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2 weeks in Wyoming and Montana - 3 NPs and hanging out in the Crazies -

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2 weeks in Wyoming and Montana - 3 NPs and hanging out in the Crazies -

Old Jun 29th, 2010, 06:23 PM
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2 weeks in Wyoming and Montana - 3 NPs and hanging out in the Crazies -

Mid June 2010
2 weeks, 3 National Parks (Grand Tetons, Yellowstone and Glacier) and some down time just hanging out in Montana.

Week 1 = 4 of us, representing four different decades 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s
Week 2 = 2 of us, just following our noses and seeing as much as energy and the elements allow us to see.

I was invited along on a previously planned trip, so my total input was to make the lodging reservations in Montana and to suggest that we really do want to turn around and go back to see Artist Point in Yellowstone. That's about it. Oh, I packed three guidebooks and bought a wonderful new camera the night before we left.

And with that immense amount of preparation, we were off!
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Old Jun 29th, 2010, 06:51 PM
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The guidebooks - I'd "earned" three new books so I ordered in the new Fodors combined edition but also the Compass guides for Montana and for Wyoming.

I'm a new fan of the Compass guides! If you haven't tried them, order one for your next trip. Really liked the presentation of material, the colors and the literary references.

We flew into Jackson Hole airport and out of Kalispell (on FF miles). We had a small SUV reserved but upgraded to a Chevy Traverse. I LOVE this crossover SUV. I'm seriously considering buying one. Loved the back-up camera visible on the rear view mirror. Loved the extra blind spot mirrors on the side mirrors. The heated seats were a nice touch because it was chilly in June. We folded down the third row of seats and had lots of room for luggage (and we had lots of luggage). Love the Bose speakers and the DVD system in the back would have been nice for kids. It remained unused. There was plenty of room for everyone and was very comfortable for everyone. The rental fee for two weeks with a different drop off point was in the $700 range.

We were picked up in the 'burbs by the car service around 4am for our early morning flight. Landed about 3 pm in Jackson. The plane neighbor was a travel professional based in Jackson and she shared some suggestions for the visit. We took her up on her first one as soon as we left the airport.

We headed south from the airport and instead of heading into Jackson, we turned at the Gros Ventre Junction and took the secondary road as a loop that allowed us to oohh and ahhh without impeding traffic. The scenery in the Tetons is really some of the most spectacular anywhere. My first visit was in 1981 but I've loved the valley since childhood thanks to movies. Shane. Spencer's Mountain. Other movies. The first time I saw the mountains in real life it was almost like coming home again. The 1981 visit was memorable if not the most pleasant of visits. I was really ready to be back in the Tetons and wanted to savor our time there.

Our driver wanted to see wildlife and we were on the lookout. We passed by the sign for Gros Ventre campground and I realized that's where the Pickle's horned owls were nesting. Mormon Row came into view and then we saw animals move. An antelope! A couple of buffalo! The first animal sightings are always exciting. We finished the drive back to the main road and then headed south again toward Moose. Our next stop was the Visitor Center at Moose.

This Visitor Center was new to me and it is absolutely gorgeous. Beautiful views of the Tetons. Gorgeous exhibits. Nice gift shop. Helpful rangers. I bought two new books - stories of homesteaders in the Tetons and Yellowstone, and I was happy. I bring books but have to have reading material about the local area.

My first stop at the visitor center was the dry erase board with the weather forecast -
Today - Cloudy. 40% chance of rain. High 49-54 degrees F
Tonight - Cloudy. 40% chance of rain/snow. Low 35-39 degrees F
Tomorrow - Cloudy. 20% chance of rain. High 54-59 degrees F
We laughed. We were ALL glad we added some winter clothes at the last minute. We wore them every day but one in the upcoming two weeks. Note the "tomorrow" forecast. It will be just a little bit off.

