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Our first trip to Yellowstone / GTNP: Trip Report

Our first trip to Yellowstone / GTNP: Trip Report

Jul 29th, 2008, 08:49 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 28
Take your time with the report...it's been a great read so far! I'm leaving for my GTNP/YNP trip in two weeks, and I'm going to attempt to do a blog while en route. Hopefully I can keep up!!
palmies is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 01:14 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 977
That's very admirable palmies but, I'd vote for you NOT blogging from the road. Instead, cram as much fun and sightseeing into your trip as possible.

Take notes and write us a great trip report when you get back.

P.S. we love pictures
peterboy is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 03:30 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 325
Palmies - I was thinking the same thing as Peterboy and also wondering if you would even have connectivity to do so. While staying in the park - we only had service in the Old Faithful area. That was just for cell phone so I'm not sure about internet but I would imagine you may have some connectivity issues if staying in the park. I think others have had more luck when staying in West Yellowstone or Gardiner.

Back to the report:

Day 9: Got up early to go on a morning Snake River Float Trip. We arranged this trip through the Signal Mtn Lodge. Our guide Mark (I’m pretty sure that was his name) met us down outside of the restaurant building. There were two other families with us on the trip. We opted for this trip because we cannot do whitewater trips as Hubby has tubes in his ears and per doctor’s orders cannot get wet. This was a very tame trip and the only wildlife we saw were the kids in the raft (kidding) actually it was a pair of bald eagles and an osprey on a far-away nest. But the river was pretty full from the spring weather and it was a pretty quick paced trip but certainly not rapids. The nice thing about this trip is that it gives you a different perspective. It was cool to be looking up at the Tetons and the surrounding area from the river below.

On the drive back to the lodge from the pick-up point, there was a grizzly out in the meadow past the dam. But, according to their rules they are not allowed to stop so they drove slowly past for us. I was on the wrong side of the van so no grizzly pics for me. We even tried to go back once we got back to the lodge and got our own car but the grizz had gone off into the wooded area and wasn’t visible.

We took a drive around the park loop road and up to the Signal Mountain summit. No wildlife out and about so we took in the beautiful scenery and I took some wildflower pictures. We went back to the Signal Mtn Lodge for lunch – today was the day!!! We were ordering their nachos which I had read fabulous things about. The nachos are a HUGE portion and delicious and we split just that for lunch. If you are a nacho fan you should surely try these.

After lunch we went down to the Moose visitor center. I guess it is pretty new and it was very well done. We spent some time there and then actually napped for a bit near Lupine Meadows.

Dinner was at the lodge – we didn’t really venture far for dinner or any of our meals while in GTNP – not really sure why but I guess it just worked out that way. But, that being said there was enough of a selection and we were happy with the food at Signal Mtn Lodge although I admit that sometimes the service was a bit lacking.

After dinner, we took a drive to Schwabachers Landing. Our guide Mark from the Float Trip said that was a good place for sunset pics and to look for beaver. But, as we were getting out of the car in the parking lot, we watched a bear come out of the wooded area and swim across the river into the direction that the path goes. So, we opted to stay put as I really wasn’t interested in crossing a bear while out walking about. We thought the other car in the lot was one of the families from the float trip this AM and sure enough about the time the bear was heading in they were walking out towards us. We showed them the pics of the bear (really a bit more than a dot) heading in and while standing about talking we saw a beaver in the river. Got a few far away pics of him and decided to call it a night.
lindsyb is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 03:44 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 325
Day 10: We slept in a bit this morning and then packed up to check out. We took one last drive through GTNP and headed back into Yellowstone for our stay at Lake Yellowstone Hotel. (I told you things got a bit funky with our routing – but I still wanted to keep our ressies at Lake Hotel – so back we go to Yellowstone.)

The drive through GTNP and up through Yellowstone to the Lake Hotel was pretty quiet. Another sunny beautiful day – I guess the animals were hanging out in the shade or out of view.

Got to Lake Hotel to check in and our room wasn’t ready yet. So we took a walk down to the Lake Lodge and got some lunch in the cafeteria there. We then drove out to the Fishing Bridge area to explore around there and watch the pelicans.

Had dinner reservations at the Lake Hotel dining room and we had a good meal there. I can now tell you all that I am officially not a very big trout fan. This was my second time for a try and although well prepared – I guess it is just not my thing. But, the Banana Brulee Tart and the Yellowstone Sundae desserts, now that is a whole other story!! Yummy.

Hmmmm…. Can’t really recall what we did after dinner that night and don’t have any photos from that day/time so I guess that’ll be it for Day 10.

3 days left including a Historic Yellow Bus tour – to be continued.
lindsyb is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 05:59 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,463

Still enjoying the report!

