Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons 2005


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Sunday, September 4, 2005: Our day started out with a 3:00 AM alarm, followed by a 6:00 AM Ambassadair flight to Idaho. Four hours later, we arrived in Idaho Falls at 8:00 AM local time to find a beautiful sunny day.
Our tour group was loaded onto three buses and we set out for a long day of sightseeing, starting with the beautiful namesake falls in Idaho Falls.
Jill had the back row of the bus all to herself, which suited her just fine.
The scenery on the drive to Wyoming was beautiful. We saw an eagle's nest and an osprey along the way.
We stopped in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for a short visit. Jill and Tom posed in front of one of the four antler arches found at each corner of the main square in town.
Here's a lovely closeup of the antlers. Aren't they cool?
Jackson Hole has an Old West feel to it, except for the upscale prices.
Although we saw live bison later in the day, this is the closest we got to one.
From Jackson Hole, we passed Sleeping Indian Mountain on our right as we traveled the short distance to the Grand Teton mountain range.
There they are -- the Grand Tetons. This is Debbie's favorite mountain range in the world. The peaks are beautiful from every angle, and change as you head further north.
It is impossible to do these mountains justice, but we tried anyway.
We took a short photo break halfway along the range.
It was here that our guide took out a telescope and found climbers on the peak. We all took a look through the scope and confirmed that there were people up there, even though they would be no larger than a pixel in this photo.
Next, we had a picnic lunch at Jenny Lake. The tour guides passed out delicious sack lunches to everyone, and we picnicked wherever we could find a rock or step or log to sit on.
What a view we had! The lake is gorgeous with the mighty Tetons behind it.
When Debbie was a girl, her family ended a four-day backpacking trip through the Tetons by taking a boat back across Jenny Lake, similar to the boats shown here ferrying hikers back and forth from the trailheads.
We continued north through Wyoming, keeping an eye on the mountains at all times.
Moose! Moose! Fortunately for us, our guide was keeping an eye out for moose instead of watching the mountains.
After the moose excitement, we went back to watching the mountains as they slowly slipped from view.
As we headed into the forest outside of Yellowstone, we were quite taken with the tall, narrow, cylindrical evergreens we saw. We think they may be very narrow Douglas firs. If you know for certain, please Contact Us.
The Yellowstone fires of 1988 cleared thousands of acres of mature trees. These forests are slowly regenerating.
Here's a little more pretty scenery as we approached Yellowstone.
We arrived at Old Faithful with enough time before the next eruption to get a good vantage point on the back side of the geyser, opposite the main viewing area that features benches.
Right on schedule, Old Faithful erupted. It was an incredible sight, and we took lots of photos in the four minutes that it was erupting.
This one, for example.
A few minutes later, the eruption started to taper off a bit.
Afterward, Jill reached down from the boardwalk to feel the temperature of the water that flowed from the Old Faithful eruption.
Next, we followed the trails behind Old Faithful. There are so many pools and geysers along the trails that we could have spent hours, but we had less than an hour to enjoy it all. This is Blue Star Spring.
This is Plume Geyser.
This is Chinese Spring.
Here is Sulphide Spring.
This may be Heart Geyser, but we're not certain.
Here are some more geysers with Old Faithful percolating in the distance.
Here is Beehive Geyser.
This is Depression Geyser.
This is Arrowhead Spring.
This is the Lion Geyser group.
This is Goggles Spring.
This is the aptly named Ear Spring.
This is Aurum Geyser.
This is Doublet Pool. Have you enjoyed this little tour? Take a minute to visit our Iceland pages and New Zealand pages to see the geysers we saw in those countries. We were fortunate enough to visit the three largest geothermal locations on the planet over the course of nine months.
After our little tour, we headed back to the main lodge to load up on snacks and souvenirs, then we were back on the road again. We passed many places with plumes of steam coming out of the ground.
It would have been nice to stop at all of the interesting sites along the way, but there's only one way to see two National Parks and three states in a single day, and that's to keep moving!
Keep moving, that is, until we hit a buffalo jam. A large field was filled with bison, and cars were stopped in the road to watch them.
Some of them chased each other while others rolled in the powdery white dirt.
You can see some dirt on the flanks of these bison.
After our successful bison sighting, we slowed down to see an elk in the forest to our left. This poor elk was surrounded by stupid people on all sides who weren't really thinking through the elk-to-human size ratio.
It's a lousy shot, but you can see the elk in this photo if you really try. Note the man less than 20 feet away trying to corner the elk. Darwinism at work, ladies and gentlemen.
We got a few more glimpses of elk along the river as we continued toward Montana.
We left Yellowstone through the West Entrance at the Montana border. During our two hour drive back to Idaho Falls, we noticed hazy smoke overhead, which seemed to be coming from the south.
We got to the airport at 8:00 PM Idaho time, where our majestic Ambassadair jet patiently awaited us.
As we took off, we could see the source of the black smoke we had seen earlier -- a forest fire just south of the airport. This is a lousy photo, but you get the idea.
A four hour flight and a half hour drive later, we finally made it home at 1:30 AM Indy time. Exhausted but well traveled, we managed to keep our eyes open for one last photo.

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