As we left the Moose VC, I requested a little bit of a detour to see the actual location of the little church in the Tetons. I'd wanted to visit it during a service for years - probably since I first saw Spencer's Mountain with Henry Fonda and Maureen O'Hara. To get to it we had to enter NP property. Since we had Golden Eagles in the back (actually the pass is now just called the Senior Pass), we started the ritual of saying "He's in the back" and rolling down the window so the ranger could see the pass holder. In Glacier, we'd have to actually buy a 7 day pass.

Now that we'd scouted out the area, we headed back in to Jackson to check in the hotel and get a bite to eat.
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Old Jun 29th, 2010, 07:01 PM
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Jackson info -
The Wyoming planner had made reservations at the Ranch Inn -
http://www.ranchinn.com/
It was a pleasant motel a block off the square, with private balconies, fridge and microwave and internet in the room. It was a good choice.

My favorite place in Jackson is the Cowboy Bar -
http://www.milliondollarcowboybar.com/
We went in and "saddled up" to the bar - but we were in the in-between time between lunch and dinner. Sandwiches were available but those were nixed. We wandered a bit and ended up at Billy's - because they were serving at that time.

http://www.jacksonholerestaurants.com/billys.shtml
It wasn't my favorite. The burgers were okay. My tomato basil soup was okay. The French onion soup was GREAT. The local beer on tap was very good too.

Our time clocks were still set on "home" time and we'd gotten up at 3am. We went back to the room to rest for a little bit and then headed back to the square for photo ops with the antler arches and then to watch the shoot-out.
http://www.jacksonholenet.com/events/shoot_out.php

Folks were lined to watch. The show was cute if a bit corny. The noise and gunsmoke got to us so we wandered off to find a place to buy water and fruit for the days ahead.

My best tip for Jackson WY - http://www.pearlstmeatandfish.com/specials.html

no kidding

We LOVED this market. Gourmet groceries. Deli. Imported cheeses. Homemade soups. Lots of choices for drinks. We all wished we had gone here to get soup for dinner. It's a perfect stop for quick meals and/or drinks and snacks for your trip.
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Old Jun 29th, 2010, 07:16 PM
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Sunday in Jackson -
The motel offered a continental breakfast but we enjoyed yogurt, juice and banana from the market. Off in time to get to Moose (again) to get to the church early enough for the 10am service. The local Episcopal church provides services at the Chapel of the Transfiguration, the tiny log church whose plate glass window frames the Tetons.
http://www.jacksonholewy.net/park_hi...figuration.php
It was a lovely service. Locals, seasonal residents and tourists attended the service. The organist and her husband were celebrating their 60something anniversary. A tourist was there and had been a bridesmaid at a wedding there 40 years ago. The wedding couple were returning later in the week for a renewal of vows. Tiny church. Friendly people. Gorgeous setting. It was my only item on my Teton Wish List and I was thrilled to be there.

We headed back to Moose to stop at Dornan's for the open-air pancake and bacon breakfast my airplane friend had told me about. Alas, it was too late for breakfast at the Chuckwagon. So, we wondered the gift shop, grocery store and deli at Dornan's and then headed to the end to the Pizza and Pasta restaurant.
http://www.dornans.com/

What a meal! What a view! What a find!
I know, I know. Others have mentioned Dornan's but I can't rave enough about our food. A panini, pizza and quesadilla were ordered but MY greek pasta with chicken was absolutely divine. We were very pleasantly surprised how good the food was - and the view of the Tetons through the windows cannot be matched.

Dornan's also has a great wine shop. We asked for recommendations and picked up a Hells Canyon Retriever Red (Idaho) to take with us on the trip.
http://www.hellscanyonwinery.org/awards

That probably wasn't on Sunday (can't remember). We liked Dornan's so much we returned on the next day for sandwiches from their deli.
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Old Jun 29th, 2010, 07:43 PM
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The main (planned) event for Day 2 in the Tetons was a ride on Big Red -
http://www.tram-formation.com/

We asked for directions to the ski resort and were told that the Moose-Wilson road was open. We headed out on the secondary road and I can't recommend highly enough getting off the main road onto the secondary roads.