The thing about trout is you have to cook and eat it straight out of the river/lake and into the frying pan! Every hour that passes decreases the flavor by a huge amount.

Kind of have to catch your own. Restaurants pretty much always serve farm raised/frozen. Not the same AT ALL.

Dayle is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 08:29 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 28
lindsyb/peterboy: Yes, I have considered the connection issue, and what I'll do is write up my thoughts in a Word doc if I don't have a connection at that time. Then, just post later.

Trust me, I will not be trying to blog during the day...I might miss something!! Most of my writing will occur in the evenings in our hotel room.

Also personally, I feel it will benefit me the most to compose as we go. I recently read a few journals I did while on family vacations in high school (in binded three-ring notebooks, no less), and it was informative and hilarious at the same time. Since blogs are now in the mainstream, I can share all of those experiences, opinions and thoughts with family and friends...and they will even have the option of traveling along with me (in spirit, of course). When I return, I'll post the link for all those Fodorites out there.
palmies is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 09:43 AM
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Sounds great Palmies - I wish I had been that ambitious. I am going on memory and my photos. (Which I have to upload soon - and will post the link)
lindsyb is offline  
Jul 31st, 2008, 06:52 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 977
My wife, sharondi as she's known here, wrote notes (basically a journal) each night before bed on our last Utah trip so we could write a trip report.

I guess that isn't much different from what you'd be doing palmies.
Of course we ended up with the longest trip report in history LOL.
peterboy is offline  
Jul 31st, 2008, 05:31 PM
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Day 11: We decided to start the day with breakfast in the dining room and then to drive back up through Hayden and see if there was any excitement. There was a small crowd gathered that were watching a wolf sleeping up on the hill. This time I was not looking at a wooden sign and actually saw the wolf. Of course, he wasn’t doing much at all and my only wolf photo is a patch of fur in the grass. Once and a while he tilted his head a bit but didn’t really seem like he was in any hurry to do anything other than take a nap in the grass in the sunshine.

So we decided to take our time and drive up toward Mammoth. We took the turn out to see Virginia cascade and got out and walked around there a bit. It was something that we hadn’t done yet and a nice walk about.

From there as we were headed toward Mammoth there is a big crowd of cars and another bear off the side of the road!! A very light cinnamon colored bear eating the yellow dandelion/daises just off the road a bit. He/She didn’t seem particularly concerned with all the people watching and taking photos.
From there we went to get lunch in Mammoth – the grill was packed so we decided to get sandwiches in the dining room and I really loved their squash soup and have gotten it each time we’ve eaten there except for breakfast. There were elk all over the place and we watched them from the windows in the dining room.

We needed to be back to the Lake Hotel both for dinner and because we had reservations for the Historic Yellow Bus Sunset Butte Tour. So we returned to the hotel without any additional wildlife spotting.

Another good dinner and again with the Yellowstone Sundaes for dessert. Yummy!

Then we met up with Darla who would be our guide on the tour. I guess one group didn’t show so it was us and a very nice family group of 7. The tour goes out past fishing bridge to Sylvan Lake and then to Lake Butte for the sunset. We saw some mule deer, an elk herd and some pelicans on the way out. There was a storm rolling in but still a good sunset without any raindrops although there were flashes of lightning across the lake. On the way back it looked like something spooked the elk herd as they all began running but ultimately nothing further – just play I guess. We really enjoyed this tour and Darla was a fantastic guide who was really knowledgeable and kept everyone involved. It was also great for hubby to be out of the driver’s seat and able to look around a bit more.
lindsyb is offline  
Jul 31st, 2008, 05:49 PM
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Day 12: Decided this was our last get up before the crack of dawn and see if we can see some wolves morning. Our intent was to go up to Lamar Valley one last time. Well you know what happens sometimes to all good intentions. As we drove up through Hayden Valley there is a huge herd of bison – they are standing and sleeping in the road. There had to be well over 100 of them of all shapes and sizes (including those adorable little red doggies) but they had no intentions of going anywhere. So we stopped and stayed for a bit and then more and more began crowding on and around the road. We took this as our sign that we were not meant to go to Lamar that morning. We backed to a safer distance at a pull out and watched their antics for quite a while and headed back for some breakfast.

This was our day also to catch up on things we still hadn’t yet seen so after breakfast we went headed to the Midway geyser area. We opted for the Southern route as I had not yet been to the Grant Village area and wanted to check it out. It was a nice area but seemed a bit out of the way. From there we headed toward Old Faithful. Still quiet down this way except for some mule deer and an elk here and there. Lunch at the Snow Lodge Grill and we managed to also catch another Old Faithful eruption.

