Sunday, September 18, 2016

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton mountains from Jackson Lake Lodge.Grand Teton National Park was the last destination of our Montana-Wyoming vacation. We spent three nights in Grand Teton, albeit in two different location to make the drive to the airport on our last day easier to avoid unexpected road blocks along the way.

From Jackson Lake.For the first two nights we opted in to stay at Flagg Ranch which is the same place we stayed at during our last visit to Grand Teton. Grand Teton National Park itself is pretty much adjacent to the southern end of Yellowstone. So Flagg Ranch is located on the northern end of the park and somewhere under 30 miles south of West Thumb — which is really on the southern end of Yellowstone — our last stop in Yellowstone itself, as Alёna wrote earlier.

Flagg Ranch cabins.We got to our cabins closer to the end of the day which we mostly spent in Yellowstone and were pretty tired. We had our dinner at the main lodge as there are zero other choices in a reasonable range. The food was nothing to write home about, but it wasn’t bad either. Soon after dinner we turned in for the night to recharge for park exploration on the next day.

Shore of Jackson Lake.We decided to set a hike along a trail on Jackson Lake as the goal for our day. The road through the park runs on the eastern side of Teton Range itself and magnificent views in the forms of lakes and vistas open up between you and the peaks of the mountains.

Throwing pebbles.The trail that we picked was in the Colter Bay area of Jackson Lake. There was a visitor center where we obtain a new set of stamps and acquired some Grand Teton National Park themed apparel. We also decided to eat lunch before heading out in order to avoid our awkward schedule of nobody being hungry for dinner in time.

Grand Teton National Park.The trails itself starts right near the visitor center and runs along the shore of the lake onto a peninsula. Once you make it to the west-most end of the peninsula itself you are presented with a grand view of the Teton Range reflecting in Jackson Lake.

Picking out pebbles.The water wasn’t as still as I wish it was and there was a considerable haze in the air. That seemed to be a theme throughout our stay at the park. On the beach itself though, while I was taking photographs, kids played in the sand and threw an uncountable quantity of pebbles into the lake.

Little boat.After we were done with this trail we drove south to Jenny Lake. Last time when we were here with Alёna in 2009 we took a ferry across the lake and then went on a trail up to some waterfall. The thing that I remember the most about that trail was a huge population of giant mosquitoes which that particular piece of the forest sported. Actually that’s not true. Last time mosquitoes were everywhere. Including at least 50 of them in our cabin at Flagg Ranch whom we proceeded to eradicate viciously with Eldar.

Jackson Lake shore trail.Anyhow — there was a lot of construction going on at Jenny Lake visitor area and we were all pretty tired either-way. So we settled for a set of new stamps and all the scenic views along the lake shore that we stopped at. However by that time the sun was shining directly into the lens along with all the haze presents a very challenging set of conditions for any decent photographs.

Tetons.We set course back north hoping to find a new place to have dinner at. We stopped by Jackson Lake Lodge which had multiple restaurants. Everything was extremely overpriced, so we decided to just go with Flagg Ranch dining room again.

Colter Bay.But at Jackson Lake Lodge one can walk out onto the back porch of the lodge which has one of the best vantage points to look at the mountains from. I remembered that this is exactly the place that I took a picture from the printout of which I had on my desk for the last 5 years or so.

Official Grand Teton National Park sign.Since the sun was still shining in our face we decided to make a stop here again the next morning on our way to Jackson for our last night stay of our road trip. The dinner we ate at Flagg Ranch, as I said, and for breakfast we stocked up on Cup-A-Noodle soups at the general store. These, for me, have a strong nostalgia feeling connected to our breakfasts in Shenandoah at the end of 2010.

Store. Great prices on awesome things.On the last day we did stop at Jackson Lake Lodge again for pictures and drove down to the town of Jackson via a route that runs through the town of Moran — a more eastern way to go than the route we took a day before. There were still numerous scenic overlooks that one can stop at — which we did — to take in the views of the mountains from all possible angles.

