When driving up the 89 highway, Grand Teton seems to slowly merge into Yellowstone National Park. I did not know what to expect from Yellowstone besides Old Faithful (which is not that faithful anymore due to too much garbage clogging the underground vents according to a parks representative we talked to).
Yellowstone was beautiful, and crowded…….really, really crowded. However, I don’t want to discourage people from going just because many people like us were enjoying its beauty. There is actually a great energy you get from seeing a small Japanese boy run at full speed from a car to make sure he would not miss the spouting geyser (with dad franitically trying to keep up behind him), listening to the boy behind you ask his Dad “why is this so cool again?” after Old Faithful blew, or seeing young girls squeal with delight at a steaming pit of boiling water. Every time I cursed the line of cars down the highway waiting to get a parking spot, I never regretted that we waited to see something. Yellowstone is stunning and a place worth visiting, you go from bubbling sulfurous lakes, to crystal clear streams that wound along the curvy highway, to waterfalls tumbling down steep granite rocks.
Overall, it was not a very “organic” experience with nature, but I think that is what makes travel so special, you have to find your own bit of connection to nature by hiking a really hard trail or driving down a dirt road to a hidden lake, and when you find those gems, they seem so much more special and intense, at least they do to me….
But back to Yellowstone, as we got into the park, we found out that most of the camping was full (and we showed up early), and by the time we actually made it to the open sites, they were also full, so we decided to see all we could in one day and then move on, which means I am sure we missed a lot of the more private and beautiful spots, but it is close enough to home that we will definitely go back one day…..in September, after school starts =).
There was also supposed to be a ton of animals in Yellowstone, but it was really hot when we were there, I think all the animals were chilling in the shaded forests because we did not see ANY.
On a somewhat funny side note, we found a kind of sad campground outside of Yellowstone (it was really late and we were exhausted). It was on a river (which was nice), but had gail force winds (which was not so nice), they also advertised a hot springs, but when we saw it it was just for your feet. Literally, it was a teeny pool that warned you that NOTHING should go in the water but your feet….Well, at least my feet had a relaxing end to the day. Sam and I cracked each other up as we soaked our feet, it was all a bit weird and strangely awesome. I wish I took a picture of the foot hot springs, it was really quirky. I just kept thinking of the guy who ran the place thinking “well the spring is really small and maybe somewhat toxic, sounds like a perfect place for tourists to stick their feet after a day at Yellowstone, let’s market the crap out of this….”
Below are a few of my favorite pictures of our brief day in Yellowstone.