Day 70 & 71: Yellowstone NP & Grand Teton NP
Trip Start Jul 01, 2008
38Trip End Sep 27, 2008
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Entering Yellowstone NP was a like driving into another world. The Park Ranger at the gate gave the kids an I Spy sheet of animals to look for, noting that seeing 7 of these animals would put them in the "good spotting" range. Matt scored the first point with a squirrel running across the road in front of him, but it was our first bison (buffalo) that had us hopping with excitement. Rounding a corner we had 2 bisons crossing the road, giving us a chance to get up close and snap a few shots. Over the course of the day we saw elk, a mule deer, coyotes, a fox (we think), Canadian ducks, pelicans, a mountain goat and bison. Unfortunately we didn't spot a bear, grizzly or black, but not for lack of trying. We stopped and watched some fly fishermen for a while in the hope that we might see some trout, but they weren't having any luck with us as company. Our biggest animal thrill, or heart stopper in Matt's case, was rounding a corner and finding two bison standing in the middle of the road. I had read earlier in the day the suggested method of dealing with this hazard, and had mentioned only to Matt that he should not be in the direct line of a moving beast. Finding himself in this situation, he manouvered the car off the road as best he could, only to find the bison changing direction toward us again
Our next night was spent just outside the park, in a cabin, surprisingly in Montana, not Wyoming. Checking in, I was advised to store all food inside the car or inside the cabin, as they had had bears rummaging around all week with lots of damage to coolers and boxes left outside. We thought we might see a bear afterall, but when it came to perhaps our best chance of spotting one, none of us were game enough to get up in the middle of the night and do a run to the toilet-block.
Grand Teton NP is an easy drive through kind of park, so we meandered along the main route just stopping for photo ops and a stretch of the legs at Jenny Lake. There we encountered a bus group of oldies from MA, many of whom stopped Matt to ask him if he was from there as he was wearing his Red Sox sweater. They were among the friendliest and chattiest Americans we've met all trip, and were intrigued by our travels and why the kids were not in school. Our next cabin was in Jackson Hole, we've made a mental note to return one winter, overlooking the Snake River, so we spent the last of the light enjoying the chance to relax and chuck rocks into the river.