the trip.  When I’m sharing water with dozens of other people, though, I prefer it to be heavily chlorinated, so I’m not sure I’d go out of my way to go back. 

When we did return to camp, it was for an easy night of watching movies on the laptop and doing some laundry.  Hopefully, everyone will have more energy in the morning. 

Gear check:  Mike is looking into how to handle the next 4 nights because temps are dropping into the 40’s and the camper battery that should be able to run for several days is only lasting an hour – a problem ‘cause this won’t let him potentially run the heater.  I know I shouldn’t whine ‘cause we’ve camped in the Tetons before back when we had only a tent and it was just fine.  That was our honeymoon, though, so maybe I just don’t remember it being cold! Anyway, we’re boarding the dog for two days (1 night) in the town of Jackson, so it makes sense to be on that end of the park. We’ll be camping without hookups at the Gros Ventre Campground in Grand Teton National Park.  No electricity or water, so I expect us to emerge from the woods sometime this coming weekend really needing an internet fix and a hot shower.  It will likely be July 4th before we post another blog entry.   

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

Leave a Reply