Janny Lake overlook.We grabbed some lunch at a visitor center near Moose — along with some stamps of course and decide to finish our Grand Teton stay with a place that we missed the last time around. There is an old abandoned Mormon town on the southern end of the park — Mormon Row with a number of old houses and barns. In fact one of those barns must be the most photographed barn in the world.

Jenny Lake.And that was pretty much it for the park. When we arrived to Jackson we checked into a huge two-story suite at Jackson Hole Lodge. This was probably the best setup for a family trip that we had — too bad we only had this for a single night.

View from Jackson Lake Lodge.Town of Jackson turned out to be a pretty busy place with a ton of people. It’s somewhat surprising seeing how it’s quite a long way away from Yellowstone and not all that close to most places in Grand Teton either. It’a great place to finish one’s trip, but not so much as a base of operations.

One of scenic stops.We went for a walk along the busy streets of the town, stopping a numerous souvenir and jewelry stores. But windows shopping was all we could afford as most prices really make no sense. Too much tourists equals to too high prices.

Mormon Row.Here, however, we ate probably the best dinner of our vacation. We stopped by a Spanish — as in Spain — tapas place called Bin 22. We ordered a bottle of Beaujolais wine and a good number of tapas. In fact we just tried to recreate the experience with Alёna yesterday in a placed called Brook Vin in Park Slope. Parents also enjoyed the experience very much which made us happy that we had them try something new.

Barn at Mormon Row.And then we walked to the central square of the town which had four sizable arches — on each corner — created of antlers collected at a nearby National Elk Refuge. The square, by the way, was full of people complete obsessed with Pokemon Go — it was that week when it just came out.

Jackson central square.The next morning Alёna and Arosha brought us all breakfast from a nearby bagel place. Afterwards we drove to the airport, turned in our banged up car without any hassles and boarded a plane to New York with a layover at Salt Lake City. There the flight was delayed many times so we arrived home very very late. Thus another one of our great road trips has concluded. Another trove of great memories.

Antler arches at Jackson Hole.

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Yellowstone 2016

Grand Prismatic Spring.Every time I speak about Yellowstone to people who have not visited the park, I tell them that it’s one of the most amazing places in the United States, and probably the whole world! I am so happy that we were able to visit it with our children and Daniеl’s parents. His dad read about Yellowstone in some Soviet Union magazine when he was still a boy, decades ago, and it left everlasting impression. Finally, he was able to see it with his own eyes, and his joy added to ours.

Road to Yellowstone.The road from Helena to Yellowstone took us through beautiful mountains. We stopped a few times to take pictures of the clean mountain rivers racing along the highway, of fresh green pine trees and bright blue skies.

First dinner at Madison Crossing.We arrived at the hotel in the late afternoon, and even though our rooms were not ready right away, we did not have to wait long for them. The hotel did not have interconnected rooms available, but they gave us two rooms next to each other. There was an unpleasant smell of tobacco smoke in Daniеl’s parents’ room, but luckily they were able to air it out to a tolerable state.

Dinner.We did not eat lunch, so everybody was pretty hungry. We decided to check out the West Yellostone Visitor Center first — it was within a walking distance from our hotel. We got our stamps (Anюta kept asking for a passport, but we did not get it for her until later in the trip), and got a map of the park.

Old Faithful trail.We decided to eat at Madison Crossing Restaurant based on TripAdvisor reviews, but it only opened up at 5pm, so we had to wait for about 40 minutes. Kids were really hungry and whiny at that point, so t. Oksana, me and the children made a short trip to the local supermarket and got some bananas and the like, while Danya and his dad went to look for a post office.

