Tom & Charlene's Excellent Adventures travel blog

Tetons through the haze


Abyss Pool

Underwater thermal poo

Old Faithful!

See a black blob near the top of the tree? That's the...

Gibbons Falls

Bison in Lamar Valley

Nursing calf


Destination Dubois, WY. As we left the campground we found a herd of Bison grazing next to the highway. The bigger ones were nearer the road, the females and calves stayed to the back of the field. We traveled another scenic route to visit the Mountain Sheep Interpretive Center. The organization is dedicated to educating about and protecting the Mountain Sheep. We learned everything we ever wanted to know about the Mountain Sheep. Unfortunately the sheep were still high in the mountains hiding from onlookers. In the fall and winter they come down to the valley around Dubois.

Next stop was Jackson Lake Lodge in the Tetons. The Lodge is a great place to view Jackson Lake and the Teton Range. 60 foot windows across the back of the lodge give you a breath taking look at the glorious mountains. The lodge has a western theme with many Indian and western themed names on the dining rooms, paintings and statues with western motifs. Unfortunately the Tetons were suffering from the pollution generated the day before by the thousands of vehicles that traversed the area for the eclipse. A haze was over them the entire day. They still were beautiful but not many good pictures. We traveled the road through the NP with many overlook stops. Unfortunately there was no breeze so conditions did not improve.

Went into Jackson Hole for dinner. Decided on Moe’s BBQ. Lucky enough to snag seats on the balcony and people watch while we ate. We shared a pulled pork combo – it was delish. Heading back to Spread Creek Campground we could not find the drive to the campground. Coming to the Bison herd we knew we had traveled too far. Backtracking we found the entrance – the campground sign had been removed. There were 3 other RVs there. The Porta-Johns had also been removed and rules sign gone. We settled in for a nice quiet night.

Wednesday morning we headed north to Yellowstone. We spent several days in Yellowstone on our return trip from Alaska. We wanted to see Old Faithful again and stop in areas we missed the first trip. We started with the West Thumb Thermal Pools. The Abyss and Black Pool were beautiful shades of turquoise. The ranger told us the temperatures in the pool were rising. The Abyss was emerald green in the spring and the Black Hole really was black. The Abyss temp raised from 166⁰ to 176⁰ in one month. The Black Pool was below 155⁰and had algae growing in it. It now measures 190⁰, it will start boiling at 199⁰. The geologist are taking temperature measurements each day and carefully watching the pools. We saw many thermal pools under water along the shores of Yellowstone Lake. These pools are warm enough to melt the lake ice in the winter.

Moving on to Old Faithful we hit gridlock in the parking lot. Spent 20 minutes dodging pedestrians driving around looking for a parking space. Everyone who was at the eclipse must have stayed over and to visit Old Faithful. The Visitor Center at OF is excellent. Everything you ever wanted to know about geysers, thermal pools and boiling pots. Old Faithful spouted about 8 minutes late but the wait was worth it. We spent another 20 minutes just getting out of the parking lot. Those leaving mixed with those looking for a parking spot – quite a challenge.

Further down the road we were again in a traffic jam. The Grand Prismatic Spring is quite an attraction. The parking lot was full and cars parked along the side of the road for a half mile each way. Luckily we enjoyed the Springs our first trip eventually were able to drive on. Fire Hole Lake Drive was very interesting. It has thermal pools, boiling pots and geysers. The lake had underwater thermal pools. Gibbons Falls was the next stop down the road. Almost as spectacular at the Upper and Lower Canyon Falls. After Gibbons we were again in gridlock. This time we knew that with the crowd there was an animal nearby. A bear cub was high in a tree gorging himself on leaves. With no place to left to park, people were taking pictures as the coasted down the road. When our turn came we were lined up with the tree and the bear started down the tree – Oh Wow! Shot some good video. He came down the tree, grubbed around a little as he came down the short hill, then went back up the hill and climbed up the tree. Unfortunately the cell service is telling me the 3 ½ minute video is too long to post. Hopefully I can edit it or will post it when we arrive home. There was a ranger there trying to keep people back. They were standing in the road and crowding around the RV. The bear basically ignored everyone since he was busy looking for food. If he had been the least bit testy it might have been a different story. I rolled the window up when he came down the tree.

This was a day for wildlife. On the road to Lamar Valley a fox crossed in front of us. Bison in the distance were the first animals we spotted in the valley. As we drove on a bit there were Prong Horns resting on the slope, could only see their heads from the road. As we drove on we were a bit disappointed. Last trip Bison were wandering all over the road. A few more miles and our expectations were met. We saw several hundred Bison scatter in 5-6 different groups along the valley. They are enormous. There were many nursing calves in the herds. We left Yellowstone satisfied with the days’ adventure.

Cooke City is the 1st town of any size when leaving Yellowstone by the northeast gate. We stopped at for at the Soda Butte Lodge, a restaurant/bar/casino/hotel. We enjoyed delicious bean soup and a Reuben sandwich. Inquiring about campgrounds, we were told there are several Forest Service camps along the route but no private camps. We stopped at 4 campground, all were filled. Decided to travel on to Cody. We were warned there were a few switchback – 20+ are NOT a few! After white-knuckling Route 296 we made it to Cody about 11PM. 45 other units were already at the Cody Walmart Campground.

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