Supper In Jackson & Flying Home

Wednesday Evening, July 30 & Thursday, July 31

0After getting settled into our motel in the town of Jackson, we walked to Sweetwater Restaurant ~ a few blocks away.

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It was a beautiful evening so we sat outside. (I chose to leave my camera in the motel, so these are cell phone pictures.)

My favorite food here was the cold soup ~ peaches and cream ~ which I got with my salad. It almost reminded me of a dessert so I finished my salad, then savored the creamy-peachy taste of the soup.

1We were up early the next morning to return our car at the airport before checking in.

One blessing of this trip was the free, priority air miles we earned with American Airlines during the past few years, and because I chose our seats in early June, I was able to get first or second row seats (just behind first class) for all flights.

The only problem with the Jackson to Dallas flight was that we were just inside the door where everyone boarded. We stood in first class to let everyone board ~ and we had no window. However, we had lots of leg room. 🙂

That meant I got some good quality reading done.

1-DSC_6579The Skylink is a necessity when getting around in the huge Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.

After finding our gate, we went to a TGIF restaurant for lunch, then relaxed during our three-hour layover.

2 (1)I did have a window on the flight from Dallas to Chicago, and captured this photo on our arrival at O’Hare.

2aWe weren’t hungry for supper, but a vanilla milkshake sounded good to me. Cerwin chose a raspberry smoothie.

I should have chosen something warm, because this was a very cold waiting area. I pulled my jacket out of our carryon case.

3 (1)It was starting to get dark when our plane pulled out of the gate and headed toward Harrisburg.

3 (2)I tried to get some pictures of the pretty lights as we approached Harrisburg, but only got pretty squigglies.

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3 (4)We landed at 11:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Now it was time to adjust to the two-hour time change again. Because we had been in Mountain time for the past ten days, it only seemed like 9:00 PM.

3 (5)…and of course it was easy to sleep in the next morning.

We loved seeing our freshly mowed yard (a surprise from our grandson, Josh) and corn that had grown quite tall while we were gone.

Yes, we did enjoy a beautiful-dream-come-true vacation, but it is good to be back home again.

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Hey it’s good to be back home again – you know it is
Sometimes this old farm feels like a long-lost friend
Hey, it’s good to be back home again
I said hey it’s good to be back home again.

John Denver

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Last Afternoon In Yellowstone

Wednesday, July 30

You knew it would soon be coming ~ my last post on Yellowstone. 🙂

1 (2)While having lunch on the deck at Tower Falls we noticed a young mule deer.

There were fifty-plus people walking around the parking lot and in the campground store, but she contentedly grazed along the road ~ unnoticed by most of the people.

1 (3)Camouflage is the name of the game when your are an animal is in the woods. Yes, there is a mule deer in this picture.

1 (5)Then she settled in for an after lunch rest.

There was a man with a very nice camera taking pictures of the store and parking lot. I asked if he wanted a really good picture, and told him to turn around. It took him quite a while to find her, but when he did he thanked me over and over again.

1 (4)There was a hawk or osprey looking for lunch ~ in the tree above the deer.

1 (6)After lunch we drove toward Tower-Roosevelt.

1 (7)Beautiful scenery

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1 (11)Traveling through Yellowstone was a long-time dream of ours, and everything was beyond my expectations. However, if you want to enjoy Yellowstone, you need a few days to explore ~ to really enjoy everything it has to offer.

1aWe saw every kind of explorer ~ from those in big, fancy motorhomes…

1b…to those who were exploring by themselves on foot or on bicycle.

1cI’m not sure why Cerwin took this picture :), but it seems like a good time to mention that I really appreciated that these were generously placed on the main roads throughout the park.

14-DSC_6546At a certain point in the afternoon we made the decision to turn around and head south toward Jackson.

13-DSC_6543The bison in Hayden Valley were still roaming the roads and fields.

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15-DSC_6547We even got to see a male antelope up close.

16-DSC_6549We could have easily missed him in the grass if we had not seen him cross the road in front of us.

18-DSC_6558Seeing wildlife on this trip never got old.

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20-DSC_6562With that large satellite, someone was doing some serious recording of this area of Yellowstone.

21-DSC_6564This looks like a great way to see the countryside up close.

25-DSC_6574Seeing that we only have 22 miles to Flagg Ranch means that we only have 20 miles to go before we leave Yellowstone.

I am not ready to leave.

23-DSC_6571Oh, yes! We got to see one more elk.

27-DSC_6578The beautiful Tetons were in front of us again as we neared our next stop for the day ~ our motel in Jackson.

Continuing Our Morning Saga ~ Day 3 In Yellowstone

Wednesday, July 30

Our goal for Wednesday was to meander over roads where we had seen wildlife and beautiful scenery on the previous two days.