Boiling water.Needless to say that everyone survived until dinner, which was absolutely worth the wait. Madison Crossing Lounge is located in the building which used to be the first West Yellowstone School. The beer was good, the food (I ordered ratatouille risotto for myself and steak for the children) was delicious and the server was attentive and friendly. We got some ice cream after dinner, and went back to the hotel to rest. The children went to the pool for a short while and we went to sleep.

Bacteria life.The night turned out to be more eventful than we hoped it would be. At some point I was woken up from sleep by Danya, who thought that Arosha was peeing on the floor for some unknown reason. I jumped out of bed still disoriented, and it took us some time to realize that both our children were sound asleep. The noise that we heard was that of the water flowing from the ceiling through our smoke alarm. We put a bucket under the stream, and Daniеl went outside to investigate what’s going on after his attempts to reach the administration of the hotel by phone have failed.

Doublet Pool.To make long story short, he did found the staff member in a room above the parents’ room. Parents had “rain” from the ceiling as well. Something happened in the room above, and both of our rooms got affected. Luckily for us, the water stopped flowing soon. Not so luckily for parents, it happened again in a few hours. So they had a pretty sleepless night.

Spasmodic Geyser.The next morning the administration said that they can move us, but we had to wait since the whole hotel was booked. We agreed to stay in the same rooms granted there will be no more midnight awakenings. They also promised to take care of us, which at the end came up to a $70 discount per each room (roughly 30% of the cost). I have to say that I don’t think that the 30% discount of one night (we stayed there for 5) is adequate, and we argued our case with the staff at the checkout time (since management was not available), but to no avail.

Chromatic Spring.Next morning after breakfast we drove to the park itself. I have to say that this year the park seemed extremely crowded, much more so than I remember from our first visit seven years ago. We decided to start with the geysers, and it took us nearly 2 hours to get there from the park entrance. It was also difficult to find parking, but we got lucky eventually.

Non-irrupting Giant Geyser.We started with the visitor center, and found out to our disappointment, that none of the predictable geysers, with the exception of Old Faithful of course, were going to erupt in the next few hours. The Old Faithful was about to start, so we waited for a little while and watched it go off. To be honest, it was not very impressive not just to us, but to all other members of our party.

Morning Glory Pool.I was hoping that Daniеls’ parents will be more excited to see colorful bacterial pools, chromatic springs and other thermal wonders one can see at the park. And so they were! If geysers left them quite indifferent, pretty much all other things left them impressed. I think their favorite thing of all was the Great Prismatic Spring.

Us by Morning Glory.We spent a significant amount of time walking the trail from the Old Faithful to the Morning Glory Pool. We stopped often to admire the views and to take pictures. It was hot and sunny, but not too bad overall. When we headed back, we took a different, shorter trail.

Crowd waiting for Old Faithful eruption.By the time we reached the Old Faithful, it was about time for it to erupt again, so we decided to wait and see it once more. The geyser erupted about 20 minutes later than predicted, so we ended up sitting in a big crowd of people for the total of 40 minutes.

Old Faithful Geyser.One good thing that came out of the waiting though was that after the Old Faithful was done, another geyser, the Beehive, went off. It was higher and stronger than Old Faithful, and Danya and I have not seen it in the past. It erupts once every 16-18 hours or even less frequently and is not predictable. We watched it for a few minutes from a distance and then decided to take a closer look and maybe take some pictures. By the time we got close, it stopped. Oh well. It was still somehow very exhilarating to see it.

Old Faithful Geyser.Because of the traffic and a long walk, we skipped lunch, so by the time we got back to town everyone was ravenous. We planned to go to Madison Crossing again, but to our surprise it was closed. On our way to the restaurant, Danya has noticed that none of the traffic lights were working, so the closed restaurant confirmed out fears — there was a blackout!

Beehive Geyser.We went to the hotel and went to look for food by foot. Daniеl suggested that town’s pizzerias might be still open, since they were the only restaurants open during the blackout in Brooklyn in the past. We tried calling two pizzerias we found in the town phone book, but with no luck.

