Day 27 – Lower Yellowstone And The Grand Tetons

Saturday, September 18, 2010
Miles To Date: 
3 514

Today was our second day in Yellowstone and we woke up in much nicer surroundings after changing motels yesterday. We ended up in a quaint cabin type motel, complete with decorations of moose and elk.

Our first major stop was the Grand Prismatic Spring, which is the largest of the volcanic springs in Yellowstone. It was huge and there was so much steam coming off it that we couldn’t even see the other side. This spring flowed into another large pool, before ending up in a nearby river via orange coloured streams – a definite highlight of the park!

Next we drove to the park’s most famous site: Old Faithful Geyser. This is a geyser which erupts roughly every 90 minutes, and shoots water around 20 feet up in the air. While we waited for it we heard a ranger talking about how the animals come to it in the winter for warmth (when its around –30 degrees) and to graze, since the snow cannot settle on such hot ground. Eventually it went off and it was quite a sight. It shot water and steam up into the air and the whole thing lasted for a couple of minutes. Afterwards we went to the accompanying exhibit to learn a bit more about how the volcanic processes work.

That was our last major stop of the park, and we then drove out via the south exit. On the way we passed Yellowstone lake to take some pictures. Once out the exit we drove down the John D Rockefeller Jr parkway, which links Yellowstone park with Grand Teton park. He was a famous philanthropist so I assume he had it built at some point to provide a link between the two. The rest of the day involved driving all the way through Grand Teton park to get to Jackson, Wyoming. The Tetons are a mountain range here, which are composed of sharp jagged peaks, and mountains which are used for skiing in the winter. A few of them reach over 12,000 ft.

The highlight of Grand Teton national park was a road called Signal Mountain, which as the name implies, climbs up to the peak of Signal Mountain. It was quite a long winding road but at the top were some amazing views of the entire surrounding area, including the whole of the Teton range.

We had originally planned to stay in Jackson but hotels there are extortionate (not helped by it being a Saturday night). We therefore booked a stop in Driggs, Idaho which is mainly a ski resort. To get here we had to drive a mountain pass through the Tetons. We did this as the sun was setting so there were some great views. Our motel is decorated like ski cabins and is one of the nicest we have stayed in so far. Tomorrow we are going back to Jackson and making our way to Pocatello, Idaho instead of Salt Lake City as originally planned.

Photo(s) of the day: the orange algae in front of the steaming Grand Prismatic Spring, Old Faithful erupting, and some of the Tetons as seen from Jackson Lake.