June, 2009

Yellowstone and Grand Teton Parks

Friends Dave and Andrea visited us from the sunny south of France, arriving just as the unusually warm, dry May turned into a cold, wet June. Fortunately, we have plenty of warm clothing to lend! We had planned to spend several days with them in Yellowstone and Grand Teton Parks with a side trip to Cody. We had to delay the trip and do things around Bozeman waiting for the weather to improve.

Upon arriving at the entrance to Yellowstone, we were informed half the roads in the park were closed due to snow, including all three roads we might use to get to our hotel. We pressed on, seeing what sights we could access. By late afternoon, much of the snow had melted and we could get to the hotel at the northwestern corner of Yellowstone Lake.

This trip gave Gary the chance to try out some more features of the new camera, like the 300mm lens.

(click on pictures to view larger version)

Although there are many admonishments to remain on the boardwalks, it appears a bear has left paw prints in this thermal spring.

One of the benefits of Spring visits to Yellowstone is the opportunity to see the newborns.

Of course, we had to make a stop at Old Faithful.

The weather was too cloudy to see the Grand Teton, which is hidden in the clouds to the right of this peak.

One can see why people insist on calling Yellowstone Colter's Hell.

These bison were content after getting their fill on the new vegetation.

Dave and Andrea had to settle for a picture of Yellowstone Falls from Artist's Point; Uncle Tom's trail was closed due to Winter damage.

This coyote was intent on catching a rodent hiding in the grass.

This mountain goat is still shedding its Winter coat.

This mountain sheep is getting pretty old; note the broken horn and bony hips.

These pronghorns have shed their antlers and will soon be growing new ones.

Take the picture, already. We're freezing! Read on for the account of our trip over the Beartooth Highway.

On our trip over the Beartooth Highway August 23rd of last year, we could not see the sights due to clouds and snow. This year, our original plan was to finish the trip with Dave and Andrea by driving to Cody (Wyoming) to spend a night and see the museums, then drive the Chief Joseph Highway and Beartooth Highway to return home. However, since we had delayed our trip waiting for better weather, there was no time to go to Cody. Instead, we opted to return home via the Beartooth. As we approached the northeast entrance of the park, we were disappointed to learn that the passes were closed due to new snow, so we headed back to the north entrance. Approaching the north entrance around 3PM, we learned that the Beartooth had just re-opened and decided to retrace our route back to the northeast entrance and try the highway. Again, we were confronted with limited visibility due to clouds and snow, but the road was clear.

Someday, we hope to drive this highway when skies are clear.

Some recent Beartooth history:
  1. May 2008 avalanche traps family.
  2. Clearing the road in May, 2005 — preparing for repair work.
  3. Some of the March 2005 damage. More photos can be found at this MDT Web page.
  4. Repairing the 2005 damage.