1 (1)We continued to see bison as we traveled away from the Mud Volcano area.

1 (2)As you can see, the fog had not yet lifted in Hayden Valley.

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1 (4)I liked this view of a few Canada geese as we came over a small hill.

1 (6)Then the scene changed to a bit of a silhouette as I faced the sun.

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1 (9)I think I could travel over these roads for days and continue to see new things.

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1 (15)It is always exciting to come across a scene like this and wonder what they are watching.

1 (16)These were some serious wildlife watchers!

They had been watching four grizzlies ~ at quite a distance ~ that had just disappeared from their view. We also heard stories of them watching five wolves from this spot the night before.

1 (17)North American White Pelicans

By now it was about 9:30 AM, and the fog had finally lifted.

2 (1)We had seen several mule deer, but this was the first nice buck.

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2a (1)Each time we stopped, I took time to look for pretty vegetation and flowers.

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2b (3)Our next stop was for lunch at Tower Fall.

Mud Volcano ~ Day 3 In Yellowstone

Wednesday, July 30

1 (1)We were glad that we arrived here early enough in the day to find a parking spot.

1 (2)I find these boiling, gurgling mud pots interesting and fascinating.

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1 (7)This was correctly named, as it gave a continuous deep rumbling sound from somewhere underground.

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2While listening to Dragons Mouth Spring, Cerwin noticed a bison coming over the hill.

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11-DSC_6406For some reason he began attacking this small pine tree.

13-DSC_6411Within seconds he destroyed it.

14-DSC_6412Then he just walked away, as another one came over the hill.

15-DSC_6417Bison soon came from everywhere, and we were concerned for our cars. It is not unusual for them to ram into cars, but during our time there they left the cars alone.

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25-DSC_6437This was an incredibly interesting place.

I kept thinking about the woman we met in Cody who said she did not enjoy Yellowstone. I don’t think they took time to see places like this.

26-DSC_6439As we left the area, we carefully avoided getting in the way of the herd of bison who were roaming the parking lot and roads.

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28-DSC_6442More about our last day in the park tomorrow night.

The First Hour ~ Day 3 In Yellowstone

Wednesday, July 30

01-DSC_6286This was the view from our cabin’s front door ~ about 6:56 AM.

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02-DSC_6288I love weed flowers and seed pods.

04-DSC_6291Our cabin at Flagg Ranch.

05-DSC_6296Cerwin taking our luggage to the car.

06-DSC_6299Our rental car.

08-DSC_6307We saw this mule deer shortly after leaving our motel.

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09-DSC_6308Pretty morning scenery

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12-DSC_6313Those first pictures all happened between our cabin and the South Entrance to Yellowstone ~ which was two miles north of Flagg Ranch.

13-DSC_6314And then, just a few minutes after entering Yellowstone, we saw a grizzly bear right along the road.

14-DSC_6318It wasn’t a real large one ~ maybe 200 to 250 pounds ~ but we were so pleased to see one up close.

15-DSC_6322It was more interested in bugs and grubs in the empty tree log then in the few carloads of people who were watching it.

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18-DSC_6331Though Canada geese are common, I thought they looked pretty in the tall grass in the early morning sunshine.

21-DSC_6343We went by here a few times on Monday and Tuesday, but it was always full of people, so this morning there was finally space to stop and take a few pictures.

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22-DSC_6344We crossed the Continental Divide many times on this trip. On one road we crossed it three times in a few short miles.

23-DSC_6346Cerwin was pleased to see another 6 x 6 elk.

24-DSC_6350Before the trip he mentioned that he would like to see one nice bull elk.

25-DSC_6354According to my pictures, this is the third 6 x 6 and then there was the 6 x 7 at Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon.

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27-DSC_6359It was certainly worthwhile to get up early.

These pictures were all taken between 6:56 and 8:06 AM.

Grand Canyon Of Yellowstone ~ Day 2 In Yellowstone

Tuesday Afternoon, July 29

1We arrived at Canyon Falls about 1 PM. We hadn’t eaten since having coffee and sharing a muffin while waiting for a display from Old Faithful ~ about 7:30 AM ~ so we looked for a place for lunch.

1aWe shared a BLT and fries.

2We spent the next two hours exploring the beautiful Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

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2bAfter walking partway down the falls trail, I told Cerwin that I better stop, because I do downhill okay, but uphill is more difficult.

2c (1)On the way back to the top, we stopped every so often for a break ~ usually sitting on a bench.

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3While resting at the last bench before the parking lot, we noticed someone coming up the other trail ~ North Rim Trail. When he got to us, he said, “There is an elk out there in the meadow.”

4 (1)Oh, wow! Cerwin had been hoping to see a large bull elk, and a 6 x 7 is almost as large as it gets.

