Grand Teton National Park – Part One!

Hi All,

Happy news! We finally managed to scrounge up enough internet to put up a blog post about the fun that we’re having so far this week 🙂

We’ve been having an excellent time already as my Aunt, Uncle and Parents are visiting, which is a treat of the highest caliber! They got here at the start of August and so far have been exploring Fort Collins and the surrounding area. Much fun was had, but sadly Rob and I were at work for most of this fun so were not there to document the experience! We are assured that all the top Fort Collins experiences have been checked off though – they toured New Belgium, hiked around Estes and the Rockies, saw the Lions, Tigers and Bears near Greeley and were forced to play a few games of Shuffleboard!

Now though we have moved on to explore wider America, specifically the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks! The plan is to do five days in each since both are beautiful and relatively close together, and they’re only about a seven hour drive from Colorado. The mountains are puny in comparison to the Colorado Fourteeners (named because they are over 14,000 ft tall) and it does mean travelling across Wyoming, but we are promised that it will all be worth it.

So puny!

The drive to Grand Teton was not actually that bad – it’s a very long way and there is almost nothing of any value along the route, but there is no traffic and the views from the car are pretty spectacular. The landscape is very flat, so you can see quite a long way and we were often treated to big hills or small canyons!


We also saw the occasional crazy cyclist riding along, at least 20 miles away from civilization of any kind, but we were too concerned for their safety to take any pictures. The few populated areas that there were only contained five or six buildings, and looked way too creepy for us to be willing to stop there! Instead we managed to find what I suspect is the one and only Subway in Wyoming in the town of Rawlins, about three hours away from Fort Collins, and so stopped for our first refreshment break.


This would turn out to be last time that we had phone signal and wifi simultaneously for quite some time. After our lunch we continued our drive, and saw literally no humans except for each other for about two hours. We then quite unexpectedly arrived in the town of Lander, which was really pleasant and by far the most built up place we’d seen. It also seemed to have the same hippy vibe that we love so much about Fort Collins, and we stopped for coffee at a chill Café with a Bouldering Wall built into it.

Refreshed, we continued on the last stretch, stopping only briefly to fill our beer cooler with ice at a Gas Station that contained a surprisingly varied range of guns and leather saddles. It also had potato chips, so we were happy bunnies 🙂

At last, we arrived at our magnificent log cabin! We are staying in a group of cabins in Coulter Bay, just at the edge of Jackson Lake. The authentic log cabins are very impressive, and the lack of internet is made up for by the comfy beds and hot shower. There are at least power outlets thank goodness, so Rob and I aren’t in danger of going completely insane away from the gentle glow of computer screens 🙂



We spent quite a lot of time initially walking around with our phones out desperately hunting for signal, so to distract us from this the family suggested that we all go for a walk down to Coulter Bay.


It is extremely beautiful, and the Tetons could not be more picturesque. It’s also a really nice change to see so much greenery, since there are very few trees like this in Fort Collins. We walked around the lake a little keeping our eyes open for bears, but no big animal spots so far sadly!

Lots of little animal sightings though!

After a lovely night sleep in our cabin we decided that we needed to see a little more of the lake, so we rented some canoes and off we went! Canoeing is far more tiring that I remember it and co-ordination in a three person canoe can be an issue, but we got organized and I think did pretty well! We also enjoyed some great views and amazing wildlife:

Mr Pelican!
Whatever this is! I’m going to guess Osprey…
Such awesome views!
Go team 🙂


It was a really good time, although by the end of the trip my arms were basically useless noodles. In the spirit of embracing the holiday (and getting the legs to match) we followed this up with a Ranger led hike around the nearby Swan Lake. The aim was to learn a few more interesting facts around the park and maybe see a little more wildlife, which happily we did!

Ranger Reva taught us a little more about the ever changing geography of the park, as well as about the make-up of the complex eco-system. We also learned a little more about the formation of the Grand Tetons and their Glaciers – part of what makes these mountains so picturesque is that it is not accompanied by foothills and a wider mountain range. The mountains pretty much stand alone, so can be viewed from lots of locations without much effort.

Apologies for wonky horizons!

We also saw Swan Lake as promised, which is covered in an impressive number of lilies with a few ducks stuck in the middle. It’s also changing its geography extremely quickly – silt is flowing in with the water and being deposit to form a growing island, and then grass is slowly growing on that and soaking up the moisture, at which point trees can start growing and eventually the whole thing just becomes more land. That was a pretty heavily over-simplified, but you get the idea!

As well as this we saw a few birds, including a Bald Eagle which was too far away for pictures and a few Grey Jays that were trying extremely hard to get photographed! Here is one blatantly posing:

Possibly it was nailed there?

Eventually it started to rain so we had to make our way back to the cabins, at which point we got a chance to relax and dry off a little. We bought plenty of beer and movies with us so got to spend the evening moving around as little as possible, and we’re now bouncy again and looking forward to the second part of the week!

More soon!


Iceland – Our Mini Holiday!

Hi All!

After our lovely week in England we were lucky enough to have a day layover in Iceland, so we got to see a little of this exciting country! Icelandair, the airline, is both very nice and very heavily interconnected with the Iceland Tourism people. The Iceland tourism people are also extremely active – the flight contained lots of beautiful videos of things to do in Iceland, the airport had lots of local goods and the overhead lighting on the plane even re-created the northern lights!


We flew via Keflavik airport, which is both adorable and tiny. It’s also located way over in the South West of Iceland, near all the fun stuff.


