A Travellerspoint blog

Cold and Snowy Yellowstone

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

all seasons in one day 3 °C

It rained all night. When we know it’s going to rain hard at night, we pull in our bedroom slide. Since we didn’t expect rain, our slide stayed out and the rain hit against the aluminum roof two feet above our heads – not a very restful night for Jere and I. So we start the day short-tempered, yelling at each other. In case any of you think that a trip across the country is all ‘peaches and cream’, let me assure you that there are times when all that you want to do is go home!

Anyway, we pack up and start our 100 mile drive north to Yellowstone National Park. As we get to the northern part of Grand Teton NP, the gray clouds disappear and we get to see the Teton Mountain Range one last time.

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Our arrival at Yellowstone is classic: waiting in a line of traffic to get through the entrance. They have one entrance booth open and a long line of cars waiting to get through the gate. Just as we get to the front they open a second gate and we finally officially arrive.

Our stop at Yellowstone is supposed to be one of the highlights of our trip. We plan to spend at least a week here, but are already having second thoughts. We had expected cool pleasant temperatures to do lots of hiking. I guess we should have did a little more research about the weather at Yellowstone. Many of the trails are still closed due to snow, and the weather over the next few days is supposed to be extremely cold (high temp tomorrow is forecasted to be 31 degrees F).

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We set up camp at the Fishing Bridge RV park. It is not a very scenic campground, but it has electric and considering the cold weather we are glad to have the electric. After setting up we drive down to the Fishing Bridge Visitor Center to look at the exhibits and ask a few questions.

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There is no cell phone coverage in this area, but the ranger tells us to drive down the road 5 miles and we’ll have coverage; so that is what we do. The cold wind keeps us from wanting to do anything outside.

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The drive is along the lake and a pretty drive. We make our phonecall, check our email, and then decide to drive a little further. We’re glad that we do because we see our first ‘bear jam’—traffic stopping due to a bear. It’s a large grizzly on the bank beside the road.

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We drive a few more miles to look at the scenery and the snow. As we drive back to the campground it begins to snow. We’ve heard predictions of 1 to 3 to 9 inches of snow tonight.

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We have dinner and the snow stops soon after dinner, so we clean up and then head over to the ranger program that is indoors. The ranger is a good speaker and the slides are beautiful, but it is just a reminder of the many things we’re NOT going to see because we’re here in June and the weather is cold and snowy. Our only solace is that the ranger said this is her third year here and the last two years she has been in shorts in June. Even she didn’t bring long underwear (and she is staying in an unheated cabin).

Posted by jengelman 11:41 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Jenny Lake and Inspiration Point Hike

Monday, June 9, 2008

rain 11 °C

We got back to the trailer too late yesterday to run our generator and charge our battery, so our heater stopped working sometime before 4am; our trailer is really, really cold this morning (43 degrees F) so I stay in the warm bed til 8am when we can turn our generator on and start warming up the trailer (the campground does not allow generators to be used between 8pm and 8am due to the noise).

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The skies are blue this morning and we can actually get a good view of the Tetons. Unfortunately we take our time getting ready and do not leave for our hike til Noon.

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By the time we arrive at Jenny Lake to start our hike, it’s starting to drizzle and the mountains are covered with clouds. We take our hike around the lake and up to Inspiration Point anyway.

Marmot seen on the hike:
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Fiddlehead ferns along the trail:
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Hidden Waterfall along trail:
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It drizzles off and on, but it could be worse. The waterfalls are beautiful near Inspiration Point and the view of the lake is nice.

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We had planned to hike back to the trailhead, but the rain gets worse so we decide to take the boat back to the other side of the lake.

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We stop to see the mother moose and her calf near the Moose Visitor Center one last time, before returning the campground for dinner.

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No ranger program tonight – it’s raining. We spend the night reading and playing cards.

Posted by jengelman 11:39 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Grand Teton National Park: Taggart Lake Trail Hike

Sunday, June 8, 2008

overcast 11 °C

Cold overcast morning, but we are determined to go on a hike. It flurries off and on today, but no heavy snow.

