Heading north up I-15 through Utah we found that, although Salt Lake City was interesting
and the churches were beautiful, the general topography was quite ugly. A saline
lake surrounded by an alkaline valley that can't even grow a decent weed. Once leaving
N.W. out through Logan, however, everything changes, and it becomes quite beautiful
climbing up Logan Canyon. Before we left Salt Lake, a trip east over to Promintory
Point and the Golden Spike historic site, where the railroads from east and west
met was well worth while. Both, original locomotives are there and restored and fully
operational. In fact several times a day they back them up about a 1/2 mile and bring
them together again at the point where the famous "golden spike" was driven. A lecture
by the historian there was very interesting and detailed the events before, during,
and after the famous incident.
After topping Logan Canyon in N.E. Utah, we wound down into the Bear Lake area. It's
a beautiful area with a good sized lake and a quaint town. Here we stayed the night
at a KOA campground. It was raspberry season and raspberry "anything" was available
in town. We stopped at a little take-out place for a sandwich and a great raspberry
shake that needed a spoon to be eaten.
Continuing north and crossing into the west side of Wyoming, we arrived in Jackson
Hole. It has to be the largest "tourist trap" we've ever seen. It's worse (from my
viewpoint) than Sedona, AZ. Even Carol, the "professional" shopper got tired in a
hurry. The town square had four arches made entirely of elk antlers, one of which
can be seen in the picture. A day of window shopping, some lunch, and we were ready
to continue on to the Grand Tetons, just up the road from Jackson.
The Grand Tetons are spectacular. They were largely covered in clouds when we arrived
but cleared a bit later on. Some of the numerous glaciers can be seen nestled among
the peaks. The glacier formed lakes at the base of the Tetons are crystal clear and
surrounded by lush forests. We stayed for two days at Grand Teton R.V. Park near
the north end of the park.
On to Yellowstone National Park...
The main roads within the park itself are shaped in roughly a figure 8, with it being
about 100 miles around each loop of the 8. The largest point of interest areas are
spotted around the 8. We dropped the 5th wheel at Fishing Bridge RV park and during
the day traveled around the figure 8 to the various sites. It usually takes most
of the day to see each major area and we put over 400 miles on the truck just traveling
out and back to each major area on a daily basis. We spent 6 days in the park and
saw most of the major areas. If you've never been there it is a "must see" and plan
on at least for a 5 or 6 day stay.
No trip to Yellowstone is complete without the obligatory picture of Old Faithful.
Actually the eruptions don't last but about a minute and we found the other geysers,
pools, mud pots, etc. to be the real attractions. The full walk around the old faithful
area is about 4 miles and definitely should be done. Grand geyser, along the walk,
erupts for about 20 minutes and although is slightly smaller than Old Faithful is
much more violent and exciting, plus you are able to be right alongside it.
Geo-thermal is the keyword in Yellowstone. Activity is everywhere. Most of the walk
in the old faithful area is on winding boardwalks with things bubbling and squirting
everywhere you go. Occasionally one of the many larger geysers will start spewing
and everyone will stop and look or if close enough will run that way to see it before
it quits. It's really a lot of fun and quite spectacular. At the entrance to each
major area in the park are kiosks with brochures explaining what you're about to
see, they're a must.
Scalding hot pools like this one are crystal clear and due to the various salts in
solution usually have this fantastic blue tint.
The brilliant white deposits with hot steaming water flowing over it was a real photo
opportunity. This isn't a touched up photo, it really looks like this!
These two pictures are in the area called the "Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone".
We think it is the most beautiful area of the park, and these photos hardly do it
justice. The falls in the left photo is Upper Falls and is the largest in the park,
about 400 ft. drop. You just stand there for a long time soaking it in. The deposits
from present and past geothermal activity add fantastic colors to the canyon walls.
I also took 2 hours of video while in the park.
Wild life is everywhere. Buffalo herds, moose, bear and elk. You never know when
or where. When traveling in the park, people stopped in the middle of the road ahead
usually means you're going to get to see something super. Sometimes 20 or 30 vehicles
just stop for a while to look, no one's in a hurry.
On the way back our route took us through Idaho and the Sawtooth Mountain Recreation
Area. You have to take a loop out from the main highway to go through the recreation
area but it's well worth the detour. The canyon that you climb up from the south
into is super.
Then it was on to Twin Falls Idaho with a great view of Shoshone falls. In the springtime
the water flows over all the rock faces and the width is actually greater than Niagra
If you ever get the chance to go to Yellowstone, Do It!! You'll never forget it!