The Tetons stand watch over Lake Jackson
The mountains seem to rise up out of the lake.
Jenny Lake reflects the mountains in her depths.
Grand Teton National Park, WY
September 10-12, 2007 - We drove from Yellowstone south to
Grand Teton National Park. We were there on magically beautiful
days. The sky was bright and clear and everywhere we turned
was like a picture postcard. Apparently the mountains are often
obscured by clouds, so we felt fortunate to see them on days that
were crystal clear.
We drove the Scenic Loop
through the park, and on
our way back we saw a
pronghorn antelope peering
at us through the grass.
Just after we got his picture
he bounded away.
We were starting to feel the press of the coming cold weather, and
we still had a lot we wanted to see before we headed south, so we
made our way eastwards in Wyoming to Devils Tower National
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Other blog posts from our RV travels to Grand Teton National park:
- Grand Teton National Park Wyoming – Rare Sightings! 09/29/14
- Grand Teton National Park – 101 Ways to Enjoy The Tetons! 09/20/14
- Grand Teton National Park WY – Mirrored Waters 09/17/14
- Grand Teton National Park WY – Wild Skies 09/10/14
- Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming – Stunning! 09/28/07
Algae-filled crystal clear stream.
come here too!
Old Faithful teases us.
The crowds gather.
There she goes...!
Oh.. oh.. look...
Yellowstone National Park - Mammoth Hot Springs
September 6-10, 2007 -- We drove into the main north entrance to
Yellowstone National Park and arrived at Mammoth Hot Springs. I
had never thought about how Yellowstone got its name, but when I
saw the colorful mineral deposits surrounding me it was obvious.
Steam billowed into the air from the hot springs and the smell of
sulphur wafted over us in waves. The minerals solidify into
stairstep formations and drippy solid lumps.
There is a mystical quality to this area. The water looks passive
and serene, but the mist and steam drifting above the surface
belie something more sinister brewing below.
I saw a fast flowing stream
filled with bright green plant
life. it was crystal clear and
looked like it must be ice
cold. Without even
thinking I put my hand in
the water - and yanked it
right out! The water was
hot hot hot!
There are mazes of
Mammoth Hot Springs,
some passing old defunct
springs and others skirting
pools of steaming mineral
water. The minerals harden
into all kinds of shapes, from
elaborate staircases to very
tall pinnacles. Some of the
springs bubble under vast
lakes punctuated by dead
trees. Up close the
minerals are a kaleidescope
In some areas the minerals harden in waves, like a frozen orange
ocean. In other areas mini-waterfalls dribble minerals over an edge.
At one lookout we found a professional photographer
using a huge format camera under a draped hood. Our
quickie snapshots of anything and everything around us
seemed amateurish next to his deliberate methodology.
Other areas of the park feature
geysers as well as hot springs.
And no visit to Yellowstone is
complete without a spin past Old
It erupts every 90 minutes or so,
and with less promptness and
splendor than 50 years ago when
an earthquake shifted things below the surface. The
crowds gather, however, and there were several
hundred people for our showing. We were lucky and
got a big burst after the geyser teased us with a series
of smaller sprays.
After enjoying much of what Yellowstone has to offer -- but realizing we'll have to return several times to see it all --
we made our way south into Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming.
Herd of elk in front of the visitors center.
What a rack. A local hunter standing nearby told us he was
at Yellowstone to size up his prey for when they migrate out
of the park into the legal hunting areas.
Buffalo use the roads for travel too.
Yellowstone National Park - Animals
September 6-10, 2007 - One of the most exciting
things in Yellowstone is seeing the big game
animals up close. Our first morning in the park,
after driving down from Glacier NP, we took a short
hike from the campground to the visitors center. As
we climbed up the hillside through the forest we
looked up -- and saw a buffalo on the ridge above
us. I stopped dead in my tracks, remembering the
sign I'd seen at the campground, "More people are
gored by buffalo each year than are attacked by
bears." Yikes. There had been another sign
explaining what to do in case you encountered a buffalo or bear in the park. I wracked my brain trying to remember the
instructions, as each animal required something different. Do you make noise, or not? Back up slowly or run for your life? Be
aggressive or passive? The buffalo snorted at us. Mark reached for his camera but I was frozen to the spot. Suddenly the
mammoth, ungainly beast leaped away. He moved across the impossibly steep and rocky terrain with the grace and agility of a
dancer. In an instant he was gone. We gaped at each other, wide-eyed. What a way to be welcomed to Yellowstone National
When we arrived at the visitors center we found it was occupied by
a herd of elk. It was elk mating season and they like to congregate
at the visitors center. They wandered up and down the grassy
areas as if they owned the place while the rangers waved the cars
through and tried to control the exuberant park visitors.
A huge male was seated motionless in the middle of the grass
with his harem of females surrounding him at a distance. He
barely moved a muscle as he sat in the sun. We watched him,
willing him to turn to face us. He wouldn't move, despite the
crowd of onlookers snapping his photo. Almost imperceptably he
moved his head slightly. This seemed an indication that he might
stand up and the rangers leapt into action, waving everyone
away from the grass to give the big guy room. "These are wild
animals," they explained to us. "They are unpredictable." That proved true, as the enormous elk must have decided he didn't
need to stand up afterall, and he stayed seated in the sun for another few hours.
One morning we woke up to see a young buck elk flirting with a
young female right outside our trailer window. We grabbed the
cameras and started shooting right through the window. They
touched noses and then reared up on their hind feet, pawing at
They did this for about 10 minutes, pausing to nibble the bushes
every now and then between flirtations. When the young male
leaned over to munch on a leaf we could see that his antlers were
soft and fuzzy.
Out on the park roads it
was common to see elk
and bison roaming
around. The animals
use the park roads in the
winter because it is
easier to walk through
the snow there. So they
do own the roads
afterall, and they
continue walking along
them in the summertime
too. After a while we got
used to seeing the huge
buffalos. They didn't get
any prettier, but from the
safety of the car they
seemed a little less
The tamed wild animals
are just one of the many
marvels at Yellowstone.
We were intrigued by the
steaming and gurgling of
the hot springs and
geysers as well.