The scenery on the little road was gorgeous (how could it not be?!) but R, the driver said "I really wish we would see a moose". Just a few minutes later, a moose appeared on the road. Not just a moose, but a mama moose with her baby. Traffic stopped. They ambled down the middle of the little dirt/gravel road. We stood in awe. They headed straight for us - and then turned at the ranger's SUV. The pictures are great (posted on Facebook). We happily continued on.

From that point on R was known as the Wildlife Whisperer. She would say "I'd love to see a ______" and one would appear. The only unfulfilled wish was a bald eagle.

Big Red was amazing. The ride was twice as far/steep as a similar tram/ cable car to Stone Mountain. When we reached the top, everything was covered with snow. Deep packed snow. We wandered around for 20 minutes, grabbed a hot chocolate (waffles with nutella were also available) and then...it started to snow. On June 13th. Snow.
But, oh yeah, we're at the top of the mountain. Cool.

Loved the ride back down - and the views - and then were off again to drive some more, find more animals and to head to Jenny Lake.

Back to Gros Ventre Junction, back to Gros Ventre campground. We drove in to "see the Pickles' owls". I think the Golden Eagles in the back thought I was crazy. How exactly are we going to find nesting owls in the campground?

By the yellow caution tape and the folks peering through cameras on tripods, that's how! And we did. And we pointed my new camera. And we took some pictures. It wasn't until days later that I realized what great shots we got.

A bit of an aside - two days before we left, I found my Canon Powershot on the picnic table. Outside. It had been there for a couple of days. Days with rain. I was sick and furious with myself. Yes, I ruined my "big" camera.

The night before we left I swung into Best Buy with the intent to buy another Canon Powershot if I could find a good one for less than $250. I grabbed the Powershot SX120 with 10X zoom and 10 megapixels. It was smaller in size than my previous Powershot and I hoped it would be a good choice. It was an amazing choice. This camera caught shots that I had no idea was possible. The pics are amazing. It's the camera, not me. GREAT shots of the nesting horned owl.

Back to the loop and I suggested we take some pics of the houses on Mormon Row. Wildlife Whisperer turned off sooner than I expected and we were driving down an unfamiliar road. We started encountering mud puddles. The first few were easily passed. We skirted the next few. Then we face a monster of a mud puddle. We stopped and all four of us pondered the possibilities. It was deep. It was muddy on all sides. The Traverse DID have 4WD. There WERE cars in sight so the must have gotten across. The decision was made.
We turned around.

After getting back on the road, we made the big curve and there were a few of the houses - and on the opposite side of the road was a very short section of the opposite end of the lane that took us to the rest. The cars were there, but they had not come from the other end. We could then see the barricade that wasn't earlier visit. Maybe we would have made it through. Who knows? But, I got to see the houses and photograph The Barn - the most photographed spot in the Tetons
http://www.oceanlight.com/log/mormon...onal-park.html
(not my picture)
There IS a picture of me in front of the barn and I'm just beaming. So happy!
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Old Jun 29th, 2010, 08:04 PM
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At the end of Day 2 we are finally stopping at the pullouts, looking at the exhibit boards, soaking in the Tetons, watching a raft or two come down the Snake. It's colder than it was before - and then, it snows! Down in the valley. Down in the Hole. Snow!

It's getting late. It's perfect driving/ wildlife spotting time. We're headed to Jackson Lake because we are spending the night there - at Jackson Lake Lodge.
http://www.gtlc.com/lodging/jackson-...dge-views.aspx

The planner booked two rooms but only 1 Mountain View Lodge room was available. The view was absolutely spectacular. I've stayed in nice rooms with nice views before, but this room was incredible. If you go, I strongly recommend the splurge to stay in this room. Our room did not have the view, but was a nicely appointed room with Craftsman style furniture and just off the upper floor lobby/balcony with the same incredible views. Internet access is advertised for the lobby, but since we were so close I decided to give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised to have internet access in a national park room. The rooms do not have TVs but we brought an assortment of DVDs to watch. After two weeks, we still haven't finished Young Victoria

