Friday, August 14, 2009

August 13: Yellowstone Park

Cal, from Callowishus Tours, picked us up at the hotel at 7:15 AM. We proceeded to a different hotel in town to pick up another family, Steve, Lisa, Jenny and Libby. All the way to Yelllowstone Park, Cal gave us a running commentary on the history and geology of the area. First we learned about Grand Teton Park, which was endowed by John D. Rockefeller II in the 20s. He was not real popular with the way he did it, but he bought up 35,000 acres and donated it to the government for a park (and a big tax deduction no doubt). Now the park is 310,000 acres. We stopped along the roadside to look at a beautiful view of Mount Moran, also reflected in the very calm water of Jackson Lake.

Our first stop within Yellowstone Park was at Old Faithful, which, true to legend, erupted on time. We witnessed the eruption and then set off on a path around the geyser field. Unbelievable! Cal told us how the first explorers to encounter this area were not believed when they reported what they saw! We hiked up to Observation Point and looked down on too many geysers to count... got back from the hike in time to see Old Faithful spout off again and then were back in the van. Our next stop was to see the "paint pots", another formation of hot water boiling up out of the ground.

We made a stop at the lower falls of the Yellowstone River, a 308' waterfall for a photo opportunity, and continued on to the Upper falls. We stopped for really good ice cream and at Yellowstone Lake Inn, the oldest hotel in the park (built 1899). Then it was home to Jackson, Cal entertaining us all the way with stories of his years working in Yellowstone and other local color. I was so entertained that I purchased all three of his novels, all taking place in the Jackson Hole and Yellowstone Park area.

After we were home and showered we walked across the street for Bubba's famous Barbecue and called it a night. We are well pleased with how we reacted on the hike and spending the entire day at a higher altitude--we were at 8,500 feet, and hiked uphill. None of us collapsed, or threw up, or got a blinding headache. Life is good!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yellowstone is unbelievable, isn't it? I miss the mountains.