Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 6-Road Trip to Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park

Well, it's been a very stressful week. My elderly grandmother had to have brain surgery this week. I'm happy to say she is recovering well. Also, we got about 5 in of snow. We were without power for a little while and our internet just came back this morning. So, now that I am free of worry and have electricity and the internet, I can get back to posting.

On June 19, we woke up pretty slowly in the morning. We really hadn't slept well the night before due to getting cold in the night. It may be June, but we were in Wyoming at elevation, so the temperature was dropping to the 30s at night.

We decided to do two hikes accessible right at Colter Bay, Heron Pond and Swan Lake. First, I was able to grab this incredible shot of the Teton mountain range.

The first one we came upon was Heron pond. It's surface was covered with lily pads.

The white bird in the picture below is a pelican. It surprised hubby and I to see it but apparently they frequent the area. Fun fact: Pelicans are the heaviest North American Bird. They can weigh between 9-19 pounds.

The brown blog in the center of the picture below is a freshwater snail.

The bird in this picture is a scrub jay. I know it is hard to gauge, but it was actually a large bird.

As we continued our walk, we decided to take another loop before heading to Swan Lake. We ended up going through an open sagebrush area.

As we got closer to Swan Lake, the vegetation started to change back to being more grassy. I took a picture of this pretty little flower.

Hubby at Swan Lake.

And me.

One thing that we really loved about this lake is that we saw two Sandhill cranes. They were all the way on the other side of the lake and we could only see them with our binoculars, so unfortunately, I don't have a picture of them. They were amazing.

A view of what was behind us while we were looking at the lake.

A ground squirrel.

Towards the end of the hike, the sky really darkened up. Thankfully, we were pretty close to our car when the rain started to come down. We headed back to camp to rest. Once there was a break in the rain, we decided to go take a shower and do our laundry. The shower cost $3.75 a person, but we were more than happy to pay it. It was nice and warm, and you could take as long as you wanted to. We wanted to do laundry after our shower, but what seemed like a billion kids descended upon the laundromat. It was 120 kids plus their chaperones from West Catholic High School. Apparently, they went for a hike a little later than us and got soaked, and now needed to wash all their clothes and dry them.

Now, this is when I sound like an old lady, but boy were they rude and goofy. Also, they literally took every single machine in the laundromat. The chaperones could have been respectful and made them do laundry together or at least left some for other patrons. Anyway, we had to find something to fill our time because we really needed to do laundry that day. We first went to the gift store. Kelly and I both picked out a t-shirt that we wanted. I also bought a couple of gifts to thank Katie and Faye (former lab mates) for helping take care of our kitties and fish. We also bought a couple of fleeced sleeping bags in hopes they would help keep us warmer that night.

After shopping, we checked to see if the kids were thinning out of the laundry room, they weren't. We decided to go have a beer at the restaurant at Colter Bay. Most of the restaurants in the parks require reservations. But the bar doesn't. We sat at the bar and had an organic beer. We each also got a bowl of chili since the ability to cook on our camp stove was going to be nil with the rain. The beer and chili filled our bellies and made us somewhat happy before we had to go battle dim-witted teenagers to do our laundry.

Luckily, we were able to get a washing machine. This was only after asking a kid who was sitting on top of the empty washing machine to please move so we could use it. The washing machine was small though, and we had to do two loads. We finally got all our laundry done and headed back to camp. Unfortunately, it started to rain and there wasn't much we could do except get into the tent. While in the tent, I devised a new sleeping plan. Our new fleece sleeping bags could zip together, giving us a chance to utilize body heat to stay warm. So, I unzipped my sleeping bag to use as a base for our bedding. Next, I laid down the new two-person fleece bag. Last, I unzipped Kelly's sleeping bag to put on top. It worked great and we stayed warm, but it rained all night.

Next time, we head to Yellowstone.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 5-Road Trip to Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park

Yay, I finally get to write about the things we actually did in the park. Alright, so we woke up on the 19th and decided to drive the loop for the Tetons. The first place we stopped was the Willow Flats Overlook. We saw some elk in the distance with the help or our binoculars.

Here is the hubby.

And here is me.

As we continued to drive along the route, we came up to Signal Mountain Road. You could drive up Signal Mountain to get a great view of the park.

A view of the valley.

The mountains in view.

Geological Survey Marker

Our view as we continued our drive.

We decided to do the 7.1 mile hike around Jenny Lake. 

The start of the hike. Loved all the clear streams and rivers.

Shortly after we started the trail, a young moose was on the trail ahead of us. We were very careful since young animals often means a protective momma might be nearby, and protective mommas are dangerous.

He finally headed off the trail to get himself a snack.

One of the first peaks of the lake we were walking around.

If you look hard, you will see a bird in here. We think it was a red headed tanager. Bright red head with a yellow body. It was awesome!!

A picture up one of the mountain sides.

More views of the lake. 

 The main attraction on this hike was the Hidden Falls. It was super crowded. Just so you know, if you aren't the hiking type, there is a shuttle boat you can take from one side of the lake to the other, so you can hike up to the falls. The operator does charge a fee.

A yellow-bellied marmot. You'll get to see more of these later when we get to Yellowstone.

The hubby :)

And me.

Another view up the side of the mountain.

A view of the lake.

A mountain stream that was flowing into the lake.

A little bird on the log. Not sure what it was.

I took lots of pictures of flowers for my dear friend Dr. Kelsey Glennon, who studies flowers.

On the other side of the lake now. It was really cool to think were were walking at the base of some of the mountains. There is even a trail from this hike that goes into the back country.

Hubby and I happy we completed the hike.

 We continued to drive the loop and only made one last stop because we were pretty tired after that hike.

The Snake River

When we got back to Colter Bay, we stopped at the general store to pick up some firewood and Kelly and I shared a black cherry vanilla ice cream. I was really excited because the plastic spoon was made of biodegradable plant materials. I wish more plastic was made like that. We took a nap because we were pooped after that hike. We cooked some dinner, made a fire, and had s'mores for dessert.

Next up, another wonderful hike in the Tetons and I complain about teenagers!!