Breathtaking Yellowstone and Grand Tetons

Trip Start Jun 04, 2010
Trip End Sep 08, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Idaho
Saturday, September 4, 2010

We awoke early to a chilly morning and were on the road by 5:30am. We didn't plan it, it just happened. So we put our stuff back in the car and got right on the highway heading to Gardiner, MT the gate city.  Just before we passed through the arch into the park we stopped for a quick bite and cup of coffee at the Two Bit Saloon and Restaurant.  The poor cook, was all by himself so he asked us to help ourselves to a cup of coffee and he would be with us shortly.  When he came by Dave was still in the men's room, so the cook left his order tablet at our table.  When Dave came back I wrote what we wanted and the 2 cups of coffee.   Then I fixed another pot of coffee to help out the cook.  He was doing a fabulous job of serving everyone considering his situation.  The other person who was suppose to be working this morning just didn’t show up (yet?).  After we finished our breakfast we headed 1 whole block to the North Entrance Arch to Yellowstone National Park.  From the moment we passed through the arch it was instantly visible why this place is so special.  The scenery alone can take your breath away.  As we continued through the park and started seeing the steam bubbling up from the streams and rocks we had to stop and admire the creation God put on this earth.  Dave took almost all the pictures today, and I will not be posting all of them.  With every turn of the road there was another breathtaking view that had to be recorded for our memories.

Yellowstone National Park has the distinction of being designated the first National Park in the world in 1872. The 2.2 million acre park was also designated a World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve.
Yellowstone National Park is located within the borders of three states, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. More than 95% of Yellowstone is located in the northwest corner of Wyoming. To give you a better idea of the size of Yellowstone, the Park is larger than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined.

Yellowstone National Park is famous for the geothermal features, wildlife, recreation, and scenery.  One of the most famous geothermal features is Old Faithful Geyser. We were lucky; we only had to wait less then10 minutes for an eruption of Old Faithful.  The last time I visited Old Faithful back in the early 1970’s we parked our car close enough to see the geyser.  Today we had to walk through a Visitor’s Center/Gift Shop.  None-the-less it was a great experience that we will remember on our Yellowstone segment of our vacation.

We were very pleased with the lack of people here in the park.  Considering it was Labor Day Weekend we did not encounter any major traffic jams or huge crowds of people.

Elevations within the park range from a low of 5,282 feet at Reese Creek to an upper elevation of 11,358 feet on Eagle Peak. Due to the range of elevations, the temperatures were extremely different throughout the day.  We started the morning with sweaters and jackets and down to our t-shirts by the end of the day.

We traveled all the way down to the south gate in about 4 hours.  The south gate leads into the Grand Tetons Nation Park, an ethereal mountain landscape where jagged peaks tower more than a mile above the Jackson Hole valley. 

The park's mountain range is very popular among climbers, hikers and photographers. The Tetons are a prime example of fault-block mountain formation. When the earth's crust cracked along a fault millions of years ago, the Tetons rose into the sky. The exposed crystalline rocks give these mountains their dramatic appearance. The Grand Teton rises to 13,770 feet above sea level and 12 other peaks reach above 12,000 feet elevation.

The floor of Jackson Hole tells the story of glacial outwash – sand and boulders carried out of the Teton Mountains and the Yellowstone Plateau by glaciers and deposited on the valley floor. Interesting saucer-like depressions, called potholes, dot the outwash plain. These are thought to be the result of huge chunks of buried glacial ice melting leaving the ground above suddenly without support.

We stopped to have lunch in Jackson Hole, which has changed so much in the last 40 years, and not necessarily for the better.  There use to be a quaint park in the middle of town with arches made from antlers.  There is no evidence of that park today.  What exists now are new hotels, restaurants, shops and about 16 chair lifts.  More hotels are under construction at this time.  There is not one building left of the original town.  My first thought was that this was not the same town, until I saw the name on the main building.   I guess if you’re an avid skier you would probably be totally happy with the area, but to me I see a piece of history destroyed and gone.

After lunch at a hotel resort just southwest of the Teton Park we headed for Idaho Fall, ID.  This was the town my oldest daughter was born in.  The Catholic hospital is no longer standing, which doesn’t surprise me, it was very old when she was born there.

Coming into town I went to the apartment building where we first lived when Joe and I moved here eons ago.  The apartment building is gone and a Church is built on the spot.  Trying to get around a town which doesn’t look anything like I remember was difficult.

We found a Motel 6, bought a local map of the town and I mapped out a couple of stops I want to make, and we will start out fresh in the morning with the map in hand. 

God bless all the people who stayed home this weekend so we are able to have a low stress weekend.  Bless all the folks who were displaced due to the recreation of Jackson Hole and to all the folks here in Idaho Falls who understand the erratic lost  driving of a car with Calif. License plates.  God Bless my Daughter, Adrienne who was a little doll who filled my days here in Idaho Falls 40 years ago with many wonderful memories.

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Linda Navin on

Yellowstone looks so vast and beautiful! I can't believe the buffalo are up that close to people. I'm just catching up on your journey. I was in Redding visiting Eric over the 3 day holiday. xoxoxoxo

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