Jackson, WY: Granite Hot Springs & Granite Creek Falls

Jackson, WY: Granite Hot Springs & Granite Creek Falls

Quick Little Disclaimer: Most of these pictures are from last year. We did visit again this year, but it was raining, so I left my camera in the car. But it’s still lovely in the rain! Granite Hot Springs is in Brider-Teton National Forest, and it’s way up a mountain trail, and it’s only accessible in the Winter by Snow Cat, and hardly anyone knows about it (best kind of springs!), and it’s beautiful! And I would like to mention that I was terrified of two things this trip: 1. A bear. This was the day after we saw the bear and I was having none of that Bears-In-Nature crap. 2. The eco toilets. Am I the only one who is freaked out by peeing into a black hole? When you go there, after you drive up the mountain, on your right side there will be a little pull off and you can visit Granite Falls. It’s very pretty and you could go up and stand in it if you wanted to! And then you go a little farther, and there’s a parking area, so you can park and then walk the rest of the way (not that far) up to the pool. Once you’re there you’ll see some bathrooms, a few picnic tables, and the pool itself. You can go through the gates and pay your fee (it’s cheap, like $6 per person or something), and then there are dressing rooms. Once you’re in, it’s amazing. It’s warm (last year was HOT, this year was warm, thinking it may have had to do with the time of year),...
Jackson, WY: Thai Me Up

Jackson, WY: Thai Me Up

This was not the first time we had come to Thai Me Up in Jackson. We actually were here last year when we vacationed for a week in Jackson. If you’ve never been there, it’s a cool little western-y town. Lots of restaurants, and gift shops, and expensive boutiques for skiing and backcountry hiking gear. Everything is made out of wood and super picture-esque. It’s right south of the Grand Tetons, and you can see mountains on all sides of it. There’s also an overabundance very expensive of furniture stores. But if you’re like us, it’s the restaurants that REALLY matter. Thai Me Up is an uber-trendy restaurant and microbrewery. Their food is good, and this year they had an abbreviated menu which was actually a nice surprise since there was no decision making. And since I had just driven about 7 hours from the Southeast corner of Wyoming, that was welcome. Their beer list is longer than their food menu, and a lot of their brews are Wu-Tang named (Joel would be disappointed in me if I failed to mention that). We got the tempura shrimp skewer for an appetizer since they were super busy and our food was going to take awhile. It was expensive, but it was so good. Actually, it’s on my list of things that I need to figure out and learn to make at home. If nothing else, THE SAUCE. Also, I swear there were 5, but we ate 3 before I stopped to take a picture. They were actually pretty mess-free. Which was surprising, considering, haha. And for dinner, we both got the...
Aspen, CO: Independence Pass (formerly Hunter Pass)

Aspen, CO: Independence Pass (formerly Hunter Pass)

We went way out of our way to come to Independence Pass. I have a thing for mountain passes and high elevations. This one was 12,000+ feet, so the highest I’ve ever been. I’ve had a “thing” for them, ever since we were driving from Cody, WY to Sheridan, WY and had to pass through Big Horn National Forest. It was pretty, and it took about an hour to get up, even though we didn’t really know we were going “up”. At the top, there was a gift shop and a waterfall. Annddd thheeennnn it was time to come down again. And what took us an hour to climb took us about 10 minutes to come down (from almost 10,000 feet to almost 1,000). It was exciting. But I had to pee, and I was seriously death-gripping the steering wheel by the time I got down. That says 12,095 feet, by the way. And see my car in the background? So. Independence pass. What should have been a 3 hour drive from Denver to Steamboat Springs was maybe 7 hours. By the end I was doubting myself. But in the middle it was beautiful! Plus I got to see a good portion of Colorado, and since I had never been there before it was cool. See all that snow? It was about 50 degrees up there. In the middle of July! I needed to get a hoodie out of the car, I was loving it. The road up, was SUPER wind-y, and very steep, with sharp drop offs on one side of the road (the other hugged a mountain). It’s...
Steamboat Springs, CO: Strawberry Park Hot Springs

