Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.
― A Hat Full of Sky
Greetings, dear visitors and welcome to the Vacation Exhibit at the As Kat Knits Museum.
This, dear visitors, is the most unusual exhibit I have ever prepared for you all. I did not start with words, but rather with images… and then added my very brief memories around those images. In looking back at the photos from this trip, it makes me sad that I do not remember more but, I will share with you what I do remember so come along with me as I take you all back to 1996 and the Great Train Journey to the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks!
Our trek started from the Amtrak station in Holland, Michigan… heading for Union Station in Chicago. A bit of a “lay over” and we then boarded a train for Denver, CO. We had sleeping accommodations, which were… tight… with 2 adults and 3 kids. The start was flat and soon dark as we began our overnight journey to Denver. I don’t remember much of that overnight trip, but I do remember our approach to Denver and the mountains, plus all the new wildlife we could see from the windows!
The train from Denver to Grand Teton National Park was equally incredible for the scenery. Lots of buffalo and antelope! Our destination… the Grand Tetons and all the surrounding area! And a mere 24 + hours later we had arrived in the Tetons…yes, that was a long time to be traveling… with 3 kids… what were we thinking? All these years later and I still don’t have an answer to that question! Although Mac and Cheese in the dining car with Heidi and Rachel watching the antelopes play interspersed with an occasional prairie dog sighting was certainly fun. And the herds of buffalo… so many herds of buffalo!
We did lots of hiking. Lots. Perhaps too much with a seven year old, a six year old, and a four year old. But you know what they say about hindsight… Anyways, we hiked lots!
Sam apparently LOVED the stage coach ride… although, I don’t remember it at all even looking at the photos! But there are notes in the photo album! So there’s that… sigh! Jackson Hole really felt like a strange time warp of a place. Old and New meshing in the most curious of ways. We spent a day exploring and of course we visited an Olde Tyme Photo Shoppe! I remember the kids loved it…so much! I don’t think the Red Dog Saloon was the same after our departure!
I do, however, remember the Jackson Hole Antler Arch… the south entrance to Yellowstone. It was so memorable!
I think my favorite part of the trip was our trek into Yellowstone. I had never been before and even thinking back now… I still cannot comprehend how massive Yellowstone is! With two + million acres, it is immense and majestic. I was awed by the magnificence of the area. We spent a couple of days dipping our toes into the park… and it was not enough. I would like to return… someday soon I hope!
We did the typical touristy things.. Old Faithful, of course. Only a mother could appreciate its reliable schedule… my good days ran likewise but most days were on a schedule of time that I was not the master of, lol! (please see the three small but mighty beings in front of me… they ran the schedule every.single.day!)
Likewise, I do not remember this hike either. But I do remember this gorge. It was so loud!
Sadly, I do not remember the name of the place we stayed in the Teton’s… but you can see it behind us here. It was sort of Swiss Chalet-y and the rooms were homey, as I vaguely recall. But!! They had horses and the kids loved them.
Okay, maybe Heidi loved them most, but Sam’s tongue out determination here was quite accurate! (and no… at this time I was not a knitter, but I did have a nice sweater! LOL)
The place we stayed also had people who came and did a falconry show of sorts. There were hawks, a golden eagle, and an owl, as I recall. But I absolutely will never forget the hawk that landed on Rachel’s head. She loved it. I loved it! it was just so magical! I wish I remembered more of the things we did… but honestly, these vacation days have blurred a bit for me. Even photos are not jogging my memory. I do remember trying to keep everyone happy, relatively quiet, having enough snacks and water, and making sure we did not lose anyone. Perhaps not the best memories.
But all things must end… and too soon. Goodbye elk and moose and buffalo! See you later mountains, and geysers, and sulfur springs!
In this moment, I was truly wishing we had picked the fly home option… but no, here we are at 6AM at the Pocatello, ID Amtrak station… waiting for our train which at this point in time was 3 hours late. Yes, we got there at something like 2:30AM… how is it that I remember this so clearly! LOL Heidi was really expressing what all of us felt… why the heck are we not on the train. OR!! Why the heck are we not still in bed!! Not an auspicious ending to our trip…which made the 24 + hours even longer!
A fun trip, from what I can remember… oof! Sam has similar memories as I do… a few brief but spectacular ones. Heidi and Rachel remember a bit more… Heidi told me that this trip is what inspired her love of horses. (She was always, always, always asking if we could get a horse!) No one remembered food or restaurants or eating out. However, the girls reminded me of me packing Teddy Grahams for them every day… they said they were so delicious, lol!
Thank you all so much for reliving this vacation with me! I do so hope you enjoyed the exhibit! A huge thanks to Kym for inspiring me to dig out these old photos!
Have a great weekend all, see you back here on Monday!
Oh wow! What a trip!! We had several trips “out west” that were simply fabulous…one we flew and the other we drove across the country (and back – lol). Love seeing all your pictures Kat – even though you don’t remember a lot, I bet it was a great trip. (And what I remember most about Yellowstone and Old Faithful – the sulphur smell!! – YUCK.)
Really enjoyed your holiday. Mr E and I hoped to go to Yellowstone but never made it, but we did do California twice which was marvelous. I remember holidays with my three Boys, sometimes it was keeping the peace and finding food they would all eat.
These photos remind me a lot of family vacations around the same time (if I can judge from the fashion choices). It sounds like an epic but exhausting trip! I always thought traveling by train sounded glamorous, but I suppose that was more what it was like in past centuries — and I imagine being in a small train compartment with three young children was not glamorous at all!
Thanks for taking us along on your epic vacation! I’m especially impressed that you did this with three young kids on the train. We took a similar trip but in an RV and with only two kids. (I’ll tell you about that next week.) I do hope you get back to Yellowstone soon. (And way to go with the Teddy Grahams!)
what fun! the only ‘out west’ I went is flying to California to see our daughter. I lived in Michigan for a few years and went to Green Bay Wisconsin and that is it! There is more to explore and when life settles down maybe we will go to more places.
Amazing!! I love this so much! The photos (oh, how I can relate to all of that!)!
We took the Amtrak — The Empire Builder — to PNW in 1991, then driving down the coast. Kate was 6, Ali was 4, and Maddy was just a few months old. I barely remember a thing. I have no idea how we got back home!! haha