Sep 22, 2011

Yellowstone: The longest post in the history of blogging

Yellowstone was amazing. And I don't mean amazing like the sights were pretty and the camping was fun. I mean amazing like it rivaled one of the best trips I've EVER been on. 
Keane agrees. 

We picked up the rental RV from Salt Lake City on Friday and headed north. The 24' motorhome was our home on wheels for 5 days. 
Keane dubbed it "The Bearded Clam" and would say, "The Bearded Clam rears it's ugly head again" anytime the road got dicey and our beast felt a little out of control. 

I claim no responsibility for the things that come out of that man's mouth. 

Friday was a really, really long day of driving. We crossed four state boundaries by the time we made it to our campsite at 9:00pm (WY to UT to ID to MT back into WY). We went straight to bed the first night so we could get up early the following day and begin exploring. 

The weather was sunny and brisk for most of our four days there. Autumn was in full swing and everywhere we looked, trees and bushes were morphing into shades of vibrant red, orange and yellow.

We made it around both loops of Yellowstone during our stay and saw most of the hydrothermal attractions, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, several impressive falls, and some incredible wildlife. As par for the course, I took almost 700 photos. I'm working on a video slideshow of a lot of them, but I added some of my favorites here. 

These steaming vents were everywhere in the park because most of it sits inside an active hydrothermal boundary. It was pretty surreal to see entire mountains smoking as we drove around, sightseeing. 

The sulphur smell was pretty horrendous. Imagine the stinkiest rotten egg sandwich you can and then add some feet. 

Yeah that. 

There were bison everywhere and we were able to get pretty close to a few herds. I will always have a special love for buffalo because I am one

We didn't figure out until the 3rd night that we could set out heat to come on periodically without killing our battery (like we were told it would). So the first couple nights and early mornings were pretty miserable since it was below freezing outside. 

I asked Keane to make his best "cold face" and this is what he gave me. 

This picture was standing above a 300 foot water fall. The roar was deafening. 

This is another shot of the same waterfall after we drove to a different overlook. 

And this was our view of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone as we hiked the south rim.

It's hard to tell from these pictures but this was definitely an "at your own risk" type of hike. There was no barricade to prevent you from plummeting to your death 1,000 feet below. Keane got a thrill from walking to the edge to look down while I screamed for him to come back. It was so gusty at the top and I heard that people have actually died from being swept off the edge by wind. 

We saw a mama Grizzly and her two cubs in Hayden Valley on the second day. People were lined up on the side of the road with their scopes watching her every move. There were even wolves at the edge of the tree line but they were too far for us to see with our naked eye. We did get to peek through some kind folk's super zoom scopes to get a closer look at them. 

The third night we moved camp sites and didn't arrive until after dark. When we checked in, the ranger said there had been three bear sightings near our campsite so to be "bear aware." (Or as Keane says, "Beary aware." He's so clever.) Ours was at the farthest end of the campground and backed up to some thick woods. I kept my flashlight in hand and used it whenever I heard any rustling. 

While we sat by the fire and ate dinner, we heard elk bugling from all around us. As a kid, we'd always take day trips in the fall to Rocky Mountain National Park with the hopes of hearing the elk bugle, so to witness it so close to us was such a neat experience. 

Their calls went on for hours and even continued into the next morning. Just as we stepped out of the RV for the day, this bull elk walked by and bugled within 30 feet of us. 


On the fourth day, we left Yellowstone and headed south to the Grand Tetons. This turned out to be another favorite spot on our tour. These mountains were the most beautiful I'd ever seen. 

We did a couple hikes, one near Jackson lake. The temperature couldn't have been more perfect and I got to see changing Aspens everywhere!

We left the Tetons in the evening and passed through Jackson. It was beautiful and I'd love to go back when we have more time. 

We drove into the night to get close to Salt Lake so we could drop off RV the next morning and make it to Park City for lunch. I may or may not have contracted E. Coli from a questionable burger in small town Idaho. The jury's still out.

We slept in a Costco parking lot just outside of Salt Lake in true RVer style. 

After returning the Bearded Clam, we headed to Park City where I fell in love. The little town was so picturesque and I want to live there forever. I was seriously scheming about ways to make it work. 

"I'll waitress for the rest of my life and you can be a snowboard instructor!" I said.

We'll see...

And the trees! Oh the trees. 

Our trip was magical. We packed so many things in to a fairly short time and it was totally worth every penny spent on that gas guzzling Clam. If you haven't seen this area of the country, your are missing out on so much beauty. 

Ok, longest post ever but I'm still so giddy about everything we saw. I'll be back with a video soon. 


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