we had so much fun in the tetons last labor day weekend that we decided to extend our weekend and add yellowstone on to it.
we left the house on thursday afternoon and drove up to rexburg where we made our first stop. we went to the DI there and bought a few items and then made our way up to island park. the weather was great all the way to island park. then when we pulled off to camp, it started raining as soon as we started putting up the tent. needless to say, it was a long and wet night.
luckily, it stopped raining and we weren't completely soaked. we packed things up early that morning and made our way into yellowstone.
i had b take this picture because, as you can see, there is no backup of cars waiting to enter the park. we drove straight up to the entrance and got it. one of the main benefits of going up there over labor day weekend is this--it's not crowded!
we stopped and looked at the first river we came to. i like these pics as it shows b and w in their element: enjoying a clear, cool river.
we got to bridge bay and set up our tent and got out our wet things so they could dry out. the sun was so helpful in making that happen. we also saw a bison about 20 feet away in the campground.
we headed over to the yellowstone river by fishing bridge. the water was clear and beautiful, but sadly we only saw one cutt.
later on friday, we attended a ranger program alongside the bridge here. the ranger talked all about trout and fishing at yellowstone. it was a good one.
b found an arrowhead. we didn't keep it, of course, but we did get a few pictures. a fine speciman with a cool color.
a camp robber bird! a camp robber bird! we made smores friday night and went back to fishing bridge to listen to an evening ranger program. that one was on large animals of the park.
saturday morning we got up early to hike down to the grand canyon of the yellowstone to go fishing. it's a 5 mile hike down with lots of great views of the canyon and river.
notice the green coloring in the water. again, the river is just amazing--it has a power like no other river i've been near. as strong as it is, it almost hypnotizes you into thinking you should go in. it's so clear and the color is so nice. if only you could go in and not feel like you'd die. but, then again, that's part of the sublime experience.
b ended up catching about 25, i got about 18, w got about 15, and s got a few. sadly, it started raining on us after about 2 hours of being down there. i could see the side of the canyon running off into the river. with that and the force of the rain we decided to pack up and head out. it took us about 2.5 hours to climb the 5 miles out of the canyon, which is fast. we were hauling it out of there. we had our ponchos and coats, but we were wet and it was cold. the rain only let up to allow for some sleet. i was worried it might start fully snowing (there had been a slight chance of snow that evening). that only lit more of a fire under us. the trail was a lot of the time simply a big muddy puddle.
thankfully, we finally made it out and got changed. another benefit to not having a lot of people around was that we could easily change at the car. it was tough though--our hands were so cold. it was hard to hold on to things. poor b was cold for hours after we finished the hike.
as unfortunate as it was to deal with the elements, the river was beautiful and the fishing was great.
it did finally let up on saturday evening. we saw a trumpeter swan in a river. we also saw an osprey holding a trout in it's talons. the osprey flew over the river alongside us for a few minutes. it was such a cool sighting.
sadly, it started raining again on saturday night so we slept in our car. it wasn't a totally awful night's sleep, but it was a very long night's sleep. we got up on sunday morning, packed up our wet stuff (in the rain) and headed out of yellowstone. we got into the tetons and drove through them to get to jackson. we went to church in jackson. when we entered the chapel it was still raining, but when we got out the sun was out--and boy did that feel good!
we immediately went back into the park and went on a hike. we hiked to taggart lake. this picture shows me holding a thimble berry and pointing to june berries.
this is a great series of photos. we found a nice felled tree, and b decided to do gymnastics for us.
we saw a deer on the hike. it was going number two, which was interesting since i don't think i've ever actually seen a deer do that.
we liked to watch the chipmunks and squirrels during the trip. we made a deal with s that if she caught one (or even touched one), we'd take the family out to eat at the creamery. well, surprise surprise: s touched one on monday!
we made it over to jackson lake and walked along the shore. jackson lake is pretty different than yellowstone lake--no obsidian or arrowheads for us. but it was fun to see the lake.
also, notice my shirt. this was a shirt that b got back when he was 17 and came to yellowstone with his family. this shirt has stayed safely tucked away in our closet for many years. but it only makes sense that we should get it out when we go to yellowstone. this shirt will now be a staple in our packing list for our yellowstone/tetons adventures.
this shot was taken by putting the camera up against b's binoculars. can you see the two trumpeter swans?
sunday night we went to a really fun ranger program. it was inside, which was nice (although it wasn't raining, it was a bit chilly). this ranger talked about several animals in the park and had interesting anecdotal stories to tell about many of them. sunday night we opted to sleep in the car again since (1) it seemed like it could start raining again, (2) our tent wasn't set up, and (3) we knew we'd be getting up early on monday morning. so it was another long night in the car, but we did ok.
monday morning we got up early. we wanted to see animals--particularly we wanted to see a moose. so we headed down to gros ventre. on our way there, we saw a group of 3 of bull elk with huge antlers (see above). it was a great sight.
then, near the lake, i also saw a red fox cross the road. w and s caught a glimpse of it. we hopped out of the car to try to see it again, but it was gone. but what a sight! i love foxes.
thinking of animals we saw, reminded me that we saw two coyotes in yellowstone, which we all got excited about. i haven't seen many coyotes before--so they're always a fun animal to see.
we decided to hike along jenny lake to hidden falls. before we started the hike, we saw a bunch of cedar waxwings. b got a good picture of one. you can tell just by the profile it's a waxwing.
the hike along jenny lake was pretty. the clouds completely cleared off, and we could see the mountains in their full glory.
perhaps the coolest mushroom i've ever seen. (there were so many mushrooms in the parks. i didn't remember that they had so many.)
we picked quite a few berries along the way. there were raspberries, thimble berries, and june berries. what fun!
here is a series of pictures of a wave we saw in the lake. the wave is the darker line in the water. as you'll see, it came slowly, slowly closer to shore until it crashed against the rocks.
on our way back from the tetons, we drove along the snake river (which b and i agreed would be fun to spend some time by). we saw people tubing, which looked fun. and the mountains through there are gorgeous.
we stopped in afton to eat a burger (i got tots with mine) at a local eatery. and then stopped at a second-hand store there. the shop was like a place out of a dream. it was in an old building, and it had room after room of stuff--clothes, knick-knacks, shoes, bobbles, cooking supplies, furniture, tools, etc, etc. it seemed to never end. and not only that: it also was room after room of stuff piled on the floors. i was literally walking on top of clothes to look through the clothing racks. needless to say, it was a lot of fun to peruse. we ended up finding a pioneer dress for s (that will double at a halloween costume) and a vintage button-up shirt for me.
after afton, we made it to montpelier, id. montpelier is where the big old ephraim statue is. we stopped again to get some pictures, but to our surprise the statue is different than it was last year. it's been re-colored so it's darker, and it has the bear trap and chains on it now. they also took down the sign they had up last year. my hunch is they updated it because last year was the 100th anniversary of his death. although i'm not sure the improved it with the update, it's still really fun.
when we got to bear lake, we stopped to get a raspberry shake. the shakes were good (and as b said, they were even better than he remembered). we then drove home through logan canyon, which is lovely--no owl this time, but beautiful scenery nonetheless. we made it home around 9'ish, and got the kiddos into bed as soon as we could.
it was a great weekend. we saw and did lots of fun things. and we're talking about what we'll do next year when we go to yellowstone and the tetons!