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Old Faithful

Entered Yellowstone Park from the north entrance. Stopped at Mammoth Hot Springs and went for short hike to see the thermal springs. Andrew and Erin were quite fascinated by the sights and smell of sulpher.

Pressed on, had lunch at Canyon Village, then proceeded toward Old Faithful. Stopped along the way to see bear, deer and bison. One bison was quietly chewing its cud just 40 feet off the road. Also saw a mother bear and her two cubs up a tree. "Mom" was sleeping while her two cubs were climbing around on the branches. Checked in at the Old Faithful Inn, then walked over to the geyser. Within 15 minutes or so - Whoosh! Spectacular!

Next morning, while the rest of the family slept in, I started early. Up at 5:30 to get to the Photo Safari van by 6:00. There's half a dozen of us, plus the driver/guide, Mike. He's very good, for the next 5 hours we're treated to Yellowstone history and trivia and taken to some great photo spots.

Yellowstone Falls Steps at Yellowstone

Saw several bison up close, elk we could have walked right up to and touched; but we didn't. Deer, coyote, osprey. Visited geysers, mud pots, hot springs, pretty pools - too numerous to mention and many way off the beaten path. Mud pots involved a long hike up a hill and a rock strewn field.

Elk in Yellowstone

Back about 11:00 and met up with Diane, Andrew and Erin. Went off for our own little safari - Paint Pots and Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Left Yellowstone via the south entrance and drove the 100 miles or so to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Drove past the Tetons - really pretty. Took some great pictures from Oxbow Bend.

The Tetons from Oxbow Bend

Town is centered on a town square (the only one in Wyoming). At each corner, an arch made of antlers leading you into the nice little park. Extending for several blocks in each direction are shops and restaurants. Sidewalks are old west style board walks. It's just a really nice town.

One of the shops we wandered into specialized in fine leather and fur coats. Didn't buy anything, but had a nice chat with the owner. Diane asked him if there were any of the anti-fur loonies around here. He said, "Only animal activists around here are hunters." Yes! And speaking of animals, Diane and Erin went on a 2 hour horse back trail ride -- Erin loved it.

Erin on horseback   Diane and Erin

Next day, we went white water rafting day! All four us were with another family in an 8 man raft. Had a great time rafting down 8 miles of the Snake River. Half a dozen good rapids. Erin was a real trooper - she loved it. Diane and Andrew sat in front with Erin in the middle. Erin got really soaked, but laughed and giggled her way along.

Bison outside Jackson

Barn outside Jackson

And the finale of the trip, Fourth of July fireworks. Our trip was planned around being in Jackson for their Fourth of July celebration and fireworks. Unquestionably the best fireworks show I've ever seen. While the fireworks on the Mall in Washington DC back in '99 were bigger, they were much further away. These were up close and personal. We laid down in the park at the foot of the hill from which the fireworks were launched. You could see and hear the rockets being launched, even walk up near the launch tubes. They exploded right above our heads for twenty minutes.


And then, there these little things. In Pullman, Washington we saw about 20 or so little railroad engines. They're 6-10 feet long. Most of 'em yellow, but some blue. And here's Andrew in front of the largest in Canadian National markings. Really weird, stopped and took photos. Spoke with a guy working on one; seems there's a groups of collectors of these little speeders and they go from place to place in their little engines. Some hold only two people, some up to 4 or 5.