We decided to take the more casual dinner option and save the dining room for breakfast. We ate at the diner style/ counter service Pioneer Grill. The same kitchen may serve both. All I know is my trout was delicious, the service was fast and friendly and we interacted with other happy customers. We wanted to try a slice of huckleberry pie, but they had just sold the last slice. We took a slice of apple pie back for later and then headed down to the Blue Heron Bar for a drink and to soak in the view.

http://www.gtlc.com/dining/jackson-l...eer-grill.aspx
http://www.gtlc.com/dining/jackson-l...on-lounge.aspx
I enjoyed a huckleberry margarita and the bartender from "home" concocted a great drink per vague specifications. The ball game was on, the view was still incredible and it was a great place to end the day.

The next morning we did eat in the Mural Room -
http://www.gtlc.com/dining/jackson-l...ural-room.aspx
The setting was gorgeous, the service was excellent and the food was good too. I opted for the buffet and enjoyed the chef special and waffles that came with an elk motif. They do things right at the Jackson Lake Lodge. Three nice shops for browsing - and the next morning we also bought binoculars for mom (since all four pair were left at home).

I highly recommend the Jackson Lake Lodge.
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Old Jun 29th, 2010, 08:17 PM
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Day 3 - last day in the Tetons
Back towards Moose - believe it or not. Traveling Teton Park Road, stopping at the dam for pictures and exploration. A photo stop at the Chapel of the Sacred Heart. On to Jenny Lake Lodge for a quick look-around. I bought a sagebrush candle from their gift shop. Back down to the Chapel of Transfiguration for more pictures and then quick stroll from the Maud Noble cabin (interesting story) past Menors Ferry (not running because the water was too high and fast) to the little general store and then on to Dornan's for those deli sandwiches. We then headed north again, taking pictures of bison along the way, on our way to the Flagg Ranch just at the tip of the GTNP and just south of Yellowstone. We did make one wrong turn and took a beautiful detour toward Dubois and over the gorgeous pass.

Flagg Ranch - http://www.flaggranch.com/lodging.html
not a fan
We stayed in the cabins, but the rooms were basic motel room style
Pricey ($180) with no extra features
The beds were the least comfortable on the trip
We ate at their restaurant. The service was VERY good that evening, but not in the morning.

Rocking chairs were ready outside each cabin, but so were the mosquitos. I got some good sunset pics, but I wouldn't stay here again, nor recommend it. It was a big disappointment.

Tomorrow - Yellowstone!
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Old Jun 30th, 2010, 02:10 AM
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Fabulous report, Starrs! and your pictures are stunning. I'm going to check out the Canon Powershot as my Kokak is on the outs. Last year I tried to reserve lodging on Jackson Lake but it was booked so we're staying at Signal Mt.. Thank you for your report, I am especially grateful for all the food recs. What an incredible adventure--cannot wait to read more.
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Old Jun 30th, 2010, 02:22 AM
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Great report -- can't wait for the rest. Wonder if you got the same rental car we had. Returned ours June 11th (Hertz). It was gray with Idaho plates.
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Old Jun 30th, 2010, 12:23 PM
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The Pickles' owls...

Fabulous report so far, Starrs!

Lee Ann
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Old Jun 30th, 2010, 03:29 PM
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Great report. I don't see your link to photos. Am i just missing it? I would love to go back to Yellowstone. We were there mid-June 08 and it was great. Missed the owls, though. But I did see a bald eagle or two.
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Old Jun 30th, 2010, 03:43 PM
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Hi spiro, my photos are up on Facebook. I may move some of them over to Flikr or similar next week. I need to check the pics on "the little camera"
AnnMarie has seen the ones on FB.

