Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 1 in the Parks 7-31-10

Yes!  We are really here!  A real, all natural, real life FOREST!  Big trees, lakes, rivers, water falls, bears, buffalo, elk, antelope, wolves, deer!  eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!  I was soooooo excited!  So was everyone else, but this is my story!  LOL

We barely got into the park and cars were pulled over looking at something!  Ohohohoh!  What is it?  False alarm get back in the car!  First let's take a picture!

Ok, back in the car, buckle up, keep cameras ready, let's go!

At Moose Junction there was a visitor center with a restaurant, convenience store and gas station and a place to rent bicycles.  Not it!  But what an awesome view of the Tetons!  Of course it just didn't matter where you were or what angle - the site was fabulous!

Below is Wayne and Nancy at Moose Junction.
Isn't it breath taking?!!!!!!!!

We barley got strapped in and situated when we came upon another "Turn out".  That's what they called the paved areas on the side of the road so that you can stop and take pictures.  It will have any thing from an information plaque to explain what part of the mountain or scenery you are looking at, to a visitor center like above.
This one was on the river and this lovely little bridge crossing over which lead to a white water rafting place and hiking trails.  NOT IT!  I would have loved to have taken a nice easy scenic float trip, but as it turned out we just didn't have time.  Maybe next time.  Anyway - I started out with sneakers and socks on but at the site of this beautiful crystal clear water, I had to shed the socks and shoes and go for a tip toe in the water!  It was fantastic!  Cold, but not painful.  Of course I only stood there a minute or two.  Awwwww So nice!

View from the bridge (sigh):

Another turn out gave us this picture op.  This one lead to a hiking trail, but the trail was closed due to a recent fire in the area that left some trees unstable and unsafe for hikers.  A man and his son were all geared up for the hike when the man read the information and the son replied that he just couldn't leave without a hike!  His father promised there would be another trail up the road that they would be able to take.

This is Nancy, Teddy and me at Jenny Lake Overlook. It looks fake! The mountains behind us look fake! But I guarantee you they are very real!

Here's another view

Ok - next we stopped at Colter Bay Village where there was a gas station/convenience store, lodging, boat ramp, Indian Arts Museum and Trailhead.  The primary reason for stopping was for some bottled water and a bathroom.  As we were pulling out of the parking lot we spotted these two little critters:

The guys decided they were mule deer fawns, because of their rather large ears:


At this point we are nearing the northern part of the park and then entered the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway that connects The Grand Tetons National Park with Yellowstone National Park.
That's right!  Next stop YELLOWSTONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  WooooHooooo!
After going through the south gate we crossed over this river/creek.  The sign said "Crawfish Creek".  Just over the bridge was a turn out.  From the looks of the water at the bridge . . . . we just might have ourselves a waterfall. 
So we pulled in and parked, gathered our cameras and binoculars and followed the trail to this:
UhOh! Do they have any clothes on?

Yeah - they do

Now what is this guy up to?  No!
You don't think . . . . .  
Surely not . . . . . .

That's right! The clown JUMPED!!!! Can you believe it! No - I don't know the guy. He most certainly wasn't one of us!!!!!!!!
He survived, but I bet he was searching for at least one leg of those shorts where the sun doesn't shine!

A piece up the road we noticed the road side of trees giving way to this gorge.  That is the Lewis River wwwaaaaaaayyyyy down there.
It had started to rain on us a little, but a little water can't slow us down, much.
Some of these turn outs were pretty scary.  Wouldn't want to be standing around in a torrential rain!  Could turn into a scene from Romancing the Stone with Kathleen Turner and Michal Douglas!

We made our way to Old Faithful by around 3 pm.  I could not believe the amount of people!!!!!!!!!!!  This was like it's own little city!!  Parking area after parking area.  Of course there are places to stay right there at Old Faithful area.  Snow Lodge and Old Faithful Lodge.  There's a visitor Center, Post Office, gas stations, picnic areas.  Like I said there were people everywhere!  We followed the signs to the basin where Old Faithful was and there near the front was a parking spot just for the Hughes and the Wells!  We figured with an opening so close it would probably be an hour or more before it would go off again.  But to our surprise it was posted that the next "blow" was going to be in the next 10 to 12 minutes.  So we found a place among all the people and waited.  It was pretty warm in the sun, so Wayne and I walled back to the trees and waited.  I think the view was actually better back away from it a little so that you could see the whole thing.

It was rather hard to catch it with a camera.  I did a video of it, but for some reason, it would not upload here.  So pictures will have to do for now.  All these people were on the board-walk that forms a semi-circle around the geyser but there were hundreds more under the trees and roaming all around the complex.  There were other smaller geysers smoldering around this area, but I didn't get any pictures of them going off.  To be totally honest, I was not that impressed with the geysers.  I expected more noise and maybe a little ground rumble.  I did read somewhere that Old Faithful is not the biggest or the badest or most regular, but it is more regular that the rest, therefore being the most famous.  I must admit that it is quite amazing the heat, pressure and such.  It's just not my cup of tea, I guess you could say.

Now!  Back to my cup of tea!  Water Falls!  I love water!  This was called Kepler Cascades.  They had a board walk built out to a large landing over the river.  Way cool!!
Here is a zoom!  Those are full size tree logs down there!

And here is another one - it is Lewis Falls:  See it way up in there?

And here is a closer shot - there was a cool trail up to it.
Who are these hoodlems that got in my way!
Oh, Wayne, Nancy and Wayne.  HeHe
There.  There is a peek.

