Yellowstone and Grand Teton

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June 4th 2017
Published: June 6th 2017
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Well hello lovely blog friends. I hope you are all well and everything is ok with you and yours.

I last wrote in Salt Lake City. The city of Salt Lake is actually not very big and is lovely except for the homeless problem. There were people wandering the streets all day and night drunk and begging and there were even tent city communes. That was a shame because the buildings and streets and parks were well kept. The greater Salt Lake area is huge. It has mountains running down one side and the lake on the other so the area is not very wide but is 190 kms long!!!! It was a case of “civilisation…we are here!” But no, keep on driving and driving and driving until you FINALLY see your turnoff. It was soooo long that our exit number off the highway was 306. Seriously…. 306 exits until ours.

Next stop was another 1 nighter at Jackson Hole staying in a beautiful lodge with heated pool and magnificent mountain views. Took the ski lift up to the mountain lookout and then ventured into town for dinner. Such a pretty town. Made to look old western but everything was actually modern/renovated. Here we had the first stuff up with our dinner. Luckily we had decided to share the meals. They brought out one main meal first even though we’d asked for salads for starters. Hello waitress??? Where are our salads? Oh sorry. Salads arrived. Much later she comes back and says is everything ok with your meal and Noel said “Yes great except that we are still waiting for a pizza” OOPS. The meal was nice but the service was a bit of a shambles. The next morning I made Noel come to the heated outdoor pool with me as I’d had to pay $30 USD for a “resort fee”. Everyone knows that I am cheap so I had to get my dollar’s worth by sitting in the pool and hot tub for at least 15 mins seeing as I didn’t get to use any other “resort” facilities. Noel said the funniest thing on the whole trip while sitting in the hot tub. He says “Look…there’s a person walking up the hill. She just went under that tree.” Not so funny???? Only problem was we were looking at a MOUNTAIN my dear people and it was COVERED in thousands of trees. I couldn’t stop laughing.

Next stop was 4 nights in the Grand Teton National Park. Scenery to die for yet again. Home was at Colter Bay Village and we were in another cabin. This one was MUCH better than the Jacob Lake one I told you about but alas no TV here either and we could only get internet at the lounge (which we needed to drive to as it was so far away) or the office or in the laundry and 2 restaurants in town. Colter Bay has 1 café, 1 restaurant, a laundry, general store/market and a marina. That’s it folks. Oh and HUNDREDS of campers. We had our second dinner stuff up nearby in Jackson Lake Lodge. As the park is mostly closed over winter (6 months) everyone has new staff being trained up and that included the lodge. I could hear the servers apologising for numerous things that were going wrong with meals and drinks, while we were waiting and waiting and waiting for our cauliflower steaks to arrive. Now I have to admit that Noel and I did actually stuff up a bit here. We did not read the fine print about cauliflower steaks. After a number of attempts to get our meal only 1 plate of food comes out and it has broccoli on the plate with a small jar of cous cous. Hello again??? Where is the cauliflower and the steak and the salsa? “Oh so sorry madam there is actually NO steak in that meal it’s only called a cauliflower steak but it only has cauliflower”. So I said “apart from the fact that this is broccoli, not cauliflower, we were expecting meat when the menu says “steak” and the kitchen hasn’t even put the whole meal on the plate and they’ve only sent out 1 meal and there are 2 of us?????”. The hostess was sorry (again) and didn’t charge us for the replacement burgers we ordered because by this time we had been waiting over 2 hours for a meal and were starving. We did luck out with a free cocktail that the hostess had made for someone who hadn’t order it. She just plonked it on the table and said “you can have this”. The view however did make up the second shoddy meal in 2 nights. It was lovely and warm, sunny with mountain and lake views.

