Throughout this summer, The Daily Mississippian is publishing dispatches from our staffers about their vacation and study abroad experiences.
Visiting the United States National Parks has always been a dream of mine because I’ve always wanted to experience the beautiful scenery and picturesque view with my own eyes. Lucky for me, I checked two national parks off my list this summer.
I’m from a place close to Boston, Massachusetts, and I’ve only traveled along the East Coast, and to Mississippi, so you can guess the look on my face after stepping into Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. I had no real grasp of what to expect from the Mountain States.
I began my travels in the Grand Tetons, after flying into Salt Lake City. Initially, I didn’t expect much from this portion of the trip. But I was mistaken. We drove to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a community near the Tetons. The drive there was breathtaking, and it was the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever experienced.
Two of my favorite things we did in the Grand Tetons were hiking and visiting Jackson Lake Lodge. Hiking around Jenny Lake and taking the boat back to the starting point is an experience I recommend. The views from the hike were gorgeous. There were tons of routes along the way, but I highly suggest hiking to Inspiration Point and seeing the waterfall. The boat gives another perspective of the gorgeous views and is the perfect reward after a strenuous hike.
The Jackson Lake Lodge has the most glorious view I’ve ever seen in my life. No picture could ever do it justice.
I spent three days in Yellowstone National Park, which is the perfect amount of time in my opinion. Yellowstone has so many amazing and famous features, as you may have seen from photos.
While the most famous attractions such as Old Faithful and the Grand Prismatic are stunning, I highly recommend visiting Lamar Valley. Lamar Valley is home to the majority of the park’s wildlife, and the ride through is relaxing and beautiful. We saw bison, bears, antelope and elk.
Yellowstone is packed to the brim with different views, hikes and activities. Unlike Grand Tetons, Yellowstone is a lot busier and not as soothing. That’s not to say the views aren’t fascinating. From hot springs to geysers, I will never get over all that Yellowstone has to offer.
The most important part of our trip was the app GyPSy. We did have to pay for it, but the app not only guides you through the park, but it also gives insight on different lookout points or views and informational facts.
I didn’t go to these two national parks to learn. Frankly, I just wanted a vacation. However, I did learn many things, and that was one of the best and most interesting parts of this experience.
These two national parks have given me a new perspective about how wide the world truly is. From the glorious views to intriguing facts to amazing wildlife, the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone national parks are a life-changing experience. I’ve seen tons of pictures of these parks, but photos don’t bring justice to the in-person views. If you ever have the chance, go see them for yourself.
Erin Foley serves as the design editor for The Daily Mississippian.