Steamboat Springs, CO: Strawberry Park Hot Springs

This will be the most dramatic story of my whole trip! Even more dramatic than the robbery! But I’ll start with the hot spring! We love hot springs, so we always go to as many as possible. This trip we clocked in three which is a new record for us. We went to this one in Colorado, which was beautiful. Here’s the link. I didn’t need any convincing other than “hot water”, but the website made it sound like it was the best ever (it was), and also it was clothing optional after dark. Which is interesting, even if I’m not super interested in swimming naked (or seeing naked people, for that matter). I didn’t take a ton of pictures since we got there late, and believe it or not, undressed people don’t really like to be photographed! But I did get some, and their website has a ton more! While we were there, people were really friendly. And you kind of got the feeling that you were included in all of the conversations happening even if you weren’t talking, so it was a nice “people watching” experience. We DID have to go up a really steep, bumpy, ridiculous dirt road. And I had doubts even in my 4×4, but when we got there there were some regular cars there. But I would NOT recommend that in the winter. Especially because it’s narrow and there are not any lights, anywhere. Basically, there were 3 pools which all ran from one part and then ran into each other. There was the really hot pool, the warm pool, and then the...
Denver, CO: Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar

Denver, CO: Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar

We went here directly after we checked into our hotel. We were seriously hungry and disheveled after a day of driving. Plus I started the day totally hung over (perfect for road-tripping, right?) so I really hadn’t eaten a lot. And there is Joel wearing a Blackshirt’s Husker shirt in a rival college football place. Oh jeez. No one said anything though, besides me accompanied with a dirty look! The server was super nice and asked us if we wanted an appetizer and we said no. So he went into the back for a minute and said “Actually, I’m a manager, here’s a card for a free appetizer” (paraphrasing). And so we had to get the fried pickles! I was so happy with that, I can’t even tell you. I’ve always liked fried pickles, but I loved these fried pickles! And I liked the slices, and the saltiness of the pickle with the ranch dipping sauce was great. And they were so thin and crunchy! Perfection! I got the Pittsburger, and it was seriously the best. I got some barbecue fry sauce on the side which I put on my burger (not because it needed it, just because I like saucy food). It was so good, I took two pictures of it! The portions were also huge! The food might have been a tad pricey, but nothing crazy. And I had a hard time finishing my burger, I barely made a dent in my fries! If I was not staying in a hotel, I would have gotten a doggy bag. Joel got the Classic Southern burger which was also very...
Denver, CO: Voodoo Doughnut

Denver, CO: Voodoo Doughnut

Before we got to Denver, I looked up good places to eat on Urban Spoon. One of the places they mentioned was Voodoo Doughnut. And Joel loves doughnuts, so I was immediately like “We have to go there.” When we got there, the line was OUT THE DOOR. It was insanely busy, but obviously, if the line was that long it had to be worth it? Plus it was moving fast. We were easily the 50th people in line and we only stood in line for like 20 minutes. While we were there, and chatting with a super friendly guy in front of us (now inside and like 30th in line), we heard a sudden commotion and then “Oh my god! They just got robbed!”. Apparently, someone came in with a hood, grabbed the tip jar (which I imagine was FULL with them being so busy), and then ran to a car and got away. They got the plate numbers and they were probably on camera in downtown Denver. But still. Apparently they were standing around outside talking about it…. And no one thought to tell the people working to hide the tip jar behind the counter? But despite sounding a little scary, we didn’t even notice until it was over. The excitement aside though, it was a very cool place, and the doughnuts were SO GOOD. I don’t even like doughnuts that much and I thought they were good. Joel had like 3 of them and I think he died a little from bliss, haha. Overall, I would definitely recommend that you check them out! Either in Denver...
Austin, TX: Hamilton Pool

Austin, TX: Hamilton Pool

This took me way too long to get up here on the blog. Actually though, it works out nicely since it’s a little travel post, and then next month I’ll be going on vacation and posting more! When you pull into Hamilton Pool (technically in Dripping Springs, TX), a frumpy guy comes out and reads you at least 20,000 rules about what you can and cannot do in the pool, then tells you to pull ahead to the parking lot. Once you park, you have a walk ahead of you. It’s about a quarter mile or so down a pretty steep path, and then maybe another quarter mile or half mile to the pool itself. Once you get there though, you can hear it’s waterfall and immediately know where you are! Around the pool (which isn’t really a pool, by the way, it has a “natural” bottom and fish) there is a path where you can walk, which is not only gorgeous but has some cool rock formations. And at the end some rickety-ass stairs which you can climb to get to the top and loop back around. Although the path has some tight spots: It was too cold for us to swim, but we enjoyed the trip nonetheless. And in the summertime when it was full of people, it would be quite the experience! Unfortunately, I can’t find the picture, but if you go the opposite way on the trail from the pool, it will take you along the river and after about a mile and a half of pretty views, it will let out onto a GORGEOUS...
Austin, TX: Mount Bonnell

