Sunday, September 19, 2010

Our Fall Vacation to Yellowstone - Part 2

The Grand Tetons

 This is the second part of our journey. Our vacation began in Breckenridge, Colorado.  You can view the first part of this trip here.

 From Pocatello, Idaho, we drove east along the Snake River through beautiful tall mountains surrounding the Swan Valley and Palisades Reservoir.  We got to Jackson Hole, Wyoming about lunch time.  "Hole" is the name given by early fur trappers for a flat spot or bowl surrounded by mountains.  Jackson (the town) and Jackson Hole are used interchangeably.   Before finding lodging for the night, we enjoyed some sandwiches and cold beer at Sidewinders American Grill & Tavern.    I had a grilled cheddar cheese and bacon sandwich with fresh slices of avocado and tomato on sourdough and Ron had a juicy burger and fries -- delish!  There are plenty of large screen TV's for catching up on almost any sport you care about.  The serving staff was very friendly. 

To check out lodging possibilities, we stopped at the busy and informative visitor center in Jackson.  They have elk viewing areas and many interpretive displays.  Next, we went a few miles north to Grand Teton National Park with its astounding scenery and abundant wildlife. 


Jackson Lake

Jenny Lake view

Ron with Grand Tetons in the background

We stayed in a pricey but quite basic cottage room at the Jackson Lake Lodge. The free Wi-Fi available in the Lobby was very slow and Ron really needed to resolve a business-related issue.  Atlantic International never sleeps (although on vacation, it does slow down a bit, depending on the speed of the internet). However, being here at the historic and scenic lodge was certainly worth it. The Lodge was built in the late 50's and has been the location of many internationally significant conferences and summit meetings. The Lodge's upper Lobby has huge 60 ft. tall wall of windows to view the Tetons and wildlife.

View from the Jackson Lake Lodge

At least 50% of the guests were speaking a foreign language. It is obvious that our National Parks (especially Grand Teton and Yellowstone) are premier destinations for tourists from around the world.  Because it is mid-September, the school aged children are absent and the summer crowds are gone.  Still, the tour buses brought in hundreds of new visitors daily. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner in the Mural Room. We saw moose and elk and enjoyed listening to the elk bugling as it was their mating season.

Formed by the uplift of the earth and sculpted by glaciers,
the Grand Tetons are striking.

Moose in river grazing

On Tuesday we left for Yellowstone National Park (about 30 miles north).  Vicki had last been in Yellowstone in August, 1962.  This was Ron's first trip to the oldest National Park.

Here I am (left) in 1962 with friend Jan Burnette, and my sister, Jeanne Gregerson
There were a lot more trees in 1962 before all the devastating wildfires.

Family Camping in Yellowstone in 1962 (Vicki with the hat)

A lot of the trees have been detroyed in wildfires since 1962, especially the destructive fires of 1988. Much new growth was replacing the dead trees 22 years later.

The Firehole River

Thermal Pools and Geysers along the Firehole River

Excelsior Geyser
4000 gallons of 160 degree F. water per minute flows into the Firehole River from the Excelsior Geyser

Grand Prismatic Spring
The colors are heat loving bacteria that grows here
Bacteria mats provide some really beautiful patterns and colors

Firehole Lake Drive in the Upper Geyser Basin

Imperial Geyser near Fairy Falls (here's a video link of it erupting)

Castle Geyser

We stayed two nights in Yellowstone.  The second night we scored a room at the Old Faithful Inn. The Inn was built in 1903 and opened to its first guests in 1904.  Our room was a quaint room on the first floor with a shared bath down the hall.  We were right next to the Lower Geyser Basin and Old Faithful Geyser that usually erupted between intervals of about 90-120 minutes.We got a 7:30 reservation for dinner in the Inn and settled down for drinks on the 2nd story deck, meeting an interesting couple on vacation (Paul and Betsy) from Placentia, California, whom we chatted with for several hours while sharing wine and watching Old Faithful erupt.

2nd story deck to view Old Faithful Geyser

Old Faithful from deck at Old Faithful Inn

Our room at the Inn

Looking up from the Old Faithful Inn Lobby

We saw lots of wildlife.  Only saw one Black Bear that was about a 1/4 mile away and without a telephoto lens, I didn't even try to take a picture.  Here are some pictures of the elk and bison we saw:

Doe Elk alongside trail

Elk Buck (above) and Bison (below)

Ron at the Yellowstone Falls

At the brink of the upper falls of the Yellowstone River

Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River

Ron and Vicki at Grand View of the Yellowstone Canyon

We departed on September 16 leaving Yellowstone through the Northeast Entrance to Cooke City, Montana,  where we found ourselves curiously hungry for a Bison Burger and an Elk Burger at a local saloon.  We then took the Beartooth Highway starting about 3:00 PM with clear and warm weather toward Red Lodge, Montana. The Beartooth Highway is designated as an All-American Highway and one of the Top 10 Scenic Drives in America.  I do not recommend this highway for the faint at heart or to one who suffers from a fear of heights.  I drove so I didn't take any pictures.  Here is an aerial view of the road:

It was a beautiful drive with outstanding views.  It has several glaciers along the way and lots of falling rock along the road with very few trees because of the altitude that reaches 10,947 feet.  It took almost 2 hours to drive because of its many curves.  We continued on to Billings, Montana and then south to Sheridan, Wyoming to spend the night.  Having gone to Montana, Ron has now visited 48 states of the US, with only North and South Dakota left on his "Bucket List" of States to visit.

On Friday, we departed Sheridan about 8:30AM and decided to drive through to our home in New Mexico.  We stopped in Denver at our favorite Jewish deli -  The New York Deli News where we chowed down pastrami sandwiches, chicken noodle soup, potato knish, NY cheesecake and a Black and White cookie.  We arrived home safely a little after 10PM that night.  The cats appeared well and the garden was well represented of RED TOMATOES, green beans, chiles, and cucumbers.  Thanks to Mary and Matt for taking good care of our house while we were gone!

Time for Green Chile Stew!

1 comment:

  1. What a magnificent journey. I'd love to see the Tetons one of these days.