Sunday, October 22, 2006

Yellowstone

Jackson Lake Grand Teton National Park


Saturday was out last day. We had to drive to Salt Lake, where we are flying out on Sunday. We were a bit disappointed having been so close, but snowed out at Yellowstone. I woke up early and decided to give the Ranger Station a call. They said the South Gate was currently open to Yellowstone, so we got up, packed and got going at day break. To get to Yellowstone you need to drive all the way though Grand Teton National Park. This was a treat, as we had not been above String and Leigh Lakes. The view from Jackson Lake was awesome. We stopped at a convenience store in the northern part of the park. The lady working their called Yellowstone for us and told us snow tires were advised, but the road was open. She encouraged us to continue, so we did.
We made it into Yellowstone. The drive was beautiful. We saw great valley views, Lewis Falls and Lewis Lake. We also saw a small herd of elk. The road goes over a windy mountain pass. The roads had a bit of ice and snow, but nothing too bad. Before we knew it we saw steam billowing from the valley below. We arrived at the lower geyser basin and Old Faithful. You can see geysers spouting all over the place. Our timing was great. A few minutes after we arrived at the Old Faithful viewing area, it began spouting. After the show we had lunch at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. We learned that this was the last service open in the park, and it was closing the next morning. After lunch we drove and looked around the lower basin area. We were very close to elk, mule deer and buffalo. We continued with our drive and stopped and walked around both the Middle and Lower Geyser Basin. They were very beautiful and interesting. We actually enjoyed them more than Old Faithful.

Again, I felt that our timing of the trip was good. It was cold. The roads were a little dicey. We had our Wildlife trip of Yellowstone canceled. On the other hand we saw so many animals in a short time. Seeing the trees and mountains covered in snow was beautiful. The roads through the parks were empty. There were very few people in the park, even at Old Faithful. The down side is that we only got about 4 hours in Yellowstone. There is so much to see. Hopefully we will return. We also never saw a bear. I was really hoping to see a bear in the wild. At this time of year the bears have moved up to around 9000 feet. Most of the roads leading up there are now closed.
The drive to Salt Lake was interesting. We drove through Montana and Idaho. I had never been in either state. Idaho has mountains, reservoirs, lakes and streams that make for world class trout fishing. There are vast plains between mountain ranges. Going through Wyoming, Montana and Idaho was a totally differnet experience. I would like to go through Montana and the Northern Loop of Yellowstone next time.
We spent the night in Salt Lake at a downtown hotel. We had a very nice dinner at an Italian Restaurant across the street from the hotel. The next morning I went for a really cool run. Starting downtown I went up Main Street, through the LDS campus and park, up a hill past the capital, continued up the hill through city residential neighborhood that dead ended at the foothills. From there I picked up a single track trail that climbed through the foothills. The views were tremendous of downtown Salt Lake, the Lake and mountains on either side of the city. The trail forked going on seemingly forever above the valley and parallel to the highway, or up higher. I took the high trail, which lead to an upscale new foothills neighborhood with brand new or under construction contemporary mansions. These had some of best views any city dweller could have.
















Middle Geyser Baisin, Yellowstone Posted by Picasa

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