Thursday, February 23, 2012

We have an itinerary!

This summer can't come soon enough! After several years of scheming and planning, we are closing in on our great summer western camping and hiking adventure. The boys are old enough to really appreciate the experience, and they are capable and strong hikers. Gail and I have been are fortunate enough to be educators, so we have the entire summer to explore some of the great destinations in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota. We leave on July 3rd and return on August 11th if all goes according to plan.

We have been puzzling over our possible destinations for weeks now, and we have made some tough choices that I think were for the best. Rather than take on too much, we decided to spend more days at fewer locations. It's shocking, yes, but we will not be visiting the Grand Canyon and Yosemite, or any of California for that matter. Instead, we will be exploring the Rockies almost exclusively, though we will also be visiting such spectacular places as Bryce Canyon, Arches National Park and Zion. Here's our itinerary, subject to change:

  1. Joliet, IL (long drive and motel)
  2. middle Nebraska (another long drive and motel stay)
  3. Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
  4. Arches National Park, UT
  5. Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
  6. Day trips to Zion National Park, UT
  7. Wasatch State Park, UT
  8. Tetons National Park, UT
  9. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
  10. Helena, MT
  11. Glacier National Park, MT
  12. Billings, MT
  13. Rapid City, SD
  14. Badlands National Park, SD
  15. Rochester, MN
  16. South Bend, IN
  17. Home
It's unlikely that we will change the route too much or add on more destinations, but we appreciate all suggestions!

This trip will be a great learning opportunity for us all, and we will be blogging along the way. 

(11/25/12 Note: This itinerary changed substantially. Most notably we added the Black Hills and skipped Zion and Wasatch State Park in Utah. We cut our trip short by about one week and learned that spending more time at fewer parks was a better option for us.)


  1. brake job right before you go. Those mountains ain't like our "mountains". My sister did a similar trip many years ago and her only regret was having to find a fix-it shop enroute because her brakes couldn't hold up. Of course, she was towing, but still, can't hurt. Can't wait to read/see all your adventures. Oh, and yeah, we're jealous! - Marie & Kyle

  2. This is exactly why we bought a brand new minivan. Our Kia Sedona has less than 5K on it. We're loving it. We won't be towing, since we're tenting. Should be a great way to test the vehicle!