Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wow...is all I can say about Yellowstone!

Yellowstone and Jackson Hole were amazing! We rolled into Yellowstone on Friday morning. We set up camp and started our Gung-Ho Yellowstone Journey. We drove down to Mammoth Hot Springs first.  The area took our breath away...not only because of the sulfur smells but because it was like looking at another planet.  The water was bubbling and steaming, the rocks were covered in mineral colors and the land looked dead.  We took a walk down the boardwalk that the park set up and looked through all of the steaming springs.

All throughout the park, there were so many boiling springs.  There were many bison and elk in the park also. You couldn't walk on all of the grounds because some were fragile and might cave in.  Some of the streams were warm water because of all of the hot pools that drain into them. We drove around the park and saw one side it. Then, we drove down to Old Faithful. We got there at 6:40pm.  It was scheduled to go off at 7:06. We were sitting on a bench with about 1000 other people waiting also.  We saw it sputter a few times, then at 7:15, it finally erupted.  It shot water about 100 ft into the air and sounded like a steam engine.  We took a walk to the Old Faithful Inn to see the old wooden structure.  The building was made of logs and was massive.  We had some ice cream and thought about having dinner there but the wait was too long.  We headed back to camp and got there at 9:45pm.

Baby Elk

Old Faithful before takeoff

On Saturday, we woke up and started another long day of driving and seeing the sights around Yellowstone.  We drove through the Lamar Valley (In Yellowstone still) then, took the Beartooth Highway (Hwy 212) outside of the the park. The scenery was beautiful...again! The Beartooth took us up a winding, two lane road that peaked at 11,950ft.  There was snow on the ground up at the peak still. There were some goats that we saw at the peak. I guess they liked being that high up in the mountains. The road led us into the town of Red Lodge.  It was a cool little town with shops, restaurants and bars and it was down in a valley. After we walked around there for a little bit, we started the trek back to camp.  We drove through Cody, WY and then down a winding road through a canyon, and finally to the East entrance of the park.  We made it back to camp at 10pm that night. 

On Sunday, we drove down through Yellowstone, through the Tetons and into Jackson Hole.  Round trip, it was about 275 miles.  The weather was a little cloudy this day, but the views were still amazing.  The Tetons are massive, jagged and intimidating looking. We didn't get a chance to hike at all, but we did stop and see the waterfalls in Yellowstone, and a few history centers along our route.  We saw where the Rockefellers donated land to the National Park as part of their Philanthropy efforts. We saw the ski village of Jackson Hole and then drove into the old town of Jackson.   It's a neat little town also.  It still has the western theme and has a town square that has tons of antlers shaped like a rainbow so you can walk under them.  The ladies wanted to shop so we stopped for a couple of hours.  After the shopping, we were all pretty hungry and stopped by Bubba's Barbeque.  That place was recommended to us by a volunteer at the Teton visitor center. Bubba's turned out great!  Jackson is definitely a place that we would like to go back to and it is open all year long. We drove back into our campground and luckily didn't see an animal in the road the entire drive.  We made it back into camp at midnight.  We were all pretty exhausted from 3 full days of touring around the area.  


We saw a black bear along the way

Jackson Hole

Today, we left Yellowstone and started the route towards Mt. Rushmore. We stopped by a local Antler, Fur and artistry place along the way.  It was at this guy's house, but he had a workshop full of antler chandeliers, antlers, furs and all kinds of cool stuff.  Joe and Jan bought a few Elk antlers and we bought 2 beaver pelts to make a pillow out of...or a toilet seat.  I'm torn between which one we should make.  We are staying in Greybull, WY tonight.  There's an airport down the road that has an older airplane boneyard at it.  There are old WWII planes that are just sitting off of one of the runways.  I tried to get to them tonight by riding my bike, but there were fences surround the airport.  I am going to try to get to them in the morning by asking one of the businesses to see if they'll take me out there to look at all of the old planes.  

I have to tell this story because it is funny.  But, I'm not sure that you are going to laugh as hard as we were today. We were in tears from laughing so hard.  It's one of my blonde moments, but I am not ashamed because it is so funny.

 Here we go...I heard about the bear mauling a hiker in Yellowstone, while we were still in Alaska.  I also heard about the 3 people falling over a water fall but I couldn't remember whether it was Yellowstone or Yosemite.  I talked with a guy the other day and he thought it was Yellowstone also.  So, I went with it...it was Yellowstone where they fell over. Well, the other day, I was browsing my news clips that I get on my phone, and one of the headlines said,"Raging River Hampsters Search for Bodies of Missing Hikers." I thought, wow that's cool, they have hampsters looking for the hikers. I guess they are scuba diving to be able to get underwater.  I really didn't think too much about it because I was just browsing the headlines. I told Laurie, Joe and Jan about it and they think that I dreamt it because there was no such thing as scuba diving hampsters.  I told them to look it up, I read it on MSN. They were all laughing.  We thought that we would ask a park ranger if he has heard of the hampsters, but we couldn't find a person to ask about them. I asked the guy at the antler shop today and he thought I was crazy. We were all having a good laugh, but I swore that they trained hampsters to look for the hikers. On our way out of Cody, WY today, I asked Laurie to look it up.  She was reading about the bear mauling and where it was, and about the Yellowstone hikers...which actually, it was Yosemite where they fell over, and I was anxious for her to google the hampsters.  Well...she did...and this is what the headline actually read..."Raging River Hampers Search for Missing Hikers."  HAMPERS! NOT HAMPSTERS!  She and I could not stop laughing and I am still laughing as I type this.  I really didn't think too much about it. Hey, they have waterskiing squirrels, why couldn't they have scuba diving hampsters?  Hahahahahha!  I'm retarded!  Anyways, that's my funny blonde moment.  I'm headed to bed now.  Good night. I think I'll go reflect on my scuba diving hampster idea.  I think that's a niche market that I could get into!

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