Drove to Midway Geyser area and walked around the boardwalk. I really wanted to see the Grand Prismatic Spring before we left. And see it we did, although there was a significant amount of steam disguising the brilliance of it a bit. That is a very pretty area – we took quite a bit of time exploring all of the pools and also Excelsior Geyser. I still cannot get over how colorful all of the thermal areas are.

We then drove back up to Norris and across to Canyon and down toward our hotel. We saw a fairly small crowd gathered just past Canyon a bit and decided to get out and see what was going on. There were two beavers on shore, close to the picnic area gathering sticks and such. One came pretty far in and the other stayed much closer to the water. At this point, it was getting dark and also starting to rain.

Dinner and – you guessed it – another Yellowstone Sundae - for us when we got back to the Lake Yellowstone Hotel. We hung out for a bit in the lobby and walked around the area (to get rid of some of that Sundae) and then needed to begin packing as we have to leave this glorious place tomorrow.
lindsyb is offline  
Jul 31st, 2008, 06:01 PM
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Day 13 – Well the day has arrived, we are leaving Yellowstone today to go to Park City for two nights (earlier linked report – thanks to Jed) and then home. It is a very bittersweet moment and I have mixed feelings. I want to go home, get my doggie from the kennel and sleep in my own bed, but it is just so absolutely beautiful here. We satisfy ourselves with the fact that we’ve had a fantastic trip and there will probably be another in our future.

Another sunny day – I want to head back to Artist Point as I am not totally happy with some of my earlier photos. We time it right and there aren’t too many people there. We walk through the area and take way too many more pictures. I also wanted to see the Upper Falls as we had not been there before so once the tour busses arrived at Artist Point and the Lower Falls we headed out to the Upper Falls.

Spoke a bit with the ranger about the “excitement” that had just happened – earlier rant about the young boy being posed with a bison for a photo and got rammed and had to be taken to the hospital.

It’s getting to be late morning now and we really have to go so sadly we bid farewell to Yellowstone. We also took one last drive through Grand Teton on our way down to Utah. We had a wonderful time in both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and I hope you enjoyed this report because I certainly enjoyed reliving my memories and writing it.

Now…. One final hurdle – it may take me a bit to actually get my photos up and online but I promise to post the link in a day or two when I do.

Thanks for reading!!!
lindsyb is offline  
Aug 1st, 2008, 06:06 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 311
I really enjoy the report - and we're counting down to our trip. Thanks for sharing!
carolv is offline  
Aug 1st, 2008, 06:59 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,139
Enjoyed your report. I'm sure it will be helpful for many who are planning trips in the future. Thanks.
maj is offline  
Aug 1st, 2008, 07:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 227
Really great report. Thanks for sharing with us.
KarenL is offline  
Aug 1st, 2008, 10:23 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Wonderful report. It is a hard place to leave.

Thanks for the effort making this report. So many come here for advice and so few return the favor with a report.

I'm looking forward to your pictures.
peterboy is offline  
Aug 10th, 2008, 10:34 AM
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I hope this works but I've not posted a link before. I believe this is a link to my Yellowstone pictures.

lindsyb is offline  
Aug 10th, 2008, 12:02 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 2,248
Hello lindsyb

Welcome to the "I LOVE YELLOWSTONE" fan club. It only takes once to become hooked.

Fabulous report and beautiful photos! You sure saw a handful of bears. Wow! I don't think I've ever seen one up at Mammoth strolling thru the housing area. That's amazing.

We love watching the beavers, too. One trip we went back each morning as they were actively building a dam. Each day we could see more and more of a particular tree get chewed away. On the 4th day, it was down on the ground. Those are sure busy little beavers, lol!

We're heading back there in mid-September. Your photos make me want to pack my bags today!!!

Happy travels!
swisshiker is offline  
Aug 10th, 2008, 02:44 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 72
Wow...great report. Alot of similarities for us - from New England, 1'st time going to Yellowstone and GTNP next June, staying in the same hotels in the parks. I am printing out your trip report to read over and over. Most of travel fun for me is the anticipation and your report gives me my fix. Thanks!
Love2RV is offline  
Aug 10th, 2008, 03:31 PM
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SwissHiker and Love2RV

I hope you both have fabulous trips in Sept. and next June.

Love2RV, I too printed everything that I could find in getting ready for our trip and it only gets worse as the time gets closer.

If you haven't found it already the Yellowstone.net site is fabulous with all kinds of information and the most beautiful photography!

lindsyb is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 02:17 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 8,296
Swisshiker, is this your second trip to YNP in a couple of years? Just checking - DH is already pushing for us to go back this year! I could go every year. For the life of me, I can't understand why they won't let me live in that little pink house on Mormon Row!! ;-)

lindsyb, I have really enjoyed your trip report. Thank you!

Peterboy, please tell Sharondi that BayouGal said "hi!"
BayouGal is offline  

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