Tuesday, October 2, 2007

It's been quite a long time...

...since I've made a post, but I've got good reason. The week after my last post, nothing happened. Seriously it was pretty boring the whole week without any good pictures to post up. The week after that was a different story.

I was paid a visit by the wonderful and lovely Allison Gibbs who flew out to visit me for a week in the park and experience Yellowstone for the first time. Here's what we did:

Day 1 - September 23rd

Technically this was Allison's second day in the park, but really she got in at night and it was rainy. The only animal we saw on her first night was a bull elk. That's it.

Anyways, so we started off our fun-filled week by stopping at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and viewed the Upper and Lower Falls. Then we traveled farther north and stopped at Tower Fall. Since I already have pictures up, I won't post new ones of the same thing.

We kept going north and into the Lamar Valley where we setup camp for the night right along the bank of Slough Creek.

Going through the valley we saw a family of three pronghorns.

Almost to Cooke City we came across a mountain (the name escapes me) but because it was raining at the time, the entire mountainside had about 8 waterfalls on it. It was really cool. Also we used my spotting scope to see some mountain goats that were just hanging out on the mountain. Neat stuff.

We ate in Cooke City that night and on the way back to camp we saw some cars pulled over and people looking through their scopes, so we got out to see what was up. Turns out it was a big male grizzly who was traversing a ridge just north of the road. We watched him for about 10 minutes before he started to get too close for comfort so we all left.

Day 2 - September 24th

We woke from our tent, in which we stayed warm even on a very cold and wet night, and it was lightly snowing. Later on we saw just how much it had snowed in the park.

We drove to Gardiner, MT where we stocked up on groceries for the week and stopped at the boiling river on our way back in. The water was like a hot tub, but the cold air and half mile hike made us forgo the swimming.

After checking out the Mammoth Terraces we walked a bull elk and his harem of ladies who were walking right among the buildings of Mammoth. The bull did not pay attention to the road signs. We game him a ticket.

Later we visited the Norris Geyser Basin and saw the cool features there. Steamboat Geyser, the tallest geyser in the world at 380 ft, was throwing water about 30 feet into the air. It only does the big bursts about once every 2 to 5 years!

That night we stayed in the backcountry near the Norris Meadows. At night we could hear the coyotes howling and the elk bugling. This was the view from camp.

Day 3 - September 25th

We got out of bed and found that the inside of the rainfly on our tent was covered in ice. Yeah, it was a cold night.

Right next to our camp was the world's smallest waterfall. We named it Gurgle Falls, and it stood at a mighty 9 inches!!

On the way back we had to traverse a "log bridge" which was really just two trees spanning the Gibbon River. Fortunately Allison's favorite part of gymnastics was the balance beam. As for me, well I'm just naturally graceful.

After viewing some geyser basins just north of Old Faithful, we were at the Midway Geyser Basin and about to get back in the car when I couldn't find my keys.

Oh there they are. Inside the locked car. Son of a bitch!!!! An hour and a half of waiting and $60 dollars later a locksmith let us in.

After that fun time, we walked around the Lower Geyser Basin and saw a ton of the geysers go off.

There was Rocket Geyser.

Riverside Geyser, which shoots at an angle over the Firehole River. Do you see the rainbow?

Grotto Geyser.

And of course, Old Faithful.

The day ended with the moon rising as the sun was setting while we were at the West Thumb Geyser Basin.

Day 4 - September 26th

This day was Allison's last day in Yellowstone (but not the last of her trip). We started the day with a hike of Storm Point, my favorite short hike in the park. We got no more than 200 feet on the trail when a coyote came down the trail toward us and was at one time about 20 feet away.

When we actually got to Storm Point we were treated with an amazing site. Here is one view we had.

After going back to my dorm, we packed up and headed for Grand Teton National Park. Along the way we made a stop at Lewis Falls. We climbed down a steep hill to get to the base of the falls and then showed off our wicked mad skills by making our way back to the road by skirting along the rivers edge. We so rule at that.

Just before we left the park we stopped at Moose Falls. We found snow!! In September!!

And so ended Allison's time in Yellowstone and began her time in Grand Teton.

The Tetons are by far the most photographed mountain chain in the world. Professionals make there living off of the pictures they take here. So...if you see a picture you like and would pay money for it, let me know!!

We drove to Signal Mountain campground where we set up camp for the night. Then we drove up the looonng rode to the top of Signal Mountain to watch the sunset. We also got to watch the moon rise!!

The rays you see in this picture are the shadows being cast by the Teton Range behind us.

Day 5 - September 27th

While on Signal Mountain last night, we talked to a couple who had done a short hike near Coulter Bay where they saw trumpeter swans and beaver dams, so in the morning we got up, packed our things, and headed there. We didn't see any swans or beavers, but it was still a very nice hike.

There's a moose in here, I promise.

There's also an otter in the one. Somewhere.

I'm a pirate!

That night after we unloaded at the Sassy Moose Bed and Breakfast, we headed into Jackson and had some Hagen-Dasz with our buffalo friend.

Day 6 - September 28th - Allison's Last Day

On Allison's last day here, we woke up to some good breakfast and political conversation in the Sassy Moose Inn. Then we drove into Jackson to check out the local art galleries, there are a lot, before we headed to what may be one of the most scenic airports in the country.

And so ended Allison's time with me out west in the wildest part of the lower 48. I miss her already.

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