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Published: October 3rd 2011
We were welcomed into Yellowstone National Park by a parade of two buffalo marching in the road, leading us and the other vehicles. How charming! We were delighted for the first half-mile. But c’mon, we were ready to check into our RV park and their backsides were in our way. We found quickly that we best get used to animal delays and the cars which stop in the road to gawk at them, with no regard for traffic following them. Not so fun, especially for those driving motorcycles.
But no more complaining. We loved so much about this park. The unusual and ever-changing landscapes are gorgeous, from prairie to mountain cliffs. There are more geysers, hot springs and other thermal features here than the rest of the planet combined. We witnessed Old Faithful spew on schedule, every 90 minutes! Then there’s the wildlife – grizzlies, wolves, bald eagles, moose and of course the parading buffalo.
The sulphuric odors from mud pots and “fumaroles” are less than appealing, but the sound of geysers and thousands of gallons of boiling water in turquoise pools (and even mud) is both eerie and yet beautiful.
Here AGAIN, as we've seen all
over the States, we saw signage highlighting improvements in roads, bridges, and energy, thanks to "Your Recovery Monies at Work."
Gibson Falls was impressive. We did a hike at Monument Geyser, a straight up trail with a stovepipe geyser on the summit to enjoy. On to Mammoth Hot Springs, Upper and Lower Terraces, where heat, thousands of gallons of water, limestone, and rock fractures sculpt the area. The mix of heat-loving bacteria and algae produce lovely colors of pink, yellow and orange throughout this area.
We loved the Canyon Village area where the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and Upper and Lower Falls are showcased. The mountain cliffs are colorful and descend to where the Yellowstone River flows. This is a gorgeous area.
We enjoyed two other hikes. Mystic Falls, near Old Faithful and the Delacy Creek Trail to Shoshone Lake.We took bear spray (but no takers) and discovered that the locals do also. We took the motorcycle on several trips during our one week stay. At the West Yellowstone Museum we saw an interesting film on the Fires of 1988 which destroyed 70% of the park and we saw the blackened evidence of its destruction amongst
new growth area.
The Grand Teton National Park is just a few hours south of Yellowstone. First you need to know that "Teton" is French for "breast" and the name describes rock formations for which we obsessivly searched and found. There are no thermal features but the park is defined by the towering mountain range and two gorgeous lakes, Jackson and Jenny Lakes. This park is smaller than Yellowstone and areas are closer together which was attractive to us.
We camped on the edge of an Elk Preserve although saw more pronghorn than elk. Buffalo were in abundance (thankfully ignoring the roadway). We dry camped within the park at Gros Ventre Campground where a moose entertained all the photographers on site each morning and evening. Two males got into it over a female (Does that sound familiar??) The losing male can be easily recognized by his badly damaged antlers.
The Rockefeller's were benefactors in the area and the Laurence Rockefeller's owned a ranch which they donated to the park. First they dismantled the ranch and built an environmentally green building which promotes an alliance with nature and is beautiful!
Lucky us that the fall colors have
reached their peek during our trip. We do miss the red maple leaves like we see in MI though.
We enjoyed the town of Jackson and visited McD's daily to take advantage of their free wi-fi. (The story around our Verizon air card failure is too sad to share!) Jackson is an up-scale western town with great tourist shopping.
We took a boat across Jenny Lake to hike to Inspiration Point and were rewarded with wonderful views of the valley. Our second hike was around Taggert Lake, long but lovely.
The Indian Arts Museum at Colter Bay Visitor Center showcased both Navajo and Plains Indians artifacts and a collection of artistic pieces sold by visiting Indian American artists. So very impressive.
The one best thing about this traveling lifestyle is meeting interesting and inspiring people. This happens most often on hikes. We met an evangelical religious group while hiking who were traveling together and volunteering for good works. There would be little opportunity for us to meet these people otherwise and frankly we may have a bias which may have stood between us. But we found these folks to be delightful, funny and caring. Another young
man was biking from NC to WA after treatment for drug ane buse. His goal was to find God's plan for him, and he shared this freely with us. We pray that he does.
At one of the few gas stations in The Tetons we saw an original 1934 Duesenberg filling up, a sports car made in the U.S. worth an easy million. The owners were in Jackson for a tour of classic cars and were very friendly and open to all of Terry's questions. (He was very excited to put it mildly.)These are just a few examples of many enjoyable experiences with others.
I'll stop here to enjoy Bryce Canyon. Talk to you soon.
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