Posts Tagged With: Yellowstone

GART Day 21: Grand Tetons

The kids wanted to try their hand at fishing again. To discourage them I told them the best time to fish is early in the morning. Really early in the morning. That didn’t sway them so at 5:30am their alarms started going off and they got me from bed. It was a cold morning. But they still wanted to go.

We headed back to Gull Point Drive to a sand spit where we had seen others fishing the night before. The sunrise was beautiful over the Yellowstone River and Yellowstone Lake. We had the place to ourselves. And for good reason…it was cold. And windy. It may be in the 60s and 70s at 7800+ feet during the day, but in the early morning before the sun comes up its cold cold cold. We tried our luck anyway.

We fished a half hour on the point, then went back to where we saw that guy land the large cutthroat the day before and tried there. Still no luck. We tried another half hour near the entrance to Bay Bridge but again no luck. These fish were eating flies on the water and fly fishing was needed, not our spinner-and-spoon lures on casting rods and reels. We called it a day and went to get som coffee and cocoa spotting a white pelican in the early morning light as we returned to camp where Tawny was still asleep.




We drove out through the south entrance of Yellowstone to Grand Teton National Park. We stopped at Colter Bay Visitor Center to get oriented to the park and have the kids check off another park in their National Park Passports. Grand Teton is dramatic. We drove through the park transfixed on the peaks rising straight up from the high plains as we made our way to Jackson.





We dropped off the trailer at the campy but nice Virginia Inn Lodge (and Saloon, and RV Park, and Drive Through Liquor Store) which reminded us of the Madonna Inn from the first few days of our Great American Road Trip.



We went into Jackson to walk around town square and take the kids to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar so they could sit on at the bar on a saddle amongst the burl wood decor. This is more biker bar than cowboy. Unfortunately they have to be 21 or over to go into the bar. They wanted pictures so we sent the kids across the street to Ripley’s Believe it or Not while Tawny and I had a beer in the bar and took some pictures of the saddles for the kids at the suggestion of the woman who worked in the Cowboy Bar Gift Shop. Not 15 minutes later the kids called us to say they’d been through the Ripley’s Museum already – 3 times! We bailed and worked on finding a place for dinner. We ended up at The Rendezvous Bistro which had a line out the door when we arrived while thunder, hail, and rain poured down around us. The place was packed and offered us one of our better meals while on the road. After dinner the skies cleared and we enjoyed the large hot tub at the Virginian. Later that evening I updated my blog from amongst the taxidermic animals and patrons of the Virginian Saloon.








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GART Day 19: Yellowstone Day 2

Andy made steak and eggs and beans in a cast-iron skillet over the morning fire. Cowboy breakfast extraordinaire. It was a fine way to start the day and an even better way to fend off the post whiskey morning cobwebs.

We headed out to West Thumb Geyser Basin along Yellowstone Lake to see the geyser basin. It was a great way to whet our appetite for the myriad of thermals to come. A highlight was seeing the skeletal remains of a baby elk that had died at the edge of a pool only 2 months ago and how only two months in acidic and boiling water had stripped the bones clean.
Next we drove past Old Faithful (we’d return there later) towards Norris, about 1 hour away to see the Norris Geyser Basin and the Steamboat Geyser. On the way we saw 2 wolves out in a field at a great distance but we stayed and watched them for awhile. Norris Basin was great but it was hot. To cool off we drove back a few miles to a picnic area along the river and made some sandwiches. The kids waded in the river. From there we went to the Artist Paintpots and Gibbon Falls. From there we drove all the way back to Old Faithful where Andy, Pam and kids would be spending the night. We had reservations to eat at the Old Faithful Inn. So we changed clothes and went and had a nice meal.
After dinner we all went and saw Old Faithful at sunset and then took a twilight walk around the myriad of geysers, springs and other thermals near the lodge. As darkness encroached we said our goodbyes and drove the 40 minutes or so back to our campsite, narrowly missing two rabbits and a deer during our drive.










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GART Day 18: Buffalo Bill and Yellowstone Day 1

We filled the trailer with water because we knew the campsite we’d have in Yellowstone for the next two days would have no services. It added another 750lbs to the trailer and we knew we’d have a 2500 foot elevation gain into Yellowstone from Cody.

Before heading to Yellowstone we took a side trip to the very well done Buffalo Bill Cody Center, which is 5 museums, one for Buffalo Bill, the Firearm Museum (largest collection of American firearms in the world, a natural history museum focused on Yellowstone, a Native American Plains Indian Museum, a Museum of Western Art. We toured three of them; the Firearms Museum (which I could understand how it might be interesting if you were interested in firearms, as there were several thousands of them, but I personally couldn’t muster any interest, nor could Tawny or Clara. So after ten minutes or so we left and headed to the Buffalo Bill Museum.

The Buffalo Bill Museum was pretty interesting. I didn’t know the history of Buffalo Bill at all. Knew nothing. But it was really interesting to learn about how one person single handedly helped to shape the enduring image of the American West and the Cowboy. Buffalo Bill has a fascinating personal story, as well as legend and enigma. Rather than detail it here you can read about Buffalo Bill on Wikipedia. 20130728-213629.jpg







As we checked out the natural history museum – which focused on Yellowstone – we realized we’d rather see the real thing, so we left and headed to the park…
On the way to Yellowstone I got the first speeding ticket I’ve received in over 20 years. We were going from a 65 zone to a 50 zone and I wasn’t even going 65 (because our trailer was so weighted down). I wasn’t paying attention and got caught going in the low sixties in the fifty zone – speed trap. The annoying thing was I wasn’t intentionally speeding. We weren’t in a hurry and we had nobody behind us pressuring us on. I was just enjoying the view and the drive. I chalked it up to an “entrance fee” for Yellowstone.

We came in from the East Entrance and continued on into the park and Yellowstone Lake. We headed to the Bridge Bay campground and checked in. Our friends Andy, Pam, their derby daughter Zoetrope and her friend Nico would be joining us but hadn’t yet arrived. We went and set up camp, putting on the big r-dome on our r-pod trailer and getting out the picnic table, chairs, etc., to cozy the place up. We had a very cute little meadow vole living in a hole right next to our fire-pit and we watched him work on redecorating his hole entryway. Very cute.

Just as we were pulling out to do a little touring we saw Andy, Pam and family. We directed them to our site (they were car camping with tents) and told them we’d be back in about 2 hours for happy hour. We headed out to Mud Volcano and Sulphur Cauldron. As we approached Mud Volcano we saw some Bison by the road. We pulled over, took a few shots and moved on parking at Mud Volcano. One Bison was working his way through the parking lot and along the road very close to us. We saw our first thermals, bacteria mats, the Dragon’s Tongue, Mud Volcano, etc and headed up the plank trail to see more. As we headed up the hill there was another bison laying just below the platform. But just over the crest of the hill was a heard of buffalo with babies and they were standing on the trail. There were people stuck on the opposite side of the trail and this trail was open plank with no railings on the side. A group of people – idiots – started approaching the buffalo from the other side and it cause the buffalo to turn away from them and start moving towards us. We, and about 30 other people quick turned tail and hustled our way out of there.






That close encounter made us leave Mud Volcano and go across the street to Sulphur Cauldron where we could see a herd of buffalo with babies across the river. It was beautiful and we stayed there some time watching before returning to our campsite to fix dinner and hang out by the fire with Andy, Pam, Zoetrope and Nico. The kids ran amok in the fields and wore themselves out while we had a fine dinner, and roasted marshmallows by the fire.







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