Location: Island Park, ID -> Yellowstone/Tetons -> Jackson, Wyoming
Good news: we slept in later than we had the previous mornings. Bad news: we still beat our alarms. But waking up early allowed us to get a head start on the day, and just like our first full day in Yellowstone we needed as much time as we could get. Overall the park felt a little busier than Sunday.
As soon as we made it into Yellowstone we made a beeline for the geyser basins and started with the Firehole Lake Drive. We coincidentally arrived about a minute before the eruption of the Great Fountain Geyser. It was perhaps one of the more interesting eruptions we had seen (in Yellowstone, New Zealand, or Iceland), owing to how the water sprayed and spread out around the crater and flowed down natural terraces that previous eruptions had created over time.
Next we went on a two mile hike along the Fairy Falls trail. Luckily we got there just before the crowds arrived. This hidden-in-plain-sight side trail goes up a hill that overlooks the Midway Geyser basin. In the cool morning, the trail gave us a great view of the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring reflecting off the steam. The trail itself ended atop a hill which gave an overhead view of the iconic landmark.
We made a quick rest stop at Old Faithful, and was coincidentally there to see it erupt again. But no pics this time. We then drove across the park and had lunch at Lake Village, before driving north again to see Sulphur Canyon. They weren’t kidding around when they named that location. The sulfur was so overpowering that it stung our eyes. But it didn’t seem to bother the bison relaxing in between bubbling sulfur pools.
Our last scenic stop at the park was at the Mud Volcano, where we saw the Dragon’s Mouth.
We also passed the Great Continental Divide while driving in this part of the park. A Continental Divide is a drainage divide on a continent. The Great Continental Divide is series of mountain ridges stretching from Alaska to Mexico, marking the separation of drainage basins that empty into the Pacific or Atlantic Oceans.
At this point, we had spent most of the day in Yellowstone and had one more park to visit. So we drove south and exited the park. We had a short and uneventful drive on the John Rockfeller Memorial Parkway before entering Grand Teton National Park.
The Tetons are renowned for the iconic views of its distinctive mountains and excellent mountain hiking trails. The park was much more crowded than Yellowstone, and Ryan suspects that a lot of the other visitors were there in part because of the eclipse yesterday. But we aren’t exactly known for our mountain climbing skills so this wasn’t a good fit for us. Sadly, it was the middle-late afternoon and hazy so we couldn’t get many good photos of the mountains.
But we did managed to get a few photos of the mountains and take a short hike near Jenny Lake and the Laurence Rockefeller Preserve.
We also saw the shrinking Teton glacier from the distance.
We left Grand Teton in the early evening and made our way into Jackson. It was supposed to be a short drive, but we got caught in the afternoon rush hour. After checking into the hotel (yay internet, air conditioning, comfortable bed!) we walked around the artsy and expensive downtown Jackson and had dinner.
Tomorrow we visit Fossil Butte National Monument, Fort Bridger State Park (for the Oregon Trail nostalgia), and finish in Vernal, Utah with Dinosaur National Monument.
Total national park passport stamps: 8
Total times Ryan checked the weather: 0
Total steps: 13,418
Total miles driven: 226