From Colter Bay we did a bit of sightseeing but used it more as a base to explore the lower half of Yellowstone NP, which is fantastic by the way. There is still quite a bit of snow around and frozen lakes. Beautiful scenery everywhere you look. We explored (among many small stops for cascades, rivers, waterfalls etc.) West Thumb thermal area, Old Faithful geyser and thermal area, Grand Prismatic Spring thermal area and Fishing Bridge/Pelican Valley hunting around for wildlife. While we were staying at Colter Bay we found out about a mother grizzly bear (tag no. 399) and her 2 cubs that were in the area. They had been spotted nearly every day for a couple of weeks at a turnoff to Leeks Marina. So I, in my wisdom, decided that we were going to stake the place out and wait for her to show up. So we park and wait…..for one and a half hours. All the other cars doing the same thing, all take off at the same time. I said “they must know where she is. Follow them!” By the time we turned around and got out into the traffic on the main road we had lost sight of them all and couldn’t work out if they’d turned down to Colter Bay or kept going. So we decided that we should go get pizza for dinner as we had no idea where everyone went. Drove back past where we had parked and down to Leeks Marina for dinner. We only stayed about an hour. When we get back up to the turnoff, where we had been earlier, there is a HUGE bear jam around the corner. Spoke to a bear watcher that we had befriended, and who’d given us the heads up about the bears and where they had been. Guess what he said? The grizzly and her cubs had walked across the road and into the field about 50 FEET from where our car had been parked just 1 hour prior. I was really unimpressed and stewed about it all night. But the next night we struck gold. We had gone back to our stakeout place. You would not believe the number of people who spend endless hours, and I mean literally hours and hours, day after day, chasing bear sightings. It’s incredible. Anyway, everyone keeps asking “have you seen her?” and then this one family we’d been chatting with yell out that the bear is down at the local petrol station near Colter Bay. Everyone skidaddles down there and there are over a hundred people jamming the side of the road to catch a look at her and take photos. After being shooed away by the rangers we parked in a different spot and lucked out as the bear had started to walk in our direction. Our spot was so good that the ranger had to keep moving us all further down the road as 399 was walking towards us. These animals are massive. But her babies were so cute! She could not have cared less that there were dozens of people within 100 metres of her and cars were all crawling past her with people calling out. Such a buzz!!!

We drove up to Gardiner Montana 2 nights ago and this is a really pretty little town just 1 minute from the north entrance to Yellowstone. Our drive up on Friday turned into an epic journey again with lots of stop offs on the way and then yesterday was our BEST DAY IN YELLOWSTONE (see my Facebook post for photos). Noel is a bit buggered with all the driving. We have driven nearly 3000 miles in 19 days. That’s about 4,800 kilometres. Whoa that is a LOT of bum time sitting down on seats. Between that and the very good food we keep eating we are NOT losing any weight.

Today we decided to have an “easy” day so we only drove one and a half hours in each direction to go swimming at Bozeman Springs heated swimming pools. It was too far to go for a 1 hour swim but it was that or sit in the motel room and look at each other for 4 hours.

Tomorrow we are going back into the Lamar Valley to try and find the elusive wolf and her 3 pups. There are 2 wolves with 3 pups each in 2 different spots so we’ll try at both. We also heard there is a moose with a 3 day old calf near Elk Creek so we are going looking for her too. The day after tomorrow we move on for a long 2 days of driving to reach Yosemite National Park. I’ll blog again just after that.

I hope you all like my photos. There will be a lot this time. Apologies to my Facebook friends who will be seeing some of them a second time.

Love to everybody. Stay safe. Margie xxxxx

Additional photos below
Photos: 52, Displayed: 28


6th June 2017

Unreal pictures
Dear Marg and Noel The photos look amazing. Glad you are enjoying the drive and seeing such wonderful scenery and wildlife. The Bears look so cute. Thrive safely mary x
7th June 2017

Your adventures
Hopefully when you get to TEXAS you'll be able to find good service AND out of this world food. I'll be sure to tell all the squirrels, rabbits and birds to hang around so you can see them. Maybe even a road runner and deer will come into the year as they sometimes do ..... Houston has a really, really good ZOO so ya'll should plan to take that in PLUS you have the skydiving thing to do. I may have one other thing if it comes through - got my fingers crossed. And we have the pool which I've got to get Barney to test to be sure the heater is working so that if the water is too cold you can warm it up so it's soothing.If you like slides and stuff there is a good water park close by and if you like to do some archery and shooting there is a new range about 40 minutes down the road ...... indoors so you won't be perspiring all over the place ..... I'm sure there must be a site where I can look to see what is going on in Houston while you're here - and don't forget in Houston there is a good museum and the exhibits change all the time so perhaps I'll get to that as well. My daughter always knows what is happening as she lives closer to Houston proper than we do. There is also an indoor ice skating rink in the Galleria (which is a huge mall where a lot of wealthy people shop (I think it is 3 stories high) - there is a greek restaurant with awesome food, a belly dancer and singer (at least all of those things were there three weeks ago). Be safe .... looking forward to having you get here.
7th June 2017

On our way to Waller
Oh are too funny. I just read your email about the animals hanging around your house and Noel and I had a good laugh. We will find lots of things to do while we are there but we mostly just want to hang around the pool and chill out so don't go to any trouble trying to organise stuff for us to do. We will be fine just hanging with the doggies. Make sure Barney doesn't make the pool too hot. It will be very warm down there when we arrive so we'd rather have the pool a little cool so it is refreshing and not like a bath. Looking forward to meeting my pen pal in TWO WEEKS!!!! xxx
8th June 2017

Loving your blogs Margaret and the photos are incredible.
8th June 2017

Thanks Lesley
Hi Lesley and Michael. Thanks for your message. You guys would love this trip too. Glad you are enjoying the blog and pictures. xxx

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