Austin, TX: Mount Bonnell

The name Mount Bonnell is a little misleading. It’s a very large hill/bluff but I definitely wouldn’t go so far as to call it a mountain. However, in the incredibly flat Austin, 750-ish feet above sea level is pretty high up there. It was pretty cool though! Basically, you drive up the hills into a SUPER ritzy neighborhood and then park by a set of large (and I mean large) stone stairs, then climb up to the top. From the top you can see the hill-y neighborhood as well as a river, and if you go to one side, you can also see downtown Austin’s skyline, which is pretty cool. Seriously though, there are stairs, man. Here’s a picture about 1/4th of the way up. Here’s what it looks like from the tippy top, facing towards the houses and the river. In this one, you can see downtown Austin off in the distance. This is to the right of the stairs and you have to walk down a bit by a picnic area to see it. From there a bunch of trails start to take you through the woods and back to the road! They’re definitely not developed trails though, so I wouldn’t recommend them to people who are unable to walk over uneven surfaces or young children. Some of them have up to 3 foot drops. And finally one last picture, just because. Starring Joel! In addition to all of the cool-ness of the spot and all of the little trails, there are also lots of picnic tables (and also an abundance of people shamelessly making out, in...
Austin, TX: Barton Springs Pool

Austin, TX: Barton Springs Pool

Finally, we are home! Austin was amazing, but after fighting with the traffic in Texas and a 14 hour drive, I am glad to be back in Omaha! I had planned to post these while we were in Austin, but unfortunately the wifi in our hotel was basically useless, so it had to wait until we got home. This is the first post of many, so enjoy! This is one of the two natural pools we went to while we were in Austin, TX. I think they both deserve their own post though because they were both equally awesome! This was Barton Springs Pool which is a natural spring averaging about 70 degrees F. When we went though, we did not get in, as it was about 40 degrees or so and only like 65 outside. Not warm enough to swim, haha. But it was still cool to visit and look at! It’s located about 15 minutes away from our hotel and is right by Chuy’s Mexican restaurant and Peter Pan Mini Golf, as well as the botanical gardens and a sculpture garden, super cool place! I will say though, that on the city government website it LOOKS like a developed pool, and it’s not. Or at least not all the way. It does have concrete sides and stairs as well as some lifeguards, however, you can tell in the above picture that it’s not a finished bottom. These are the rocks in the shallow end which are home to an endangered species of Salamander! Overall, in this half of the pool, it was nice and flat! I would have loved...
Travelling

Travelling

We love to travel. Well, I LOVE it, and Joel loves it. I’m not sure he’s got quite the same level of wanderlust that I do. If I never do anything else in my life, I want to move away from Omaha and live somewhere else, or many places. I want to travel Route 66. I want to go to every state. In two weeks we are going to Austin, TX for a few days, over spring break. We’re both super excited for the break and the mini vacation, and I’m super excited because I’ve never been to Texas (Joel has, but not Austin). But yesterday I was going through the pictures from our previous vacations, and I realized something: We aways take a picture of my car in some sort of landscape! I don’t really know how it happens, but it does! Here are the pictures from the last two years: This is my car half way up Emigrant Mountain in Montana. We parked it there, and then hiked the rest of the way to the waterfall. That’s the waterfall. Pretty, right? And this is my car in the middle of the Wyoming prairie, where we stopped by a “living snow fence” to find a geocache. It was so cold, we had to break out the Carhearts because the wind had picked up and it was sleeting. That there is the living snow fence. Not what I was expecting when I read the Geocache description. But let’s be honest, it was probably better than whatever my brain had concocted, haha. There was also this thing. What is this...