Old Faithful visitor center.When we passed the first place, there was a big line. There was also a big line across the street from it next to some barbecue place. We then proceeded to check the supermarket (closed), baker shop (closed) and another pizzeria (only serving alcohol), and returned back to the first pizzeria.

Traffic-causing deer.To our luck, at that particular moment not only there was no line, but a table big enough for all of us just freed up. We were very happy to go there, even though they warned us that they only have spaghetti and a simple salad on the menu. And of course, they only excepted cash (luckily we had some for situations like this one). They also had cold beer, which went very well with our pastas.

Grand Prismatic Spring.The next day we decided to explore the Grand Prismatic Spring. There was traffic again, but it was not as bad as on the previous day. I was really looking forward to see this magical place, and I am happy to say that everyone was really in awe of its beauty.

Units by Grand Prismatic Spring.For me personally this time around it was slightly less enjoyable to be there due to huge crowds. There were just so many people, and I also was constantly worried about the children falling off the trail into the thermal ground, so I could not fully immerse in its beauty. I don’t know if its a common trend in all the major parks, but there seem to be a huge number of Asian tourists in Yellowstone. I wonder if with growing affluence of Chinese they travel around the world more. And Yellowstone is really a place worth visiting!

Excelsior Geyser.After the Grand Prismatic, we decided to drive to Yellowstone Lake Lodge to have lunch — it was not easy for children to skip them. On our way we had to stop due to bison crossing the road. To our luck, one of the huge bison bulls decided that he does not like our car too much. He stopped right in front of it, started to make scary snorting sounds and was flicking his tail up and down. Also his eyes were getting redder and redder. In all honesty, I got really scared. I even asked d. Borya to close the windows, just in case.

Crowds on a narrow trail.The park ranger noticed a situation escalation, and came to our rescue. She did scare the bison successfully, but managed to ram our car in the process. Not only she rammed into us, but she also increased the damage by driving forward, instead of backing out. Danya got really angry and upset, and before I saw the damage with my own eyes, I thought that the car was in not drivable condition anymore. Luckily for us, this was not the case. Yes, the car was scratched and damaged a little, but we still could continue on our journey.

Yellowstone Lake.We had to spend nearly two hours filing the accident report with park rangers. They said that they were sorry this happened to us, but good thing is that nobody got hurt. The ranger who helped us with paperwork also showed me a hole in his car, which was a result of a bison attack. So at the end, I suppose that being rammed by ranger is still preferable than being rammed by bison.

Lunch by Yellowstone Lake.The worst thing about an accident was that it cast a shadow on the rest of the trip for Danya. During the next day he called our insurance company, and the rental company, and was still not sure if we would have to pay extra money to either one of those agencies.

Bisons are no longer our friends.By the time we got to the Yellowstone lodge, the only place where we can get any food was a self-service cafeteria with a poor selection. So much for driving there to have a nice lunch. Oh well.

Yellowstone Falls.After that we went to see the Yellowstone Canyon. The views were quite glorious, especially one of the waterfall overlooks, where one can see the falls close up from above and feel the power of nature.

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.On our way home we got stuck in another traffic jam. This time it was deers and inconsiderate people, who were stopping to snap pictures of them and blocking the ongoing traffic. Luckily, at some point park rangers came to the rescue and dispersed the crowd.

Brink of the Upper Falls trail.We went to the pools in the hotel, and due to late lunch, we skipped dinner. I had some nuts and bananas left for the kids, and Daniеl’s mom bought them pop-corn from the vending machine. To be honest, all this dinner skipping worked out not too bad for me, Danya and his dad — all of us shed a few pounds during this trip.

Brink of the Upper Falls.The following day we decided to drive to see the Mammoth Springs. The drive was pretty long, but I remember being pretty impressed with that place back in 2009. This time around the hot springs did not leave as big an impression on me. I am not sure if they changed, but in my memory there was more water flowing down the steps. It was also very hot, which made me want to get to the shade sooner rather than later.

