Pass The Play was an initiative we launched last year to encourage people to get outside and play. We gave out 10,000 rubber balls for people all over the country to register, play with, and pass on to a friend. Each time a friend registered a ball, the passer was given more chances to win. People wanted the balls so bad they crashed our website not once, but twice with over 1,000 requests per minute! Essentially, we gave out a bunch of awesome prizes just for playing. The grand prize was a “playcation” for four to Yellowstone National Park. Our winner, Ted, brought his wife and nephews on this amazing trip and was so pumped that he wanted to share their experience.
This is Ted’s story:
It just may have been the “playcation” of a lifetime: a family trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park. What do we pack? What will we do? Will there be Wi-Fi?! When we received our final trip itinerary, we were so excited. We’d never been to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We knew there was a beautiful national park, we knew about Old Faithful, but that was about it.
Day 1 – Travel
Our first day was just a typical travel day. We didn’t know when we landed, but the airport is actually inside Grand Teton National Park… How cool is that?! We arrived at Jackson Lake Lodge and it was just as we had imagined: a big, rustic hotel and cute little cabins. The best part may have been that there was no TV or radio in the rooms. Translation? No distractions from the beautiful park around us. We barely even had phone service. After checking in, we went to dinner in the Mural Room. Let me tell you, it was delicious. After dinner we were off to bed as we had a big day ahead of us.
Day 2 – Yellowstone National Park Excursion
The second day was when the trip really got going. We woke up early to shower and eat. They had a buffet…waffle station, bacon,potatoes, and maple sausage. You name it, they had it. Around 8:30am we boarded our tour bus to Yellowstone. I thought to myself “11 hour tour seems long. Looking back, we could have had a two day tour and still not seen it all. In 11 hours we saw bison, elk, pronghorn, and, of course, Old Faithful. The hot springs, geysers, and lakes were all spectacular!
Day 3 – Exploring the Outdoors
Day three was a bit more active at Jenny Lake. From there we took a boat across the lake and hiked to Hidden Falls. At first I thought my 12 and14-year-old nephews would be bored without phone service or video games, but we were all in awe of the natural beauty. Afterwards we hiked Inspiration Point. Just as the name states, it was inspiring. We easily could have stayed up there all day, but we had a raft to catch. We hiked back down the mountain, hopped our boat across the lake, and headed back to the hotel to get our bus to the Snake River. The tour was two hours of rafting down the Snake River. We even saw the exact spot where Ansel Adams took one of his famous photos!
Day 4 – Colter Bay Exploration
Day four was another fun filled day of outdoor activities. Living in a metropolitan city you sometimes forget how lucky we are to have places like Grand Teton. We took the shuttle to Colter Bay where we kayaked around the lake to a rocky beach. We had lunch, swam, skipped rocks, and it was awesome! I can’t lie, the water was freezing, but it was so crystal clear, we had to jump in. We kayaked back to the docks and took a short walk to the horse corral. The best part? We rode to a clearing where a steak dinner was waiting for us. Steak tastes even better when you’ve ridden a horse to get there. Sadly we knew that this was our last dinner in Wyoming, so we took advantage of the beautiful clear night sky. We hadn’t seen so many stars in a long time. We even got up at 4am to catch the meteor shower!
Looking back I asked myself and my family, “what was your favorite thing to do?” Honestly, we couldn’t pick just one thing… Hiking, waterfalls, geysers, horseback riding, kayaking and more! We’re already talking about our next trip to Wyoming