Wednesday, August 12, 2009

First time to Yellowstone and first time to Montana

At the end of our annual Hansen family Teton trip this year, Oliver and I decided to spend an extra night in Yellowstone. I have never been to Yellowstone and Oliver only recalls driving to the park from the Tetons - straight to Old Faithful - and back to the Tetons. When we got to the entrance we asked about a camp spot and the attendant told us that the park had filled by 1 pm that day (it was 4:30 pm) and that we would have to go back to the Tetons or stay out in West Yellowstone.

I was really bummed, but we decided to go in and explore and see Old Faithful and then maybe just drive home through the night or stop in West Yellowstone and come back into the park in the morning.

We first stopped to look at Lewis Falls. It was really pretty in the late afternoon.

Then we made the decision to stop at every campground and see if we could find a spot. We stopped at Lewis Lake Campground and the sign said full. But after driving around - we found the very last spot for walk-ins only. It was technically a biker/back packer campsite, but a Yellowstone worker said that we could stay because it was so late in the day and probably wasn't going to be used. YEAH! So here is Oliver paying for our $12 miracle in a full park.

Next, we made dinner, set up camp and then decided to go and see Old Faithful so that we could go other places the next day and still make it home at a decent hour. This is Castle Geyser. I didn't realize that Old Faithful was surrounded by dozens of other geysers which were intermittently going off. It was an impressive sight.

Andy then, we were lucky enough to watch Old Faithful go off during sunset and it was spectacular. We enjoyed walking along the boardwalks during dusk and then sunset and then dark. We drove back to our campground in the pitch black, which was a little scary, and then slept great!

The next day, and some the night before on our way to Old Faithful, we saw all kinds of wildlife. It was a very successful wildlife scouting adventure.

A 5x5 elk...

A baby elk nursing...

A stag...

A buffalo sticking out its tongue...

A buffalo rolling in the dirt...

A weird looking black bird...

A nest of osprey (can't really tell but there are babies in there)...and all sorts of other animals.

We also stopped to walk around Dragon's Mouth Spring/Mud Volcano/Gizzly Fumapole and some other interesting bubbling features. Churning Caldron was so steamy that this is what it looked like to walk past it - and keep in mind - all that steam smells like rotten eggs. Which probably didn't smell a whole lot worse than me, seeing how I hadn't showered in 5 days!


From there, we went and hiked around Upper and Lower Falls which was spectacular.

And then, after driving through construction, we exited the park. I discovered that we were in Montana! Having never been to Montana I was ecstatic! I admit that we didn't see or do anything in Montana - but now I have been.

On the way home, we stopped in Rexburg to have our lunch on the temple grounds. Neither of us had seen the new temple before, but it was peaceful and pretty. A bonus, it was closed for cleaning so there was no one around to mind our stench...


What a great and unexpected trip to Yellowstone - we will surely be returning!

5 comments:

Linzy said...

hey sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you. Dinner this week would be great! Some friends are bringing us dinner Wed. So any night but that!

Linzy said...

......L/////''''=0000000UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUULLLLLLLLLLLLLLL,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, that comment is from Londyn

Deidre said...

I have great memories of Yellowstone. So glad you guys got to enjoy it!

Charity said...

sweet, that looks like a lot of fun :)

becky and lance said...

oh how fun!!! the last time i was in yellowstone was in the winter...i think i prefer it in the summer, it is so pretty!! oh and i love the picture of the buffalo sticking its tongue out - how candid! and west yellowstone is a cute little town, you should go back and stay the night sometime!