Sunday, September 23, 2012

Yellowstone, Great Tetons, & Jackson WY

Monday: Old Faithful! I’ve heard about Yellowstone and Old Faithful (first picture) since I can remember. It was breathtaking to finally see it. We also hiked around Norris Geyser Basin. This park has 2/3 of the world’s geysers. We also saw Artist’s Paint pots, and Fairy Falls. And to think the whole of Yellowstone is one big volcano. I don’t want to be here when it blows! Yellowstone is one of the world’s largest volcanoes.

Tuesday: More hiking. This time we visited Roaring Mountain. You can actually hear the steam hissing out of the mountain. Also, Wraith Falls, an almost 2 mile hike for okay falls.

The most impressive thing we saw today was Mammoth Hot Springs. Not geysers like yesterday, but beautiful deposits from sulfur springs.


Wednesday: On our way to the Grand Tetons, we stopped by Natural Bridge. This was also about a 2 mile hike, but well worth it. On the way we saw Lewis Waterfall, and decided to stop since it was right by the highway. I love waterfalls! We’re now in Colter Bay campground for the night. Still no Internet, but our cell phones work. There’s a big fire in Idaho that spews its smoke this way. There was some in Yellowstone, but we can barely make out the outline of the Tetons.

We took a short drive to Willow Flats Overlook which has a lovely reflecting pool.

Thursday: Our biggest disappointment: smoke that makes the Grand Tetons mere shadows. We are making the best of it, and enjoying the beginning fall colors. They are gorgeous. We took a 4 mile hike to Taggart Lake, beautiful scenery.

We also visited Menors Ferry Historic District and saw a replica of the ferry and other buildings they used in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

Friday: We took a 5.2 mile hike to Hidden Falls. They really are hidden. There is a well-marked trail, but it wasn’t easy going uphill across the moraine. One reason we’re so tired is that 4 mile hike yesterday. No big hikes tomorrow.

Saturday: On our way toward Jackson, WY, we stopped at Mormon Row in the Jackson Hole area. It was settled by the saints in 1892. It was abandoned in 1937 when the area became part of the Teton National Park. Some buildings still stand, and water still runs through their irrigation ditches.

After settling in our campground, we hopped into covered wagons and attended the Bar T Five dinner show out in the wilderness. It was a fun cowboy show. Whatever they pay the fiddle player, he is way under paid. They have heat lamps on the pavilion ceiling, and provide blankets, making it comfortable as the night chill set in.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Glacier, Shortest River, Yellowstone and More

Monday: Tried to go to Glacier National Park. The free shuttle only functions from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Since our RV is 22 feet, we can’t drive the Going to the Sun Road (vehicles have to be 21 feet or less). All we could do was to drive in 5 miles, and take a hike. Even that hike was cut short as dark clouds gathered, and sprinkles started falling. We got back to the RV before the real rain fell. Ah well, such is part of the adventure. What we saw was beautiful.

Tuesday: We visited Great Falls, but couldn’t go to the island because it has the same dates of operation as Glacier. We took a hike along the river, though and that was gorgeous.

After the hike we went to the Louis & Clark Interpretive Center. There was so much valuable information about what they went through we spent nearly 3 hours. Not too much to take pictures of, but enjoyed learning more details. The down side of spending so much time was that we didn’t have time to follow the historic trail by it.

Wednesday: We visited the world’s shortest river, Roe River, at 201 feet. It flows from Giant Spring, which percolates from underground spilling 150,000,000 gallons of water daily. Part of it flows directly into the Missouri, but Roe River takes its share 201 feet. The first picture is of the spring, the second where the spring dumps into the Roe River, and for the last one, I just turned around on the bridge to show the end of the river.

Thursday: We took a beautiful hike above Billings Montana in the 4 Dances Recreational Area. Not many trees, but a different kind of amazing beauty. We also visited the temple.

Friday: We visited the fascinating Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming. Naturally they had a lot on him, but also a large Indian exhibit, thousands of guns, western art, and natural history.

Saturday: Yellowstone! Old Faithful will be another day; today we visited the Mud Volcano. Cracks opened up in this field in 1978. The trees that weren’t killed when the mud started bubbling up soon died because the ground around there rose to 97 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, we saw buffalo along the way to Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon.

We took 2 hikes in that canyon. The shorter and easier hike was for a view of the lower falls. The longest was to the Upper Falls, and the bottom of the Lower Falls. We hiked down 328 steps as well as the trail to get to the lower falls, but there was a rainbow at the end of the journey. The way up sure got our hearts pumping. This was at 8,000 feet elevation. It was worth it!