Day 2, after an early awakening, was a jampacked day filled with a lot of driving, mostly done by mom. I took over when the sun went down and the skies opened. Lucky me. :)
We were staying veryclose to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. So, of course, our first stop was to see if it lived up to its name. We opted to be sightseers versus hikers this trip, and we stopped at many a viewpoint. There are two different paths, and we chose to drive down a little jaunt that took us to the brink of the Upper Falls. The Upper Falls drops 109 ft. It's a beauty:
We then backtracked and drove down the one-way North Rim drive, with stops to look at the Lower Falls, And at Lookout Point, Grand View and Inspiration Point (recommended to us).
We unsuccessfully tried to see a bear, but all I have to show from that side trip is this lovely dandelion picture:
You can still see where the wildfires in Yellowstone were - and how they were naturally reseeded by the fire:
We braved the crowds at Old Faithful, because you can't go to Yellowstone and NOT go see Old Faithful:
Old Faithful, was faithful, but we decided that yesterday's geyser was much more explosively impressive. We visited the famous Lodge and got ourselves a generous helping of ice cream.
And then we were off to the Tetons, but not before we crossed the Continental Divide, three separate times.
The weather was slowly turning dreary and storms-a-brewin' but we didn't let that dissuade us. Sure the Grand Teton range wasn't displaying itself in crystalline clarity, but it was nevetheless impressive.
We passed Jackson Lake which runs the length of the Yellowstone entrance to Grand Teton:
THE Grand Teton:
Jenny Lake, a lake we definitely visited the last time I was in Yellowstone/Grand Teton National Parks - 21 years ago:
Now the highlight of this trip, was our unexpected wildlife encounter. There was this amazingly beautiful spring, but it was hard to find listed on any of the literature. It's colors were supposed to be phenomenal but boy was it the hidden gem of Yellowstone. Since it is not listed on half of the literature. So we decided, despite the gloom, clouds, rain and lateness in the day, that we'd at least pull off in the parking lot to take notes for next time.
It was one of the smartest moves we made. For we found this in the parking lot.
He was wandering around the parking lot, and I scrambled for my zoom lens because though he was close, he wasn't that close. I'll admit we did stalk him around the parking lot and I took lots of pictures of him. it was truly amazing. We'd seen another coyote earlier in the trip, but you could barely see him, even with at 250mm lens.
It took us awhile to drive out of the park and back to our hotel in Bozeman because as soon as mom and I switched driving duties, it decided to pour. 1) we were driving a rental card, 2) these were unfamiliar, winding, unlit country roads and c) it was raining cats, dogs, coyotes and bison. So our relatively short trip took half the night and we reluctantly ate at McDonalds because we didn't want to spend the time waiting for a home-cooked meal. Another smart decision, surprisingly.
We had to unload all of our stuff into the hotel in the pouring rain to repack - and gladly collapsed in our beds. We were a little disappointed, having missed our time in the hot tubs in the hotel courtyard.
All in all, we saw a great portion of Yellowstone and fair portion of Grand Teton. I can't wait to go back, but hopefully it won't be another 21 years until next time. And I definitely have some items on my list to see next time.