We’ve entered the part of the trip that I never really got around to researching all that much. With so many possibilities in so many different places I got a bit overwhelmed with the scale of Yellowstone. I kind of lump Grand Teton NP in with Yellowstone since they are so close together, and were both added to the agenda as a bit of a last minute change (where last minute equals about 3-4 months).
What I did know was that Grand Teton had a ferry across Jenny lake and that there were good hiking trails on the other side of the lake. After deliberating a bit amongst ourselves and a quick consultation with a ranger we decided to hike around the lake, then along the trails on the other side, and then finally to take the ferry back when we had finished.
The plan was a solid one. Who could have anticipated the mass quantities of flies that we encountered on the trip around the lake? It’s interesting that we hadn’t really had any issues with insects until today. Unfortunately, our hike kind of got off on the wrong foot as we were bombarded with pests nearly as soon as we set foot on the trail.
We did manage to make it around and found a beautiful set of waterfalls to enjoy lunch next to. It’s interesting to see the differences between the Rocky Mountains of the Front Range and those of the Tetons. The mountains here seem much more imposing, rising up from a large valley floor unlike the Front Range that surrounded by foothills and other mountains. The Tetons also seem much rockier. Many of the mountains of Colorado looked accessible to anyone with hiking ambitioin, while the Tetons seem to call for climbing gear.
After making our way through the park and into Yellowstone we made our first stop at Old Faithful. Our timing was good and we managed to grab front row seats with only a small wait. I had thought that this would be similar to Mt. Rushmore in a, seen it once, ready to move on kind of way. It was very different though. I think it was the natural power of it that was so interesting to me. Seeing a column of water leaving a hole in the ground powered only by the heat of the magma below was a very moving experience.
We also took the time to do a small walk around the other geysers in the Old Faithful area and saw a huge variety of structures all powered by the same forces by behaving in very different ways. Finally we proceeded to West Yellowstone where we’ll be spending the next couple nights. We found a great dinner spot at The Slippery Otter (along with cheap and high quality beer) and a solid ice cream place.
Now we’re off to bed. We’ll sleep in a bit tomorrow and then tackle some of the more touristy parts of Yellowstone.