Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Parks Redux

Last week I spent a few days in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks with a group of friends who had not been there before! It seemed as if all of us were visiting the Parks for the first time and it was a grand adventure.

It started with a scenic raft trip down the Snake River. The views of the Tetons from the River are always exquisite. Our guide was excellent...a good way to start the trip. We visited Jenny Lake and the Oxbows and fell in love with all the wild flowers. A snowy winter means lots of flowers in the summer.

From there we went to Yellowsstone. Our first stop was Old Faithful and we had a great treat!

Not one eruption, but we stayed there long enough to see two eruptions AND we had dinner at the Old Faithful Lodge, which is a fantastic log structure about 7 stories tall and is over 100 years old!

Along the way we saw lots of bison. It’s always fun to see these huge animals wander around the valley floor. 

The next day we visited Artist Point, another must see.  Lower Falls, which dumps into the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone was spectacular! Lots of water in the west this year! In fact, there is still snow on the mountains!

Another treat was a tour in one of the old yellow buses. These refurbished 1936 White Touring buses are wonderful, all you have to do is try to get a reservation for one of their guided tours. We were lucky to get a reservation for the evening animal watch tour!

We were lucky again, as we saw a grizzly bear frolicking in the clover in the Lamar Valley. We watched the big beast for half an hour as it ate clover, rolled on the ground and wandered the valley floor. We were about 60 yards away up an embankment. It would have been a good time to have a super zoom on my camera.

For our last day in the Park we visited the Midway Geyser Basin and marveled at the beautiful clear blue pools. The bluer the pool, the hotter the water and these run about 199 degrees F. We did not dip our toes in to see how hot they were.

On Friday morning we left Yellowstone and headed back to the Tetons to stop at Colter Bay. It’s impossible to have an ugly time in the Tetons! Then we headed home.

I’ve been to to these park many many times since my first visit in 1973. They are both marvelous parks. Last week I got to see them from a fresh perspective and they were even grander!

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