We had a hawk hanging around during week 2 of the trip, but no bald eagle. It WAS a disappointment for the Wildlife Whisperer.
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Old Jul 1st, 2010, 02:41 AM
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I want that camera!
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Old Jul 1st, 2010, 09:08 AM
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Best Buy, AnnMarie

So, on to Yellowstone! For anyone who may be reading this in the future as you plan a trip, just remember....Yellowstone is big. Huge! The size of Delaware and Rhode Island (if I remember correctly) combined. There's an upper loop and a lower loop and together they make a figure 8. The distances of each section on the map don't look that long. Just remember, you can't just race through Yellowstone. There is one lane in each direction. You can count on there being road construction somewhere in the summer - because they have such a short window of opportunity in the weather to do road construction. You can almost be certain of some wildlife roadblock somewhere at some time. When a bison herd is in the road, you wait. You wait behind the other cars waiting. No, you can't zip ahead because you want to be somewhere at a certain time. Please. Relax and enjoy the park and let others relax and enjoy the park too. (okay, off my soapbox).

My 2 items on my Yellowstone Wish List were Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs. Since we were spending the night at the Old Faithful Inn it made my wish list pretty short and simple.
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Old Jul 1st, 2010, 09:48 AM
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Somewhere I have the map with the actual drive times. I can't find it now, but will add those times if I run across it.

We left Flagg Ranch after breakfast. Flagg Ranch is just outside the south entrance of Yellowstone. 22 miles later, our first stop at Grant Village Visitor center. Rest room breaks and the primary and secondary drivers conferred with the ranger on the best route to take for the next two days. Armed with highlighted maps and a plan, we were off.

Second stop - The geyser basin at West Thumb -
http://www.yellowstonenationalpark.com/westthumb.htm
A nice walk along the boardwalk and the lake to see some of Yellowstone's amazing geothermal activity. A great intro to what will be found ahead. Seeing the Abyss, Black Pool and mudpots was like seeing old friends. Loved the story about the Fishing Cone -

"Fishing Cone is a thermal feature unique to Yellowstone. It is situated on the shore of Yellowstone Lake and received its name from early explorers who stood on the cone and cast their lines into the lake to catch fish. Without taking the fish off the hook they parboiled them in the vent of Fishing Cone"

That story will have relevance later in the trip

Back in the car for the next 21 mile segment along the lake. The most significant event on this leg was seeing a bear just off the road. I wouldn't let us stop for pictures. He was just too close to get out of the car for a photo op and bears can move too fast for my comfort level. So, we took a mental picture and moved on.

We made a quick stop to see Sulphur Caldron but opted out of the walk to Mud Volcano. As usual, there were a lot of bison in the Hayden Valley and it's just a beautiful drive.

I had my moment of usefulness and suggested we double back for the Artist Point turnoff. It is one of the prettiest views in the park.
http://www.nps.gov/archive/yell/feat...r/artpoint.htm

It's only 16 miles from Fishing Bridge to Canyon, but those three segments 59 miles total brought us into the Canyon area well after lunch. We stopped first to top off the tank.

NP tip - fill up your tank when you have the opportunity. We rarely let it drop below 1/2 tank.

Lunch at Canyon -
We left the car to head for lunch and rest room breaks and the plan was to eat at the Canyon Cafeteria. Two of us already had our trays and were settling in when the others joined us - and remembered they can't eat at cafeterias (for medical reasons). That was a big disappointment for me. I'd prefer to eat at the Canyon Dining room, but hey, I got a camp style experience I guess

The cafeteria does have a novel approach. There are three sizes and colors of plates, and you pick your size/color and pay the corresponding price. It's a good way to meet the needs of those who just eat a little and those who eat a lot. We chose the middle option and the entree I chose was sliced turkey (as in turkey in dressing type meal). The food was fine - just not S&S from home

http://www.yellowstonenationalparklo...eria-7964.html

As it turns out, we found our way to Canyon the next day and grabbed sandwiches from the deli and I prefer the cafeteria option to the deli sandwiches. The turkey croissant was not very good at all but the roast beef sandwich I tasted was better. The sandwiches are premade and wrapped in the cooler for your choice. Chips and ice cream are available too.
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Old Jul 1st, 2010, 10:12 AM
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The afternoon would be spent driving from Canyon to Mammoth and back down to Old Faithful. Not a lot of stops along the way, but we didn't get to Old Faithful until after 6. (I promise I'll find the map with the actual times on it).

