Yellowstone to the Grand Tetons

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The northern area of Yellowstone proved to be my favorite part, particularly the region around Canyon and the twisty drive to Mammoth Springs.

We saw several bears along the way, including a few grizzlies and a black bear so close we could almost reach out of the car and pet it. All of these bears were far more interested in munching grass and digging up roots to even notice the human paparazzi around them.

We also saw a coyote, some deer, a lot of bison, and quite a few elk. The only animal we missed that we really wanted to see is the wolf, but we were staying too far away from the best place to spot them in order to make it there by dawn.

After Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons seem, well, almost quaint. We’re going to take the boat across Jenny Lake today and do some hiking before heading south into Utah tomorrow.

Yellowstoned

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Being in Yellowstone has left me feeling pretty stoned – in two senses of the word.

On one hand, the physical beauty of the place leaves one stunned at times. The light and the colors, particularly at the end of the day, causes the effect of deserted cars and trucks on the side of the road, their inhabitants seen wandering through high grass, while gently spinning in a circle, binoculars to eyes, oblivious to their appearance.

However, the meaning of being pummeled by rocks also applies, especially in respect to the sheer number of fellow humans (and their autos) that constantly surround you, almost anywhere you go. And, no, the irony that Kath and I are part of the problem does not escape me, but the number of people in the park, especially near famous sites, like Old Faithful, really detract from the majesty of the place. I think the National Park Service does the best they can with the volume, and I don’t know how you turn people away, but something has got to be done about it, at some point.

Into Yellowstone

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We had a long driving day to get from Missoula to Island Park, Idaho, our basecamp for exploring Yellowstone.

Since it was going to take a long time, whatever route we chose, we elected to make a little detour and come in the Gardiner gate into north Yellowstone and exit through the west gate, taking in Mammoth Hot Springs along the way.

We weren’t disappointed.