Snow capped peaks in the distance beckoned us forward during our drive across Wyoming. SLOTH was working hard and was quite thirsty as we rose up into the Big Horn Mountains. By the time we reached the Continental Divide at 9500 feet in the Rockies, I was thinking of 'The Little Engine That Could'. Fortunately there were many scenic overlooks for SLOTH to catch her breath and for taking lots of pictures.
Grand Teton National Park is breathtakingly beautiful. Jackson Hole Valley and it's glacial lakes sit at 6,300 feet, watched over on all sides by peaks ranging up to 13,370. It is no wonder that they call it a hole! The ski resort is well known and even in the summer it draws a crowd to its posh resorts and restaurants! Everywhere you look it is lush and green and alive. For the camping and hiking crowd, Jenny Lake and Hidden Falls is a major attraction and well worth the hike to get there. Reflections of mountains on the calm lake created pictures suitable for a calendar or maybe a jig saw puzzle and allowed even amateur photographers like me to get some great shots. A mother moose with her calf waded by along the shoreline at the delight of many visitors. I will cherish these views forever.
Even though Grand Teton borders Yellowstone, the surrounding mountain ranges fall away and make room for rolling plains. These two parks could not have been more different. Yellowstone is a hydrothermal wonderland.
Prismatic springs, geysers, steaming mud pits and gushing waterfalls make this a magical place and if you could only visit one National Park in your life this should be the one. It is like nothing you have ever seen before or likely will ever see again. Most of these features are above 7,500 feet so even a modest climb can have you resting to catch your breath. Visitors from every country stands side by side at marvel at steaming water boiling out of the earth. In one day alone I took over 100 pictures.
Yellowstone comprises more than 2 million acres. As we drove north along the Yellowstone River I wondered how we were going to arrive at Yellowstone's own Grand Canyon and impressive waterfalls because it was fairly flat. Then the earth opened up and the river fell to the canyon floor below. The golden sides of the canyon are 4,000 feet wide and 1,200 feet deep in places. In all there are nearly 300 waterfalls in the park. We watched salmon fighting to get upstream, stop to rest by the sides of some smaller falls. Mother elk brought thirty young to drink the clear cold water along roadways.
Continuing north we drove through Dunraven Pass, most likely the highest road elevation in the park. This pass opened up to steep hills covered in bright yellow daisies and a variety of wild flowers. It seemed that the park had many personalities and all you had to do was to keep looking to find them all.
Just inside the north gate is Mammoth Hot Springs, an area of spectacular travertine terraces. These terraces are a result of the hot water and gases ascending through the limestone deposits and can grow up to 3 feet per year. The village is very popular and many tourist crowd the shops and restaurants or busy themselves photographing the many elk that make their home in the village. I am sure we all felt we could have spent more time there but there were more national parks calling to us