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Craters of the Moon— Worth the Trip or not?

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Jun 16th, 2000, 07:39 AM
  #1
Hobster
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Craters of the Moon— Worth the Trip or not?

We are planning our trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone (our trip to Alaska didn’t quite work out, so this was the next best thing within the budget). We wanted to know which of these two stops would be the more worthwhile to go to. Would you recommend Craters of the Moon (just west of Pocatello, Idaho) or driving to Little Bighorn National Monument in Montana? We would appreciate any input. Also, how hard are traveller’s checks to cash in that area?
Thanks
 
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Jun 16th, 2000, 10:09 AM
  #2
Bob Brown
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In regards to the choice between the Little Big Horn and the Craters of the Moon, it comes down to preferences.
Do you want history or geology?
The Little Big Horn is nothing more than a prarie field with markers. The Craters of the Moon is an excellent example of a relatively recent volcanic eruption. It has cider cones, lava fields, even ice caves.
I suppose my comments give away a relative bias. I never could figure out why so much effort was put into developing a monument to stupidity. Custer in my opinion was a vainglorious blockhead who led his men to death.
 
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Jun 16th, 2000, 01:31 PM
  #3
howard
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Right on, Bob!
Before you make your decision, Hobster, how much time are you planning in the Tetons and Yellowstone? A lot people don't realize how great the Tetons are! You could easily spend 8-10 days just covering Yellowstone and the Tetons.
 
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Jun 16th, 2000, 03:00 PM
  #4
Bob Brown
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I agree fully with Howard. On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate Yellowstone a 1 and the Tetons a 1.5. Craters of the Moon National Monument, while interesting, is down several notches on the scale.
If time was limited, I would not even consider either place. From Yellowstone to reach either the Little Big Horn or Craters of the Moon, you have a non trivial drive. If you want to see some territory outside of Yellowstone, drive over the Beartooth Pass to Red Lodge, Montana. Now that is Spectacular.
You could combine a trip to the top of the pass and the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone without going all the way to Red Lodge. Drive out the Northeast Gate of Yellowstone and follow the route toward Red Lodge and Billings. When you get to the top, turn around and return to Yellowstone. The Lamar Valley often has herds of bison in it because of the vegetation. That section of the park is the dry, so it is a treeless plain with a river running through it. You can see a long ways in every direction, so if animals are out grazing, you can usually spot them.
Another place to spot bison is along the Madison River between West Yellowstone and Madison Junction. I have also seen quite a large herd grazing in the Upper Geyser Basin (Old Faithful) and near the Fountain Paint Pots as well as Haydn Valley north of Lake Yellowstone. Being a migratory species, you never know where those big creatures might turn up. But they do favor open grassy areas.
 
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Jun 16th, 2000, 03:05 PM
  #5
howard
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Good advice, Bob.....but I would rate the Tetons slightly higher than Yellowsone! But they're both great!
 
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Jun 16th, 2000, 04:10 PM
  #6
Hobster
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All we have to spend at each place is three days, and we were told by a friend that if we took a day out of either (Yellowstone or Tetons) to spend at another site, it should be Tetons. Regardless, I guess we'll be missing some good sites from what has been written. We have to use the last day to get back to Salt Lake City for our flight home. Our total trip is set for July 20 to July 27. Thanks for the help so far. It is appreciated.
 
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Jun 16th, 2000, 08:03 PM
  #7
howard
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If I had only a week, I'd spend it all in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. There's more than enough to do for seven days. Yellowstone is great, and IMO the Tetons are even better. We rank it right up there with the most magnificent scenery anywhere. Great sights and great hiking for all levels.
(Obviously, I don't agree with whomever advised you to take the day off the Tetons part!)
 
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Jun 17th, 2000, 09:00 AM
  #8
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Hi again Hobster.
The best comprehensive view of the Tetons I have found is from Signal Mountain, which is actually a lateral moraine left by the glaciers. It is best to go in the morning because the sun is at a better angle. You can see most of the whole Teton Range, with Mount Moran prominant to your west and the Grand itself off to the southwest. Photography is tricky because of the light. If you want to make sure of a picture, bracket your favorite view.
(3 exposures, one just over, one just under and one right on your light meter reading -- assuming you can control shutter speeds and lens openings).
As for Yellowstone, I find the geysers fascinating. Old Faithful is the one most people watch because it is predictable. But the best ones are Grand, Castle, and Fountain. The Fountain Geyser is not in the same basin as Old Faithful, Grand, and Castle. It is along a side road near the Fountain Paint Pots. Other nice, but smaller geysers are Daisy and Riverside. All of these geysers can be predicted within a reasonable time window, but sometimes you have to be prepared to wait on them. Both Castle and Grand are definitely worth the wait. Hopefully you will get lucky and one of the less predictable geysers will also be displaying its power when you are there.
Too bad you will not be there then the moon is full. We went out at 2 AM and watched Grand do its thing by moonlight.
Quite spectacular.
Another fun trip is to walk the trail out to Lone Star Geyser. It erupts about every 3 hours on the average, but it is not regularly charted. We took our lunch and found a nice tree to snooze under until the geyser did its thing. The walk level and it follows along the uppper Firehole River through green meadows and forest until you reach the geyser.
 
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Jun 18th, 2000, 05:03 AM
  #9
cw ;)
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be sure start your day EARLY, for 2 reasons: wildlife are plentiful & people aren't. We did both parks last summer and the only time we say any Elk, in the wild, was at daybreak. We camped outside the park, near West Yellowstone, and left before dawn to drive to the 'Grand Canyon' area. It was a damp, foggy morning and I got the best photographs of a Huge Elk buck enjoying breakfast right along the road--tripod is a must. keep your eyes peeled and don't be in a hurry! I was able to get fairly close (be careful, though) you may also encounter road re-construction, as some of Yellowstones roadways are as rough as a cattle path (another good reason not to be in a hurry)
Have a great time! it was the cheapest and most enjoyable vacation we've ever been on (we avoided the tourist 'traps')
 
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