So, who’s still interested in the vacation we took last summer?
Okay, so here’s what I figure.
1. There’s another summer coming up and people are trying to plan their vacations and might need some pretty pictures for inspiration.
2. That son of a bitch Trump has decided to start taking away our national parks and monuments because he’s the worst person in the world.
3. I still want to show off our trip.
And that’s why, here we go again…
Grand Teton National Park was up next. After the heat of the Utah parks, the cooler temperatures were welcome. Green! Snow capped mountains! Bears! (Wait, what?)
We swapped the deathly heat for grizzly bears. And black bears. And bear attack warnings and instructions on what to do if one charges at you and bear spray. As one way to avoid an attack is to make sure you don’t sneak up on a bear, we were told to make noise so as not so surprise a Mama bear and her cubs. That was E’s job, as he’s the chatterbox of our bunch. He talked the whole hike.
Our hike brought us to a beautiful mountain lake where I would have happily spent hours relaxing with a bottle of bear spray but we still had more hiking to do.
That evening, as we were headed back to our hotel room, we stumbled on an animal jam, a traffic backup caused when one of the bigger animals can be sighted along the road. In this case it was a grizzly and her two young cubs. We pulled over to the side, pointed our eyes in the direction everyone else’s very long camera lenses were trained and squinted at the edge of the forest. There they were! And at a good enough distance that the spray could stay in its holster. Binoculars were necessary to get a good view (my camera couldn’t even do the job) but we got to see them. Check!
The next morning we had breakfast with the most spectacular view you could ask for, then headed north just a bit and drove into our next national park, Yellowstone.
Yellowstone, the original national park, has the weirdest natural features I’ve ever seen. I mean really, truly weird. Everyone knows about Old Faithful, the famous geyser, but that’s just the beginning. The park is packed with geysers, bubbling lakes, escaping steam, acidic streams, petrified forests, and the largest lake within the park is settled inside the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano in North America. At any moment, the entire park could blow into the air, which signs warn you about, so don’t say no one told you.
Other things that might kill you, even if you escape an explosion that blows apart northern Montana include wolves, bears, herds of bison, forest fires, earthquakes (reported hourly), boiling to death in any of the hot springs, or dissolving in an acidic pool. Yeah, they’ve all happened. We stayed on the paths. Close to the bear spray.
You could easily spend a month in Yellowstone and never run out of paths to hike, colorful pools to marvel at, bizarre burping springs to wonder about, or elk to stumble on. It’s huge and wonderful and I hope we get to return.
Yellowstone was as far north as we would make it on this trip out west. So we turned our rental car south and headed back toward Utah. As there were still so many parks to see….