Now, Mammoth was my #1 wish list item.
I can't tell you how disappointed I was.
Mammoth Hot Springs was dead.
Nada. Nothing. Nothing at all flowing.
The Pickles had just been there and had a completely different experience.
I love Mammoth. In years past, I would drive into the park from Island Park, Idaho and spend hours at Mammoth.
I could not believe how dead/dry/lifeless the springs were.

We stopped in town first (for bathroom breaks), walked into the lobby of the hotel, visited the visitor center (which I enjoyed very much), smiled and pointed at the elk hanging out in town (because of the watered grass) and then I guided us to a parking lot in the middle of the hill.

We arrived at Minerva Terrace - and nothing. No water. No steam. No color. No "life" at all. I found it very, very sad.
Here's a youtube link to what it usually looks like -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqaduXkPPqk

We walked up further and all four of us were discouraged. Three were wondering why the heck I wanted to stop here. We were about to turn back when I asked someone and there was some flow further up "just past that tree". We all continued on...and there was a trickle of water coming down and a tiny bit of color. I knew that the features were constantly changing, but never expected that dramatic a change.

Back in the car on the way to Old Faithful -

Traffic slowed down just past the sign for the Grizzly Lake trail. A woman was walking past the parked cars, and if she were a ranger she was off duty. A grizzly was up on the hillside. Thanks to my magic camera I got some good shots.

When it was time for another rest room stop, we stopped at the ranger museum -
http://ypf.convio.net/site/News2?pag...rticle&id=5205
I was told it was a decent restroom for an "outpost" restroom.
I loved the tiny Museum of the National Park Ranger. It took less than 5 minutes to walk through.
From the parking lot we saw a regal buffalo resting creekside.
A little bit further down we saw a mama buffalo with her baby.

And then, before we got to Old Faithful we found the Summer Construction Zone. The wait was 20 minutes (in both directions - that afternoon and the next morning). You turn off your car with windows rolled down and enjoy the scenery (and hopefully the company inside the car) as you wait.

Finally, at 6:30 - the Old Faithful Inn!

2 + 22 + 21 + 16 miles = breakfast to lunch
12 + 21 + 21 + 14 +16 miles = lunch to dinner
with a few stops along the way
About 3/4 of the figure eight of Yellowstone roads
Schedule more time if you want to actually get out and do some hiking in the park
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Old Jul 2nd, 2010, 07:44 AM
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This is a good read starrs, bringing back some memories for me. The GTNP is my favorite of all time.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2010, 07:57 AM
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Mine too! Well, it's a tie with Mesa Verde.
For pure beauty, the Tetons for sure.
For a tie with the past, Mesa Verde.
I need to finish it, but not sure when.
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Old Jul 11th, 2010, 04:35 PM
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It's been a busy week and a great weekend! Time to get back to this report

Old Faithful Inn -
How can you NOT love it?! It feels so good to be back again. It's been a few years and last time we stayed overlooking the geyser - and I was thrilled to learn that the room was a geyser view again. It's hard to beat hearing the geyser erupt every 1.5 hours or so. The board in the lobby will give you a prediction, plus or minus 20 minutes. When you're snoozing with just an open window between, you don't care when...but it's oddly comforting to hear it

The last trip was in October, during the last weekend of the season. It snowed. Magical One of my favorite memories was eating at the counter at Fred Harvey's and listening to the retiree couples discuss their season at Yellowstone and their plans (usually Arizona) before the next season begins - at YNP or another National Park.