Pictures just don't do justice!  But they are great once you have been there and to look back, you are there again in all those beautiful places!

Ok, we are headed back to camp as it is getting late and we have a long run ahead of us.  The south gate of Yellowstone is 64 miles from Jackson and our campsite is another 12 miles south of town.  We have to go through the Grand Teton park again to get back to Jackson and along the main road are many places to stop and watch for wildlife moving as night begins to fall.
Here are two large Elk.

This is one of about 5 deer that crossed the road in front of us.  There horns are in velvet.

This was a very large herd of Elk coming down the mountain.  As we stood watching them you could hear the cows calling to the calves.  So very cool and a little eerie.
They were a long way off from the road - my 26x zoom or binoculars was the only way to really see them very good.  But you sure could here them!
An awesome end to an awesome day.  (deep breath, sigh)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ok On To Jackson, WY

Alrighty then, where were we? Oh yeah, we were in southern Wyoming.

When we got to Rock Springs, we took Hwy 191 north to Pinedale.  Here we saw some more landscape changes!  From rocky slopes to thick forests.  Very much of the landscape is left wild.  There were the occasional hay fields/pastures, but even the yards were small areas which looked somewhat unkept.

This beautiful little river ran all through and around this area.  It was so clear you could see every little rock and pebble!  Even at 60 mph!

Sorry about the bug guts there, but there was no slowing the man down! We were getting close!

These antelope were grazing in this pasture as the guy was trying to bale it!  They didn't seem too concerned about the equipment!
These were the only fences they used to keep cattle and horses in.  It sure wouldn't be enough around here.  We did see signs from time to time that said "Free Range Watch for loose livestock."  I think anyone with livestock had large parcels of land.  Livestock was always in large, wide open areas.
Here is another shot of the river.  I just couldn't get enough of it!  Every bend was more beautiful than the last!

Then we spotted this fire.  When we got to the camp ground, they said that it was fairly small and was under control so the park was letting it burn.  Trying to let nature take it's course.  I guess it was started by lightning the night before. 
We were near Hoback Junction where "Margaret" (our GPS) messed us up, so that was the end of the picture taking until we found our way to the KOA.  About 4 or 5 miles.
I was a little disappointed in the KOA.  The sites were "postage stamp" size.  And they had planted a tree in the middle of our site so we were unable to open our awning.  But what the heck!  We didn't spend that much time at camp anyway!
Wayne and Nancy weren't too far behind us.  They flew into Salt Lake, UT, rented a car and drove 6 hours to Jackson!  We got to camp about 4 CST and they got there around 6:30 CST.  Wayne had the grill going with pork chops and I opened a can of baked beans and fixed some mashed potatos!  First night - GREAT!  Off to the Grand Tetons in the morning!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Woooooo Hooooo! What a ride!

That was some trip!  I had wanted to blog every day about all that I saw, but each day started around 8 a.m and didn't stop until 10 - 12 pm!  So I'll go back and fill you in!

I did post the first day 7-28-10 Mexia to Amarillo.  Wonderful day!  My level of excitement was VERY high!  Slept like a baby!

7-29-10:  Amarillo, TX to Laramie, WY

The Texas and Oklahoma panhandles were full of these Wind Farms!  They were everywhere!  We could defiantly understand why too!  There were times that the wind about blew us off the road! 
Colorado had a few too but not like Texas and Oklahoma.

Wayne was rather nervous pulling the car, so we chose to stay on 287 all the way to Limon, CO, took I70 to Bennett then secondary roads around Denver.  All that would have been just fine if we had gotten on I25 north of Denver, but we went on west to catch 287 again . .. . . . and well . . . . first it started to rain . . . . . . then it was one town after another . . . . . . one stop light after another . . . . . Lafayette, Longmont, Loveland.  All lovely towns, mind you, but very busy and scary in a motor home, pulling a car!
But we arrived at the KOA in Laramie all in one piece.  Got the motor home plugged in; took Teddy for a walk and ordered a pizza!  LOL  It was very good and delivered right to our door!

You may have to zoom in on this one to see that there are 4 antelope on the feeder road!  They are just strolling along, without a care in the world!  I love nature!  Most of it.

Here is another shot from somewhere in Co.  Can't remember where now - but I was very happy to see some mountain-ouse-ness (not a word?  Oh well) LOL

Ok!  On to Jackson Hole!

7-30-10:  Laramie, WY to Jackson, WY

Now this is where things got interesting!  This looks like a post card!  I just couldn't believe that I was seeing it with my own eyes!  Excitement level increased a little more!

I think we were between Rawlings and Rock Springs here.  Not sure.  How 'bout somewhere in Wyoming!  That works!

Here is something interesting -
That is a snow fence to help keep the snow drifts back off the road.  The trees have been planted there as a "living snow fence".  Not all places were like this.  There were many that were putting up new fencing.  Miles and miles of it!

In other places were signs with flashing lights that said:  "Road closed when flashing".  On the interstate!  You better have your snow shoes packed!

The following pictures were a little eerie!  Were they really there or was it some kind of hallucination?

Yeah!  They were there!

Here's a little place where I thought I might like to live!  During the summer!

I would even consider this one if the price was right!  LOL

Ok, I'll quite playing around and get you to Jackson, but I just can't do it tonight.  I'm off to the shower and on to bed.  Pleasant dreams all!  More to come tomorrow.