4 (3)It was below us, so we sat on a rock and watched it for a while.

4 (4)It looked like it took a bit of effort to move his head.

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4 (6)Then I noticed another one coming out of the woods.

4 (7)This one was a 6 x 6.

4 (8)By this time the first one was feeding right along the trail.

4 (9)I thought it would be fun to capture the expression of someone when they came through the opening in the path and discovered an elk right in front of them. 🙂 But that didn’t happen.

4 (11)He continued to walk toward us as he fed in the lush meadow.

4 (12)Before long we thought it may be safer to go back on the hiking trail ~ where by now a lot of people were standing.

4 (13)The other one stayed on the hillside…

4 (11)…but when the 6 x 7 got to within 20 yards of us we thought it would probably be wise to move toward the trail ~ which was right next to us.

4 (14)He seemed oblivious to us, but it seemed that he was heading right toward us and we didn’t want to get a whack from those large antlers.

4 (15)There are several viewing areas, but we found the Grand View to be the prettiest and most scenic.

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4 (28)Inspiration Point was also a pretty area, but the view wasn’t as grand as Grand View.

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4 (32)The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is definitely a worthwhile stop.

Firehole Falls & Gibbon Falls – Day 2 in Yellowstone

Tuesday, July 29

1 (1)We enjoyed the scenery after leaving Old Faithful and headed north to Madison.

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3 (3)We headed west after getting to Madison to do the West Entrance drive.

3 (4)I asked Cerwin to stop so I could get a photo of this reflection.

3 (5)As I was taking the picture, I noticed that the reflection was going to soon be distorted by this mother duck and her babies.

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3 (8)A little farther down the road I asked him to stop again when I saw these Canada geese.

3 (9)I think they had just taken their morning bath, because they were doing a lot of preening.

3 (10)This was kind of shadowed, but I think it is an osprey ~ looking for breakfast.

3 (11)At West Entrance we turned around and headed back toward Madison, then Gibbon Falls.

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5 (1)This was an incredibly beautiful falls because of the large, black rocks.

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5 (8)Pretty weeds on the edge of the falls.

5 (9)Our next stop was Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

Old Faithful ~ Day Two In Yellowstone

Tuesday, July 29

1We left the cabin early (about 6:45 AM) on Tuesday morning to get to Old Faithful before the crowds and saw this coyote a few minutes later. It was right next to our car (on Cerwin’s side), we were moving in opposite directions, and it was still a bit dark ~ my list of excuses for a blurry shot. 🙂

1aA few minutes later we saw these elk who were enjoying an early breakfast.

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1dWe arrived at Old Faithful Lodge about 7:30 AM, and were one of the first people to park in the large parking lot.

I want to thank a very negative woman we met in Cody who told me that she did not enjoy Yellowstone because of the crowds and that she didn’t see any animals. It was because of the “crowd comment” (and our experience the day before) that I suggested we go to see Old Faithful in the early morning, and Cerwin heartily agreed.

It is the best hint I can give you from our trip. Go to big tourist sights in Yellowstone in the early morning. Early morning is also a great time to see wildlife.

1cLook at the crowd in front of Old Faithful Lodge? The only person you see is Cerwin. 🙂

It was a cool rainy morning, so we went inside the lodge for coffee – which was occupied by only a few people, also enjoying coffee and waiting for Old Faithful to “do her thing.” We sat inside the large window on the left.

2 (1)We enjoyed visiting with this woman who was crocheting and drinking coffee while she waited.

2 (2)She asked me to take a picture with her camera, so she could show her crocheting friends. They like to take pictures of themselves crocheting in unusual places.

2 (3)People arrived as time went on, and as the geyser gave signs of erupting, they began moving toward it.

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4 (1)While we waited, I noticed that Old Faithful Inn (across the parking lot from Old Faithful Lodge) was looking pretty in some morning mist.

3aThere is no timeline for it to erupt into a plume of water and steam, but I read that it usually happens between 40 minutes and 140 minutes – and there were several false starts before it headed toward the sky.

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4 (3)I liked this picture because of the upside down umbrella. It was still cold and rainy.

4 (4)It is amazing to see!

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4 (8)Then ~ one minute later ~ it is over for another hour or so.

4 (9)By this time the rain had stopped, so we walked the designated trail surrounding Old Faithful.

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4 (14)Cerwin talking to a friendly ranger.

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4 (16)From a distance I thought all the dark spots were nuts, but as we go closer I heard birds.

4 (17)We laughed as this little chipmunk twisted and turned like she was posing for my camera.

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4 (20)Old Faithful always has a small amount of steam coming from it until she builds up pressure for another eruption.

4 (21)We were tempted to stay for another show, but decided there were still many other things to see in the park ~ like water falls and The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

Fountain Paint Pot Trail ~ Day 1 In Yellowstone

Monday, July 28

0As we approached Fountain Paint Pot area, we didn’t know what we were in for.

