Monday, August 02, 2010

Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks


We spent a fantastic week with friends, Marc and Nancee and Rod and Donna, touring through Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, and venturing a bit into Montana, Idaho and the Grand Tetons National park! What an unbelievable trip!

Rod was our tour guide, promising wonderful sights and he delivered!! The views were awesome and spectacular, breathtaking and beautiful! Words cannot truly describe the wonder of it all.

Rod also promised we would see an abundance of wildlife, which we did, including deer, elf, osprey, moose, bison and grizzly bears!!

Nick and I flew from Orange Co to Denver on a Sunday. As we were making our approach into Denver the pilot quickly took off into the sky just shy of the runway. It seems at the moment before we were to land a "microburst" of air-wind was crossing the runway and we were unable to land. After a bit of circling, we were told we would have to be diverted to Colorado Springs, as the Denver airport had been shut down for an hour and we would need to refuel. About 40 minutes later we took off for Denver again and caught our connection to Cody. Talk about an exciting start to our vacation!

We arrived in Cody, only 45 minutes late! Rod and Marc picked us up at the small regional airport and as we drove to Rod's dad's house, literally on the other side of the airport property, we saw our first deer on the side of the road, about 5 feet from the truck!!

The next morning we started out on our adventure from Cody, Wyoming, where we were surprised to see golden brown flat ranch land, with almost no trees of northeastern Wyoming. Soon the landscape changed to rolling hills with trees and every shade of green mixed with colorful flowers, as we drove to our first destination, Cooke City, MT. Along the way we took a side trip and rode Rod's ATV's about 30 miles through the forest.When we arrived in Cooke City we were greeted by a grizzly bear crossing the highway. This bear proceeded to gorge himself on the high grass and many flowers about 100 ft from our car!! It happened we saw him in the trees close to the Skyline Guest Ranch lodge, bed and breakfast where we were staying, just a few miles outside of Yellowstone. The second morning we were in Cooke City we were awakened to some strange grunting sounds. When we looked out our windows we saw about a hundred buffaloes walking around our lodge. They had ventured out of Yellowstone, through the town of Cooke City, right down the highway in the middle of the street, stopping traffic as they passed the cars!!! What strange and homely creatures they are.

Nick took a private fly fishing trip one day. What he thought would be a short horseback ride in and out turned out to be 5 hours of riding a horse (2 1/2 hrs on horseback each way) into some remote back area of Yellowstone.He really loved the time to fly fish, caught a few small ones, but was quite sore the next day!!

From Cooke City, MT we drove through Yellowstone National Park. We saw hundreds more of bison, as well as deer, elk and moose. The flowers were so gorgeous and abundant. Everywhere we looked we saw greenery and mountains, clear blue sky with soft white clouds, and the blue of water! Lots and lots of water, Yellowstone River and Yellowstone Lake go for miles!! (Unfortunately we also saw many a brown pine tree being killed by the whitebark pine beetle--a huge problem in Yellowstone-over 3 million pine trees are infected and/or already dead. We also saw the remnants of the '88 forest fire, as well as a few more recent fires.)

The vastness of Yellowstone is much to see. We visited the Tower Falls,

Lower Yellowstone Falls,

and Lower Yellowstone Falls--incredible views!!

We hit a thurderstorm and some rain as we ventured through the parks to Jackson, Wyoming, and could only see a peak of one of the Grand Tetons sticking out above the clouds. We headed east through Jackson to the Teton Valley where we rented a 4 bdrm cabin in Driggs, Idaho.

We rode ATV's again for about 50 miles in the Bridger National Forest, riding alongside the Greys River, about an hour and a half away from Driggs. We rode past many beautiful camp spots right next to the river and open fire rings were allowed-something we haven't seen in the national forests of California in more than 20 years! We spent a day walking around the town of Jackson, Wyoming, and visited Jackson Hole Ski Resort, where the slopes look pretty steep! More beautiful sights everywhere we went!

Saturday, our last day, we returned to Cody via another road through the Grand Tetons National Park and then through Yellowstone National Park. This day we were able to see the massiveness and beauty of the Tetons--glorious!

We couldn't go to Yellowstone and not stop to see "Old Faithful!" True to it's name Old Faithful shot hight into the sky about 30 minutes after we arrived. Such a fantastic sight to see and watch!!We saw more wildlife-- a mama moose and her baby moose right along side the road and another bear, who was also loving all the flowers and grass around him. He was up on a hillside so it was hard to tell if he was a grizzly or black bear. I'm inclined to think it was another grizzly!

We loved Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons!! Thanks to Rod and Donna (pictured above on my right; on my left Nancee and Marc)
for being such great "tour guides" and for planning this great vacation! We will go back someday in the near future!!!

All our photos can be seen:

1 comment:

Michelle said...

WOW! Thank you for sharing...we have Yellow Stone on our list. Maybe next year...that's our plan. We are doing the Boo Zoo in Memphis this year.