The National Parks are my Disney world. Driving down roads lined with thousands of pine trees that open up to blue lakes, canyon rivers, and unbelievable mountains, we get swallowed up in it all. We lose ourselves. Finding solitude without going into the backcountry is nearly impossible, but it doesn’t matter. There’s something about being immersed in nature’s vastness with people from all over the world speaking all different languages – the parks allow us to connect even without words. As we hike and we explore and we let go of everything except experiencing life’s beauty, we connect back to our oneness with it all.

For a whole week, we camped and explored Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. (Do not miss the chance to see both since they are right next to each other.) We camped at Lizard Creek Campground which is in Grand Teton NP, but also gave us relatively easy access to Yellowstone. All of the campgrounds in the park fill early in the morning and we didn’t plan this trip far enough in advance to have made reservations. We chose Lizard Creek because the Internet told us that it usually doesn’t fill until the evening. And since we were driving in on a Saturday during the busy summer, we knew it was going to be a challenge to find camping. C’s parents and brother joined us for this part of the trip and were able to snag the last 2 campsites at 4pm. While we would have had more time to explore Yellowstone if we had camped in the park, I think we saved time (and stress) by not moving to a different campground mid-week.

We immediately fell in love with our campground that was adjacent to Jackson Lake and gave us a gorgeous sunset view of the Tetons. We didn’t realize that this area is filled with lakes (we all know Yellowstone for the sizzling hot geysers, not cool lake waters). Most of the campgrounds seem to have easy access to rocky beaches and lake views. Lizard Creek campground is just up the road from  Colter Bay Village where you can shower and do laundry.

I had never done yoga in such beautiful surroundings before, and it was the best antidote to all of the driving we did throughout the week. I found a perfect (though somewhat bumpy) overlook of the lake to put down my mat and find some silence. This trip has definitely reminded me that I need to always make time for myself to be alone. It’s sometimes hard to do that on a camping trip in the National Parks, but even with millions of visitors (and sharing car and camp space with family) – the parks are huge. I just had to make the effort to find my own space.

Our campground by the lake also gave us some amazing star gazing. We spent several nights looking up at the planets and the stars and wondering at the Milky Way that reflected in the lake. Not to mention the meteors that streaked all the way across the sky every few minutes.

This part of our trip was the longest camping streak we have had so far, but the time evaporated before we could catch our breath. The funny thing is, though, I don’t have any great photos of the Teton Mountains. The first day (when I wrote Grand Teton NP), I was completely mesmerized with the enormity of the mountain range and its perfect setting – and I didn’t take any photos except a shitty cell phone shot. I figured there would be plenty of time for that, but the next day, smoke from wildfires completely obstructed our view of the mountains as you can see in the photos below. And when the smoke cleared in the next couple of days, we hiked Jenny Lake which gave us a close up view of Grand Teton, but not the grand photo of the whole mountain range that I was lacking (in the evening
hours, since the sun sets behind the mountains, the definition of the rock faces fades into shadows). On our last day in the park, I got up early to drive down to Colter Bay Village and snapped a couple of quick photos on the beach before my camera informed me that my batteries were dead. Of course. But luckily, the photo turned out pretty well (compare it with the smoke covered mountains below).

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Grand Tetons
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I promise there are mountains in this picture, but the wildfires hide them.

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