Wednesday, July 28, 2010

family fun

On Day 1 we waited till Wendie got off work before heading out to check out the Park. Since AJ had never been here before, we decided he needed the full-on tourist tour. That meant hitting the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and the Upper and Lower Falls right smack in the middle of the day.

Even with all the people around the Lower Falls did not disappoint

Next we drove back over Dunraven Pass and made our way to the Lamar Valley. A quick stop at Trout Lake proved fruitless for otter viewings but it did provide a lot of wildflower pics.

Our next stop was suppose to be dinner but it turned out the power in both Silver Gate and Cooke City was out ,which meant we had to head back into the Park to get some grub. This proved fortuitous since when we made it back into the valley we ran into this grizzly right along the side of the road

A little further down the road AJ got his first view of wolf, the all-white, alpha-female of the Silver Pack. We could see her through the scope as she didn't even budge when a grizzly walked up beside her and decided to lie down right behind her.

We got up early on Day 2 and headed for Grand Teton National Park. We broke up the journey with some stops here and there.
Down in Hayden Valley we got a quick eye-full of a black wolf before we made our way to Mud Volcano and, next, West Thumb Geyser Basin, where Fishing Cone Geyser was still underwater

while Black Pool looked bottomless in the early morning light.

Cruising into the Tetons we grabbed a tent-site at Signal Mountain and then headed to Taggert Lake to do a hike.

The trail cut over a small cascade and through some pretty alpine meadows

and afforded us some great views of the mountains

We made sure to snap off some family photos for Marilyn

(can you tell which brother doesn't tan well?)

After some wilderness time we hit the big city (relatively) of Jackson, WY. As all first timers must do, we made AJ have a beer while sitting in one of the saddle barstools at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.

Our reward for a long day of driving and hiking came in the form of some surprisingly good (and spicy) Thai food.

On our way back to our campsite we stopped off at the Mormon
homestead to try to get the iconic photo of the Tetons with the old barn in the foreground. Sadly, a haze from a fire burning over by Jenny Lake put a blanket over the mountains in the background.

The next day we were again up early. Though we didn't see a moose and missed a bear on Signal Mountain by just a couple minutes, we did have the perfect morning light to snap off some farewell shots of the Tetons.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

catching up

It's been a while since we posted. After the excitement of the Carr family visit, life went back to normal. Which mostly means: work, work, work. June saw a record number of visitors to the park, and it certainly kept us busy.

The good news is that it finally stopped raining, and summer has officially come to the mountains. After my parents left I hit the trail with two friends for a girl's hike--13 miles through the Black Canyon of Yellowstone. The hike starts near Blacktail Lakes

and goes past Crevice Lake,

and then through the Black Canyon itself. It was HOT--no shade. I slept very, very well that night.

The next day we picked up our friend Ryan at Old Faithful and headed South. We hiked the Lewis Channel loop, 12 miles.

We stopped for lunch on the shore of Shoshane Lake.

The hike back was on an old service road,

and from the scratches on this tree it was clear we weren't the first ones to pass this way.

We spent the 4th of July in West Yellowstone, MT. We perused the shops and I bought something called a mug mat--when you live in the middle of nowhere, you become very excited to shop, no matter what's on offer. That is my only defense.

But that mug mat must've been lucky, because look what we found! It wasn't the same as being at the Taste of Chicago (sniffle, sniffle), but hey--I got my 4th of July hot dog!

There was a parade through the main street of town with lots of floats

and something I've never seen before--if you look closely at her hand, you'll see she's not throwing candy, but that is an actual chicken wing in a ziploc bag.

Don't believe me? My friend Gina caught the bag, and here's a close-up.

Only in Montana...