Sunday, October 16, 2011

an Epic Road Trip....part two

Well, it's time to continue....
I left off after the experience of driving the Beartooth Pass that got us to Cooke City, Montana near the Northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park.  It's a small town that is completely geared in getting you to the outdoors and nature, and it lived up to it's billing when in the morning, we got up and got going and there was a wild buffalo in the parking lot of the hotel.  :)
Tip of the day, plan it so you don't have to buy gas there though, it was $4.52 a gallon..  the highest I saw all trip.

So off to Yellowstone, and they aren't kidding when they say there is wildlife on the road.  I turned the corner after the entrance gate and drove for maybe 100 yards and saw this...




Yep, that's wildlife on the road.  I backed up and let him have right of way.....  He was HUGE!!! and fortunately, not the last buffalo we saw in the park.

The plan for the last 2 days of the trip was to explore Yellowstone and Teton National Parks.  It was enough time to drive the roads and do a bit of hiking, but not enough to say I explored everthing I wanted to do.  Another trip is needed...  :)

The beauty of Yellowstone needs no introduction and the last week of September had the park in full splendor and free of crowds, so it was a beginning photographers dream!!!  So, without further ado, here's Yellowstone.

A coyote playing in a field.  He was stalking and toying with his lunch of field mice.  His tail was wagging and he would pounce and just run around like crazy. 
What I am calling Hot Springs Coral from Crystal Geyser near Mammoth Hot Springs.
A lone buffalo grazing near the Petrified Tree, Yellowstone National Park.
Lower Yellowstone Falls, Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park

Visting the Mud Volcano, Dragon's Breath and other icky smelling sulphur stuff....
My first elk sighting.  They were very patient and let me get a ton a pictures of them, but the 1st needed to be posted.

That's my very brief photo summary of Yellowstone.  I could post hundreds more, it was just that great of a trip, but to save you from utter boredom, I won't.....

Now onto Grand Teton National Park....
I had never explored it or even really driven thru it, which is kind of hard to do if you go to Yellowstone from Jackson Hole (which is my normal route in).  Oh well, no time like the present.

Here are the highlights,
A massive elk who was playing in a field early one morning........

My first glimpse of the Tetons.....
Another great view, taken from the side of the road.... Grand Teton National Park

A bit of background on this photo of a Black Bear....
When I left on this trip, I wanted to see a Bear, an Elk, and a Moose....  By the photos, I've posted, obviously I saw an elk and a bear.  The moose remained elusive.  :(  The road where I took the picture of this bear (I'm a mere 4 feet away) is known for Moose!  It's even nicknamed the Moose Highway.  I drove it 3 different times at 3 different times of day and NEVER SAW A MOOSE, but I did see a bear.  Life is goofy.

The nitty gritty details of the 2 days exploring Yellowstone and Teton are a bit fuzzy, due to the wildlife and nature that dominates my mind, but here are a few that you may want to know...
In Jackson, we stayed at the Pony Express Hotel.  It's a great place to rest your head and easy to find after a long day on the road.  The other travel tip, if you are heading to Jackson from SLC, try taking WYO-89 instead of Utah 89 thru Bear Lake.  It takes almost an hour off of driving and it's an easier drive.

Well, I'm off to plan my next trip.
Melissa

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