The parking lot was full of cars and buses, and we almost decided to leave ~ but then we saw an open spot and decided to park and see what it was all about.

1It turned out to be a favorite stop of the trip because this part of Lower Geyser Basin has all four hydrothermal features (mudpots, geysers, hot springs, and fumaroles) and you can see them all from a half-mile-long boardwalk loop.

1bThis is from Yellowstone information: A geyser is formed when water collecting below the surface is heated by a magma source. When the water boils, it rises to the surface. If there is an unobstructed path for the water, it will pool on the surface in the form of a steaming hot springs. When the pressure becomes too great, the water converts into to steam. Steam takes up 1,500 times the volume of water, and at this point, the pressure becomes so intense that the steam and surrounding water droplets shoot out of the ground in geyser form, erupting until the pressure has abated and the process starts all over again. A fumarole is like a geyser without all the water. Gas and steam escape through vents in the surface and can sound like roaring bellows. Fumaroles are the driest hydrothermal feature. The second driest are the mudpots which have less water than hot springs, but more than fumaroles. At Yellowstone, hydrogen sulfide gas that is emitted from underground becomes sulfuric acid and breaks down the surrounding stone into grey clay. The muddy pools bulge and burst in an entertaining display as gas bubbles erupt on the surface. Mud can spit several feet into the air and even end up on the boardwalk.

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2 (1)This must be a fumarole because there was a loud bellow emitting from somewhere under ground.

2 (6)You can tell that something happened, because trees once grew here.

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2b (4)Mudpots are fun to watch as gases gurgle into bubbles that break.

2b (6)I was fascinated by my pictures that showed the gas bubbles breaking.

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2cIt was interesting to read about the 1959 earthquake that changed the landscape here.

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3a (2)I enjoyed this place with its variety – even erupting geysers.

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3a (6)Back at the entrance: I liked this area with all its colors and reflections – even though some people may consider it rather ugly.

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4aCerwin taking luggage to our cabin.

Following our visit to Fountain Paint Pot, we headed to South Entrance where we had a cabin reserved at Flagg Ranch (two miles outside the park) for the next two nights. After the man at the desk asked for our name, and looked over the reservations, he asked if we wanted a free upgrade to a luxury cabin. “Of course”, we said, “We like free upgrades.”

We think they had overbooked regular cabins and since we were early we were in line for the upgrade. Later when we went back to the lodge for supper there was a long line of people at the registration desk.

4Our cabin.

4b (1)I was anxious to see inside.

4b (2)Luxury it was! We even had swan towels on our bed…

4b (3)…and a towel monkey hanging on the shower curtain rod. 🙂

44-1 (49)After unpacking some things, we went over to the lodge for supper. I loved this place!

Tomorrow I will tell you about our second day in the park.

Our First View Of Yellowstone

Monday, July 28

01-DSC_5772Our first entrance into Yellowstone was through the Northeast Entrance – about 10:00 AM on Monday.

02-DSC_5778We were soon rewarded with our first animal sighting when we saw herds of bison in Lamar Valley.

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06-DSC_5793This became an almost common experience in certain areas – bison on the road – as we spent several days in the park.

07-DSC_5796We saw a number of antelope, but they were not as common as bison.

10-DSC_5807Beautiful scenery as we traveled from Northeast Entrance to Mammoth Hot Springs.

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12-DSC_5816Mammoth Hot Springs seems to be a gathering place for elk.

13-DSC_5820This young male – just outside of town – seemed confused as he tried to cross traffic to be with the rest of his herd.

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15-DSC_5826One of the goals of our three-day visit to Yellowstone, was to travel every main road and see all the scenery possible, so when in Mammoth Hot Springs, we drove to North Entrance – which was only a few miles from town.

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17-DSC_5828 When here, we turned around and headed back to Mammoth Hot Springs.

18-DSC_5831I thought this “tree arch” was a pretty photo op.

19-DSC_5834More elk were heading to town when we arrived back in Mammoth Hot Springs.

21-DSC_5841Elk do not obey “Do Not Enter” signs.

24-DSC_58521:30 PM is not a good time to visit Mammoth Hot Springs as top tourist spots in Yellowstone are incredibly busy in the late morning and afternoon.

22-DSC_5846There were no parking spaces anywhere, but we were able to make very slow progress on the road surrounding the area and see a few sights from the car.

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26-DSC_5854Again, it is nearly impossible to capture the beauty of this area in photographs.

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More pictures of our first day in Yellowstone when I post another entry tonight.

We flew into Harrisburg at 11:00 PM last night. That means I can post on a more regular schedule – after I get acclimated to Eastern Standard time again.