Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jackson and Yellowstone

For fall break, we (we being me, Austin, and my mom and dad) headed up to Jackson Hole, WY on the way to Yellowstone. My parents had never been up there, and since it's my favorite place on earth, I will never pass up an opportunity to go. This time, the weather didn't cooperate with our plans since it is effectively winter up there but we still got to see some pretty cool animals and all of the geysers even though we were afraid that the NPS wasn't even going to let us in due to our lack of snow tires/chains. But they did.

Jackson is basically just like Park City, so it's not very exciting for us since it feels more like a staycation than a getaway. But it is pretty and it was actually nice with the snow on the mountains and generally has better scenery than Park City, I think. We even went to the Cowboy Bar which Austin says is "the thing to do." Don't ask me where he gets his information, but it was interesting for sure. Basically, it's a bunch of tourists who go in there to take pictures of their friends drinking a beer on a saddle barstool. Then Austin and I won a game of pool even though I didn't get a single ball in a pocket!

The next morning we drove up through Grand Teton National Park which was a bit of a letdown because we couldn't see the tops of the mountains through the low clouds. The views were good of all of the elk h
unters out there though...what a sport. I didn't realize the idea was to shoot an animal as close to your car as physically possible in order to reduce the amount of time and energy spent walking to the animal and hauling it back.

When we got up to Yellowstone without any encounters with the park ranger, we visited the geyser basin and walked around for a while since of course we just missed the eruption of Old Faithful (by about 30 seconds). We saw all of the hot pots, pools, geysers, and every other type of hydrothermal activity going on there and then made it back to the benches to watch the big show! After all of that excitement, we had to get back to our cabin to do some "real campin.'" Even though this tent had wireless and satellite TV.

The next day we took the long drive. Since a couple of the roads in the park are closed for the rest of the season, the trip from West Yellowstone to North Yellowstone entails driving all the way around counterclockwise and then turning around to retrace your tracks. The one nice thing about this long drive is that at least there are things to look at outside the window. Although the bison become akin to cattle by the end of the day, we did get to see quite a few elk, three bald eagles, and a coyote hunting! Pretty exciting because I think I got a better picture than the guys with the tens of thousands of dollars worth of photography equipment!

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