Oh come all ye to Old Faithful....
Trip Start Aug 31, 2013
11Trip End Sep 22, 2013
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Today unfortunately ended up being somewhat disappointing as Wyoming decided to open its skies and send a downpour for our drive to Grand Teton National Park. All the excellent pictures I'd seen previously on the Internet of this place were sadly only a mere shadow today. Undeterred, we packed up the car and headed north. When we arrived at Grand Teton, we went into the visitors centre thinking that was where you had to buy a permit only to find out we could buy it at the gate. There was however a display of more furs to touch, such as bears, coyote and wolf.
When we arrived at our first destination Jenny Lake, we thought we would ask if they sold rain ponchos since we'd forgotten to pack ours before leaving Australia. As it happened, they had sold their last one ten minutes prior, but they did however have a nice fluorescent orange umbrella I could buy (also the last one)
I had considered getting a jacket or changing into jeans before getting on the boat but Ted assured me I'd be fine. As it happened, the boat ride was freezing, so I arrived at the other shore cold, wet and crabby. Fortunately though after we started to walk I warmed up quite quickly and my complaining dropped by about 62%. We hiked up to Hidden Falls which was quite a good expedition, and only about half a mile. We then walked about another half mile up to Inspiration Point. The view was great but sadly, not very inspirational through the rain.
After returning on the boat, we continued north. There were all sorts of places on the map with the word "turnout" on the map. I made Ted pull off to one of them thinking it was a road somewhere but it was actually just a place at the side of the road where you could pull the car over to photograph the view. But since there was so much cloud, there was no turnout at the turnouts! We drove up Signal Mountain road but didn't get too far as the cloud covered whatever view we were supposed to see from the top. Unluckily, Grand Teton wasn't really filling our expectations
For lunch, we stopped for pizza at Leeks Marina lakeside restaurant where fortunately the rain started to subside and the view was beautiful. It wasn't long before we reached our cabin accommodation at Lake Village, on the shores of Yellowstone Lake. When we couldn't find where to checkin, we first went to Lake Lodge, which was our original choice for accommodation. As it happened, everything was booked solid so early, we had to settle for the Lake Cabins. Even though it was 4pm the room still wasn't ready yet, so we waited briefly until they were.
I asked the receptionist about the gym next to the dining room but he said it was for employees only. Then when I asked about free wifi he said it was available, but only for employees. After getting our cabin key, we drove up to our cabin to see a pub with the sign "Employees Only" (next to the employee only big screen movie room and basketball recreation room). And the guests? Well we were allowed to use the ice machine.
When we reached our cabin, it made us feel like we were on "Little House on the Prairie", complete with unfashionable decor. But it still had more room than the Motel 6
For dinner we ate at a diner mock up which looked more like a general store with stool tables, and staffed by Chinese and Russians (actually so was the car rental place and last motel too). Since there isn't a lot to do at night, I passed my spare time doing laundry and writing this blog. It was already 9.30pm by the time I left the laundry and prayed I didn't get mugged by a bear on the way back to our cabin. Fingers crossed for a beautiful, sunshiny day tomorrow.
When we woke this morning, we pulled back the modest curtain of our cabin to reveal...some blue sky! It was just what we needed after yesterday's miserable weather. After a breakfast of cereal and milk (kept cold thanks to that ice machine we can use), we started our sightseeing day. Since Old Faithful is the number one attraction here, we headed in that direction first
We then headed over to Old Faithful, which had a parking lot, gift shop, hotel and souvenir shop making it resemble a mini Disneyland. Ted and I took our seat on the special viewing area around the geyser - it was predicted to blow at 11.37am, give or take ten minutes. Every time a spout of water would trickle from the spout, you could see a whole entourage of tourists hold their cameras high, but most of these ended up being just premature ejaculations. Just as everyone was starting to lose faith in Old Faithful, at 11.47am we got the money shot. It was quite impressive and lasted for about fifteen seconds. We didn't even get sunburned during the wait since we were sitting in the shade of a group of fat women.
After a quick lunch, we continued onto the Grand Prismatic Spring. We must have taken the wrong turn because after parking the car and walking for over half an hour on a hiking trail, we lost interest and headed back, only to find a parking warning on our hire car! It wasn't a total loss though as we got to take a photo up close with a bison. We eventually found the correct parking place and the mere five minute walk to the spring, which was like West Thumb but bigger. After here we drove along Firehole Canyon Drive, which was a one way mountainside road, with a waterhole complete with cliff divers (they were actually using the sign that said "No Cliff Diving" to jump off).
After Gibbon Falls, Ted and I were all geysered out, and headed onto Yellowstone Grand Canyon