Sunday, June 17, 2007

Yellowstone/Grand Tetons/Jackson Hole

We headed Northwest from SD, I wanted to make sure I could check North Dakota off my list of places. I'm sure I'll head back there someday, but I don't know when, so I wanted to hit the state while it was close at hand. From ND we went through Montana. It was really interesting to see how UNPOPULATED so many of the places are in the middle of the country after living in the suburbs of a big city birthing more suburbs all the time! It was a long drive (14 hours before all the stops). We stayed in West Yellowstone at a cute little hotel complete with wooden banisters, grand stair cases and animal heads on the wall (which seemed to be the theme from SD through NM). The weather report was predicting up to 6 inches of snow for the first full day, and the temperatures were dropping. Realistically, I knew this wasn't unusual for June, but I'd still gambled and mainly packed for warm weather activities, so it was a chilly couple of days. We didn't get the 6 inches of snow, though we did get some snow flurries, and lots....and lots....of rain. To summarize some pretty spectacular National Park activities-we saw all the typical things (Old Faithful and all her steamy friends, mud buddies and little spit fire cousins) and we also encountered a TON of animals-the babies were out in full force given the season. We personally saw 5 bears, a couple ton of buffalo (including an hour long traffic jam and some close encounters) and their cute little babies, a moose and her baby 'cow', elk, a bald eagle and her nest, a litter of coyote puppies, a fox, and a lot of deer and their babies (on the roadsides). The animals were my favorite part. The first two days were really rainy and cold, but by the third day as we headed through the Grand Tetons to Jackson Hole things cleared up for the morning, though there was a pretty steady downpour in the afternoon as we shopped around Jackson Hole. The pictures I got weren't too fabulous, but the memories are, and the lack of great shots gives me a reason to head back soon!