Since we were already in Wyoming, we knew we had to check out the two National Parks nearby – Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. Unfortunately, since we’re on a bit of a schedule to get to my brother’s wedding in Oregon, we only had a couple of days to check out both of them.
We started out in the Grand Tetons Park and enjoyed the scenery driving in right away.
The traffic pouring into the park was very heavy, and there was a lot of construction. We were worried about getting a campsite so when we found one at Colter Bay Village around 2:00, we took it. Unfortunately that also meant the end of our driving around since we don’t have a towed vehicle. Luckily Colter Bay has a restaurant and marina, so we were able to do a little more sight-seeing, and we had a nice dinner at the lodge restaurant.
The next day we drove up to Yellowstone, and even though the skies were cloudy and gray, the scenery was fantastic.
We stopped at a couple of scenic overlooks and trails, and at one of them a man was nice enough to take our picture.
Since we were in Yellowstone, we had to do the typical touristy thing and go see Old Faithful. And apparently so did everyone else. The traffic had already been heavy and the parking lot here was no exception.
Old Faithful was erupting about every 90 minutes, and we had about an hour to kill before she was scheduled to blow again, so we walked around the many pathways through the geyser basin. There were several geothermal pools around, with boiling, steaming hot water. They’re very pretty, but very dangerous. Accidentally falling into these pools is actually a leading cause of death in Yellowstone.
There was a huge crowd gathered on the platform nearing the time Old Faithful was supposed to blow.
And then, right on time, she lived up to her name.
We drove around some more, and there were several other geyser basins. We didn’t stop at them all, but I took some pictures as we drove by. I’m getting pretty good at taking pictures from a moving vehicle!
As beautiful as Yellowstone was, the crowds were terrible. We learned that we didn’t need to just look for wildlife, we just needed to look for the traffic jams that result from a wildlife spotting. A few times we spotted the tell-tale cars stopped on the road and the shoulder, but were actually surprised at what they were looking at. For instance, the traffic jam below was caused because all of these people were looking at…..a goat. I guess we have become a nation of city dwellers, and perhaps seeing one goat is very exciting to some people. At one point I even saw a group of 5 or 6 people taking pictures of a chipmunk!
We drove for hours that day and didn’t even get through half of the park – Yellowstone is huge! We got a campsite at the Mammoth Springs campground that night, where we were chased by a momma elk.
We had a great time in both parks, I just wish we had more time to explore them both. I guess we’ll have to plan a return trip for next year!