45 minutes away is Reykjavik (pronounced reck-ee-a-vick), the capital and largest city in Iceland, with a colossal population of around 120,000. For comparison, London has a population of over 8,500,000…

Also nearby are some of the most exciting things-to-do, including:

A Tour Inside a Volcano –

For those who like it hot

A Tour Inside a Glacier –

For those who like it cold

Several Whale Watching Tours –

For those who like water

And finally, the Blue Lagoon:

For those who really like water

Our layover was only for about 16 hours, 8 of which we were asleep for, so did not allow for all of the above. We opted to do the Blue Lagoon, and hope to get a chance to do the rest on future visits!

First, we arrived into Keflavik airport around midnight, without much hassle. The low cloud cover in Iceland had made for a pretty exciting landing – you break though the clouds about 10 seconds above the runway, so it comes up pretty quickly. It also does not get very dark in Iceland this time of year, so it seemed like dusk when we landed. We had booked a nearby hotel, so took one of Icelands many super-expensive taxis (£30 for 8 minutes) and went to sleep. The hotel was really lovely, and the views out to sea were amazing!

Figuring out how to get into the duvet sausages was not straightforward, but was lovely once we did!

So, off we headed to the Blue Lagoon (£45 for 20 minutes, damn you taxis) with our swim gear ready and our tickets in hand. The idea was to do something lovely and relaxing before our long flight back to Colorado, and boy did it deliver.

We were dropped off outside the entrance, and got to enjoy a beautiful look around at the Volcanic rock and billowing steam…

Also, the majestic construction works

And then we headed into the Lagoon itself. The Lagoon contains a large amount of Silica, which gives it its amazing blue colour and contrasts beautifully with the black volcanic rock:


The idea behind the lagoon is that the Silica and other minerals in the water give it excellent healing properties, especially in the treatment of Psoriasis. There actually seems to be quite a lot of evidence to support this, which was quite interesting. We’re not convinced that it will have added years to our lives, but floating around in the hot water was pretty amazing.

We started our trip with a shower, and applying lots of conditioner since the water pretty much destroys your hair. We then headed into the pool for a nice walk around, and a long soak.


It was pretty busy, but without being too crowded. The water was also just the right depth to walk around in so that your head was comfortably above the surface. I however chose a different method of transport, which was to rest my head on Rob’s back and let him float me around the pool. It was truly divine.

We then went over to enjoy our complimentary silica face masks:

You can see the relaxation is already making me a little drowsy

I even managed to convince Rob to partake, which he described as “strange”. After letting the masks do their work we then went to wash them off in the lovely waterfall:


Before it was time for round two, the Algae face mask! Rob also found this strange, but was also pretty sleepy from the hot water at this point so went with it:

Although he had this expression on his face the whole time

After that we left the masks to soak again while we enjoyed one of the seated pools, which were unfortunately cool enough that Rob had a chance to come to his senses…

‘Wait, am I missing the cricket right now?’

So we waterfalled again and Rob went to enjoy a drink, some nibbles and the seated relaxation area. Meanwhile I went to the lovely floaty area at the back, where they give out pool noodles and you can just pass out while floating around looking at the sky. Finally, a tasty smoothie from the floaty bar area:

All pools should have these

We then got out, and I took a shower just long enough to make us almost miss our flight. Happily though we found the coach going back to the airport, and managed to convince the bus driver to take us by handing him all our remaining kroner and looking at him sadly. He sort of went ‘Pfff!!’ in a way we took to mean ‘Silly English!’ but kindly let us on.

We then enjoyed the scenic ride back to the airport, and got our flight back without any issues. Icelandair were once again flawless in their service despite a small delay, and off we went! We’re now nicely settled in Colorado again, and excited for our next adventure 🙂

Much love! Xx

Graduates are hot, because they have more degrees

Last week, we journeyed back to England for family, food, fun and my graduation ceremony.


Food might sound like the odd one on the list so I will tackle it first. We love it here, like a lot, but there are some things we miss and certain British/European/Asian delicacies are one of them:
food montageLuckily, the Pecks and Cheethams took us to play badminton later in the week, so we did work some of the tasty meals off.

We were fortunate to be able to catch up with the Channons, Marchs, Boultons, Pecks, Cheethams and various Warwick University friends at the graduation and afterwards at the pub. We also managed to sticker-ise some twins (sorry but also not sorry Kat and Chris) and I went for a slow run at sea level (Parkrun #33).

Best of all, check out this hat:

P1010709 adg
Only the most gangster of graduates wear their ‘hood’ on an angle

We (Cat, Mum, Dad, Nan, Nan & Grampy) spent a fair amount of time at the graduation trying to figure out what my stupid hat was called, turns out Cloth Bonnet (although Tam or Square Academic Cap are also acceptable apparently). Of course everyone had a go and I think you’ll agree it adds a certain je ne sais quoi to most outfits:
hatsHere I am below in various family formations. You may notice I look quite warm / like a professor of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It was about 29 °C (84 F, 302.15 K) and humid, so we all were pretty cooked by the time Simon picked us up to take us to Three Ponds / Derby.

We had a lovely time in Derby though didn’t manage to win either the pub quiz (we came 4th ish) or the best Russian-Olympics-doping-scandal-themed team name (Stop Putin the drugs in me).

We finished off the holiday with a trip to the Blue Lagoon spa in Iceland, but more on that in a later blog post.


bison joke