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Lots of buffalo and pronghorn near our campground again this morning:
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We hike the Taggart Lake trail (4mile loop). Before the hike we watch the most photographed moose in the park: a mother and baby moose near the trailhead, that apparently hang out there all the time. Our hike starts great when we see another moose on trail, only a few feet off the trail, and watch him eat for awhile.

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We rest on a rock by lake for awhile to enjoy scenery and solitude,

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but then eventually we get cold. and hike back. We have winter coats, hats and gloves, but the damp cold weather is still too much for us.

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We drive the Jenny Lake scenic road but then decide to drive into Jackson--it's simply too cold to do anything outside. We stop at the visitors center to see the elk and wildlife movies and then have dinner at Bubbas Barbeque (unfortunately the spare ribs are horribly tough to chew). We then get groceries, see lots of moose and buffalo on the way back to campground,

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and finish the day by attending the evening ranger program on endangered species success stories (eagle, grizzly, grey wolf), buffalo. The buffalo apparently were in the campground this afternoon and in the middle of the evening program, a buffalo visits the edge of the amphitheatre. No electric in this campground, so we end the day by playing cards in the 5ver using one light (we need a full battery to keep the heater going through the night).

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Posted by jengelman 09:08 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (4)

Snowy Day at Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Saturday, June 7, 2008

snow 10 °C

Wake up to a very cold morning. The good news weather-wise is no rain today. The bad news is that we get snow instead! Unbelievable...we get snow showers off and on all day today. I expected cool and maybe even cold weather in this part of the country but I never expected heavy snow with afternoon temps in the 30s!

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It is too cold and snowy for hikes today so we take our time getting ready in our warm trailer til lunchtime. Then after lunch Joe and I walk down to the river. Very nice scenery, especially all the little wildflowers in the sage scrub.

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We spend the rest of the driving around the park, with our first stop being a historical stop with an old ferry and church.

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We continue our drive and stop at various places in the park. The snow gets really heavy at times, but at time the sun shines through and we enjoy some outdoor time. Unfortunately we are in the truck for most of the day staying warm. We are lucky when we stop to look at a beaver dam--some sunshine and we spot a large beaver by the creek.

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As we walk back to get into the truck, a group of buffalo run across the field. I'm not sure why they are running, but it's fun to watch.

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We get back to the trailer around 7pm, have dinner and spend the rest of the evening in the warm trailer playing games and reading. They are calling for snow overnight, but then sunshine during the day; so we'll see what tomorrow brings.

Posted by jengelman 11:23 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Grand Teton National Park, Day 1

Friday, June 6, 2008

semi-overcast 10 °C

We leave Crater of the Moon Nat’l Monument for our 225 mile drive to Grand Teton National Park. On the way we pass by Atomic City and see a sign for "The World's First Breeder Reactor" EBR-1.

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They have a free visitor center and Jere decides that he wants to see this. So we stop in near Atomic City, Idaho and tour the facility.

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Apparently the world's first breeder nuclear reactor to produce usable electrical energy was here in Idaho. When our 'tour guide' asks us where we were from, Jere tells him Three Mile Island. He gets excited by that comment (although we explained that we were not from the nuclear plant just the geographic area around 3MI). He shows us the 'case' that was used to transport the damaged portion of 3MI to this nuclear facility in the middle of Idaho where it is being stored for 'safe keeping'.

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We then drive to Jackson

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(I erroneously thought the city's name is Jackson Hole, but it's simply Jackson) and stop at the visitor center, where they recommend we stop at the Gros Ventre campground in Grand Teton National Park. The campground is nice and has several sites that will fit our large RV. We pick out a campsite and then see two buffalo hanging out about 25 feet away!

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We set up and then take a drive around antelope valley and see lots of buffalo.

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Then we stop at the new visitor center near Moose for their movie. It's too cold to do much outside so we head back to Jackson for propane. As we're filling up with propane we see a group of people watching something in the field and find out there's a family of red foxes entertaining the spectators, so we head over and are entertained also. There are 4 little foxes and a mom. Very cute.

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Then a stop at Dairy Queen for ice cream before our drive back to the campground. On the way back we see moose and pronghorn.

We finish up the day at a very very cold evening ranger program, "Man vs Wild".

Posted by jengelman 11:05 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

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