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Trip Report Grand Teton and Yellowstone June 2010 - Chilly and Gorgeous!

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We (Mr. Pickle, 14yo DS Pickle, and I) just returned from an eight-day trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. This was an early 50th birthday gift for me. :-) I'll post a link to our pictures once I upload them to Picasa.

Mr. Pickle's work schedule doesn't allow us to travel as a family from July to October, so we planned to see Yellowstone as soon as most of the park was open. In hindsight, we would probably delay another trip until at least mid-June, but we had a wonderful time despite the drizzly weather.

Day 1 - Albuquerque to Laramie

This day was pretty much devoted to driving. We stopped in Denver to visit the State Capitol, which was closed the last time we were there. It's a lovely, ornate building, free to the public, and gave us the chance to walk around a bit.

Our main reason for spending time downtown was for DS Pickle to visit his favorite restaurant, the Shish Kabob Grill, across the street from the Capitol. The gyros are just as good as we remembered from 2008.

At Fort Collins, we jogged northwest on Hwy. 287 to Laramie. It's a pretty, scenic drive.

We spent the night at the Econo Lodge in Laramie, which has an indoor pool, free wi-fi, and a deluxe continental breakfast. Unfortunately, the pool was closed because the heater was broken, and the wi-fi didn't work in our room. I had to sit in the lobby to check my email. Breakfast wasn't bad, though. To top it off, they didn't deliver the free newspaper on time, so we went without. We won't stay there again.

Day 2 - Laramie to Jackson

Most of this day was fairly unremarkable. We traveled on I-80 to Rock Springs, then headed north to Jackson. There is some good scenery in the Teton-Bridger National Forest; gives you something to look at while you're waiting to get through the road construction. :-) The delay was at least 20 minutes, so be sure to use a restroom before you get into that area!

We arrived in Jackson around 4:30, checked into the Motel 6 (newly renovated, around $75 for the night and a great deal), and went to the Jackson/Grand Teton visitor center on the north side of town. The friendly, helpful ranger told us we had plenty of time to drive around the park before it got dark, and marked a map with prime wildlife viewing spots.

We took the Antelope Flats road off the main highway in GT, and found a moose by the river. A herd of bison with several calves stopped us a couple of minutes further down the road. It's hard to keep the recommended distance from the critters when they are walking right next to your car!

The Kelly campground is currently home to two great horned owlets - cute little balls of fluff! We decided we need a camera with better lenses to really get good pictures of wildlife, but we did OK with our camcorder and Canon point-and-shoot.

Mormon Row is on the north end of this loop - the antique houses and barns with the Tetons in the background make for nice pictures, especially with bison wandering through.

Reaching the main highway again, we continued north, stopping at the Snake River Overlook where Ansel Adams took his iconic GT photograph, and watching the pronghorn antelope, elk, and bison as we drove. It was cloudy, breezy, and cool, and the mountain tops were shrouded in cloud and mist. I kind of felt like I should have some Lord of the Rings music playing.

We looped around and drove south past Jackson Lake and Jenny Lake, stopping numerous times to take pictures of the mountains and wildflowers and getting back to Jackson around 8:00.

Dinner was at Bubba's BBQ; Mr. Pickle had the salad bar and DS Pickle and I had sandwiches on garlic toast. The brisket was a little tough, but still fairly tasty. After a trip to Albertson's for breakfast supplies and some fresh fruit, it was off to bed.

More to follow...

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