Published: September 14th 2009September 13th 2009
We made our last drive through Yellowstone towards the south entrance. The temp this morning was 55 F and consequently all the springs and geysers were steaming heavily. I was thankful that I was able to photograph so many of them yesterday when the air was warm and the steam was minimal. This is Sunday and there are not nearly as many people in the park as there were yesterday.
The road to the south entrance is one that we had traveled 4 years ago when we crossed the Continental Divide to see the Tetons. On that occasion it was snowing but today the temp was in the 50's and the forests were green. At one overlook further into the forest, there was an interesting story board about the terrible 1988 fires in Yellowstone.
Many fires in Yellowstone are allowed to burn naturally and do what nature intended. It was a natural cycle. The summer of 1988 was different and turned out to be the driest in the park's recorded history. By July 15, only 8,500 acres had burned in the entire greater Yellowstone area. Still, due to continued dry conditions, on July 21 by which time fire activity had become
noticeable to park visitors and to the national media the decision was made to suppress all fires. But within a week, fires within the park alone encompassed more nearly 99,000 acres, and by the end of the month, dry fuels and high winds combined to make the larger fires nearly uncontrollable. National news reporters poured into Yellowstone National Park, as did firefighters from around the country, bolstered by military recruits. On the worst single day, August 20, 1988, tremendous winds pushed fire across more than 150,000 acres. Throughout August and early September, some park roads and facilities were closed to the public, and residents of nearby towns outside the park feared for their property and their lives.
By September 11, 1988, the first snows of autumn had dampened the fires as the nation's largest fire-fighting effort could not. The last of the smoldering flames were not extinguished until November.
Evidence of the fires is still seen throughout the park although the forest has reseeded itself and the trees are growing again.
We left Yellowstone behind and traveled the Rockefeller Memorial Highway into Grand Teton National Park.
There was some road construction along the way that held us up for about
30 minutes but otherwise it was a nice trip. Once through the construction we saw Jackson Lake with the Tetons rising above. A few of the trees on this side of the continental divide are beginning to turn a brilliant yellow.
We at lunch at the Signal Mountain Lodge overlooking Jenny Lake. The skies had been very overcast and it rained for a short time while we were having lunch.
We stopped at a couple of viewing spots along the way to our hotel, The Inn at Jackson Hole. One was to photograph a couple of huge Moose down in a stream. This was the first time I'd seen a moose on any of our trips so needless to say I was delighted by the opportunity.
Teton visitor center near the park entrance is huge and just full of everything you would want to know about the Tetons so a stop there to see the film and displays was great.
It was warm in the valley 70 F and windy with very overcast skies, so the photography was not good.
Tomorrow we will be out to explore the Teton Area and hopefully get some photos. The weather forecast is not good but maybe we will be lucky.