This year, we started our stay with dinner in the Old Faithful Dining Room. I don't think you can do much better. Once again, we enjoyed conversations with the waitstaff. Noah, our waiter, was funny, charming and a great waiter. I was especially impressed with our runner (I've forgotten her name). She just LOOKED like she was an amazing person. Throughout the evening we got snippets of her life - and learned she was a designer/ project manager from Houston responsible for multi-million dollar projects - taking a sabbatical before the next big project began. With a smirk she said the job sure teaches humility - and I imagine she had many stories to tell.
http://www.yellowstonenationalparklo...ofi-dinner.pdf

The food - fabulous.
The steaks were good, but my Chicken Oscar was divine. The table of 4 voted it best by far, and I'm so glad I made that choice. Our starters included crab cakes, a nice wedge salad and gorgeous huge prawns.
http://www.yellowstonenationalparklo...ofi-dinner.pdf

After dinner? Back to the room with a nice glass of wine to watch for the next eruption of Old Faithful. It doesn't get much better than that.
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Old Jul 11th, 2010, 05:00 PM
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The Old Faithful Inn rooms - nice. Bright. Still a lot of yellow in the room. Yes, the cute little bear-soaps were waiting in the bathroom - and you can buy as many more as you'd like in the gift shop for 99 cents each. Nice toiletries (can't remember the brand). Hairdryer in the room. (I add these details because someone asked earlier on the board).

There is no air conditioning - and we could already tell in June. There was a fan in the room and we slept with that on us all night. The window was open - with Old Faithful reporting in on a regular basis.

A very nice room with Craftsman style details and en suite bathroom. Phone in room. No TV or A/C.


Free tour of Inn - one of my favorites
A sign in the lobby advertised the free tours of the Inn and we were ready and waiting for the morning tour. The tour guide also happened to be the personnel director for seasonal staff and she was very informative. Great tour.
I tried to find a link without success. Here's something I found via google, that shares some of the informatiion she shared -
http://gocalifornia.about.com/cs/wyy...l_stoldfin.htm

One tidbit I found very interesting was that the ceiling height was chosen to be 76 feet high - because that's the average height of a lodgepole pine forest. The architect wanted the inn itself to mimic the forest from which the trees came.

The inn was started and completed in just one year. The crew of 50 worked hard to get it framed in before the snows came, and then worked feverishly inside to get the inn ready for the first guests in June. I find that speed amazing.

An unknown architect was chosen to design the inn and because they got him young he was able to come back and do any additions or modifications. So, everything you see at the Inn was designed by the original architect.

For many years, the pine logs retained their original bark. At some point (perhaps in the 30s?) the pine logs were de-barked. One reason given was to lighten the look of the lobby, but the guide suggested that maybe housekeeping had some input in the decision We did see a similar lobby at East Glacier with the bark still intact on the logs. Can't decide what I like best.

The tour moves to the original wing with a change to see one of the original rooms (sans bathroom). It was neat to see the little (and I mean little) rooms. The original dry sinks are still in the rooms for use as a table, but new sinks (with new plumbing) are now in the rooms. But for w/c or shower, those guests must walk down the hall.

The tour continued, but we skipped the rest because we wanted to go out and walk the boardwalk.

As much as the Mammoth Hot Springs disappointed, the Old Faithful Geyser Basin made up for it. The features were glorious. I kept saying, "You know what I kept telling you should be seeing at Mammoth? THIS is what I'm talking about!" I was literally thrilled to see so much hot springs activity.

The boardwalk walk was wonderful and as we neared a hilltop we saw a big bison...with her babies right next to her. Just feet away from us. So close - and they pretty much didn't care we were there.

As we were walking back to the inn, a quiet little cone started spewing. We stopped and watched...and then a geyser that makes Old Faithful look demure really started taking off. It was the Beehive - and its long eruption was like 30 of OF's combined. A truly spectacular show and as many times as I've been to OF I was thrilled to be a witness to the Beehive Geyser's eruption. I was able to grab some of it on video. What a great way to end the stay at Old Faithful!
http://www.yellowstone.net/geysers/geyser01.htm
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