Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day Eleven - Sixteen

Day Eleven (Part Two):

After we did our laundry and took showers in Gardiner, we headed back into the park. We had to get our employee sticker for the car so we can enter the gate easily, so we went to the visitor center in Mammoth. At the visitor center we got our National Park Passport stamped too. (kinda cheesy but I like it) There were also some museum type items and facts to read in the visitor center so we looked around there for awhile.

Mammoth is the location of the old army outpost that was established before the National Park Service. There are several old army buildings and all the lawns are kept manicured as part of the history of the area. One of the funniest sites to see is the Elk wandering around the cut grass, eating it, laying on it, and just hanging out.

I believe on this day (they really started to run together and I am having difficulty remembering what we did on what days!) we went to see Tower Falls. On our way there we saw a black bear! Usually when there is a wildlife spotting there are many cars pulled on the side of the road and people are out pointing and taking pictures.

Near Tower Falls is a hike we were going to attempt that takes us to a Petrified Tree, but it was threatening rain, so we drove to the sight instead. (Of course it didn’t rain!) The tree was pretty cool. There is along strenuous hike that goes to more petrified trees. Josh went on it before, but we didn’t have the time to try it out yet.

Tower Falls was absolutely beautiful! It is tucked back into a small canyon. It’s amazing how mesmerizing falling water can be. We stayed and watched it for a while. There are some other walks around that area too, that we checked out. Such amazingly beautiful land everywhere!

Later this day we went back out to Gardiner for dinner. (Ramen and peanut butter sandwiches get old fast.) We went to a local burger spot and I had a buffalo burger and Josh had an Elk burger. Both were very tasty. We ended the evening just hanging out by the fire playing cards and making s’mores. Life is good!

Day Twelve:

We finally decided to leave our campsite. The plan was to drive down to Grand Teton to camp. It took several hours to actually get to Grand Teton National Park. Yellowstone is such a large place. On our way out we stopped at Moose Falls. When it gets a little warmer we will be able to swim there. There are over three hundred waterfalls in Yellowstone. Each one is beautiful in its own way.

Once we were in Grand Teton National Park, the mountains started getting bigger. The Rocky Mountains extend way up this way and the Grand Teton Range is part of it. They are so amazing! I absolutely love mountains. We drove close to the range and I got a few pictures. Unfortunately it started to get cloudy, so the mountains started getting covered up. The temperature started dropping too.

We arrived at the Visitor Center at the southern part of the park (it doesn’t take as long to drive through it). We got our passport stamped and asked about camping in the area. There is an area called Jenny Lake that is supposed to be the prettiest. And there is some good hiking around there. At the visitor center they had the weather posted. It didn’t look good. Rain and cold and snow. I didn’t want to camp in cold, wet weather so we drove on toward Jackson, WY. (Just south of the park)

Fortunately we found a place that wasn’t out of our price range. We got a room and then went into town to check it out and find some food. The town is neat, but it definitely felt upper class. It’s strange how different towns will have a certain feel to the place. Snake River Brewery was fitting for us so we had a nice dinner. I failed to take any pictures while we were there. It was raining and I was getting so burnt out on travel and I know we’ll head that way again while we are here. After dinner we crashed in our room.

Day Thirteen:

The weather was still wet and cold. I voted for another night in the hotel. The only time we went out was to get food. The rest of the day we stayed inside and were completely lazy. I think the altitude was really getting to both of us and we just needed some rest.

On our way back from breakfast, I did see a hawk swoop down and catch a little bird. That was the most excitement for that day!

Day Fourteen:

Back into Yellowstone we go! The weather was finally going to be dry (still very cold, but dry!). First we drove up to West Thumb and went to see the Geyser Basin in that area. While we were there it snowed on us! The geysers and hot pools were pretty neat. There are so many colors in the pools from the bacteria that grow at different temperatures. This basin was on the edge of Lewis Lake and there were geysers on the shoreline.

After taking a walk in the snowy geyser basin, we headed out to our campsite. We stayed a Norris this time. The sites had a different look. More trees and hills were around this site. And there were buffalo and bears roaming around. That makes things a little more interesting!

It started to get very cold even with the fire going and lots of layers on. We were in for a chilly night. We had to bundle up quite a bit to try to stay warm. I woke up a few times with chills. It was hard sleeping there, but it’s all part of the experience.

Day Fifteen:

As soon as morning hit we packed up and were out of there. We were so frozen through, that we just had to get moving. We went into Gardiner again to do some laundry. This was our last day before check-in at Yellowstone. We didn’t want to arrive with dirty clothes. And we didn’t want to be smelly so we had booked a room at Chico Hot Springs.

After the laundry was done we had time to kill before we could get our room at Chico, so we headed a little farther and went to Livingston, MT. While we were there we found a neat little spot for a picnic, Sacajuwea Park. There was a pleasant walk along the Yellowstone River and a big swingset just for fun.

We still had some time so we found a little museum, the Yellowstone Gateway Museum. Back in the early days of the park people rode the Northern-Pacific Railway to get there. The main train station was in Livingston. From there they could continue to Gardiner or take a stagecoach.

The Museum was really neat. It was full of all kinds of local memorabilia. Our favorite part was all about Yellowstone. There were photos from the first Geological Survey of the area. Old photos are amazing. I liked the old pictures of the people from Livingston.

When we got to Chico we soaked in the hot spring for a little while. It was pretty crowed though because it was holiday. We went to bed somewhat early too. Morning was going to come quickly. We didn’t want to be late for check-in!

Day Sixteen:

We are official! This morning we arrived on time and got all our paper work in order, our pictures taken for our IDs. We also got our uniforms for our specific jobs. Of course they suck and don’t fit well. I hope I can at least wear some normal fitting khakis for one of my uniforms. The other one it got was some nice checkered pants and white shirt with a sweet chef’s hat. I’ll be ok with that one. Josh got a nice looking outfit.

After that we got some lunch in the employee dining room and then hung out for a bit. We had to go to our general orientation that afternoon. We learned some bear safety and some interesting facts about the park.

1 comment:

  1. The Mountains are amazing....seeing them makes me miss Colorado. Glad you're in! Tell us about work. Hope its going great. Love and miss you, Mom