Mammoth Hot Springs.We had a nice lunch in the nearby lodge, which resulted in another skipped dinner later on.

Mammoth Hot Springs trail.After lunch, we drove to the Porcelain Basin side of Norris Geyser Basin. By the way, the Norris Geyser Basin national park stamp was the only Yellowstone park stamp missing from Danya’s collection, so he was happy to get it. We walked the trail and it was really interesting to see some things, for example two streams of water with different temperature, which have different colors, becoming one stream with two distinct color patterns depending on the exact water temperature of the stream in specific places (so-called natural thermometer).

Mammoth Hot Springs.We decided to take it slow the next day. Everyone was tired of driving and traffic and heat. One of the things that was suggested to us by the owners of not-so-Best Western, was to visit Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center which is located literally 5 minutes away from the hotel. After reading about it, we thought that it will be fun for the children — we were hoping that they could take part in the hiding bear food program for little children, but all the spots for that morning were already reserved.

Porcelain Basin trail.As it turned out, this was a blessing in disguise, since the program was obviously designed for older children. The center employee was talking to the group of about 20 kids for almost an hour — Arosha and especially Anюta would have expired long before the actual food hiding took place.

Porcelain Basin trail.Danya’s parents skipped the center and just waited for us outside. They did not miss much, although I have no regrets of going there. We saw a bunch of birds of prey, all of them rescued after being damaged by one kind of human activity or another. Pretty much all of them would have died in the wild if it was not for the center. Bird which impressed me the most was a huge eagle who is a few decades old.

Porcelain Basin trail.The children were most impressed by the imitation of the wolf den. They climbed inside multiple times and were very sad to leave it. I think one of the reasons it fascinated them so much is that we recently read “The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling, so they instantly thought of Mowgli — a boy, who was brought up by the wolves.

Nature's thermometer at Porcelain Basin.I personally really wanted to see wolves up close, since I’ve never seen one in the wild (we did later on that trip, but it was far away). As expected, they looked so much like dogs. After being brought up on the fairy tales about bad wolves, it’s fascinating to realize how important they are for the ecosystem and hear wolf-reintroduction success stories, namely the Yellowstone one. Still, looking at animals in captivity is sad as opposed to the excitement of seeing them in the wild.

Crackling Lake on Porcelain Basin trail.After the Discovery Center, we drove to Idaho. Why? Just because it was one of the states we have not set foot in, and we wanted to change that. We took a few pictures by the welcome sign, and stopped at the nearest gas station.

Weird looking puddle at Porcelain Basin.It was lunch time, so we decided to buy something there. There was not much choice, but Danya, his parents and Anюta settled on hot dogs. Arosha and I are not huge fans of those, so we had to look for something else. Arosha ended up buying a can of beans (luckily, the store owners lent us a can opener), which he devoured with such pleasure, it made me envious. I snacked on leftover almonds, which we bought a few days ago in a supermarket.

Porcelain Basin overlook.We did not do much afterwards, but relaxed in the not-so-Best Western. We ate dinner at Madison Crossing again, and got ice cream in the parlor across the street.

Wolf den at Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center.We planned to go to the pool in the evening, and so we did, but unfortunately the hot tub was broken, so the water was lukewarm. I did not even get in, but Danya, his dad and the children did. They got very cold in the end and were shivering by the time they reached the hotel room. The nice thing about that part of the country is that even though days are hot, the air really cools down by night. Of course, it does not work so well for the outside pool, but luckily they got very cold just that one time.

Wolf at Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center.Next morning we checked out and headed for the Grand Tetons National Park. We tried to get a better deal on the bill from the owners, but they were not there, and even though they were supposed to call back, of course they did not. We decided not to pursue the issue any further, but I would recommend that hotel only if all other choices are obviously worse.

Entering Idaho!The road to Grand Tetons went through the park, and we were hoping to see the Grand Geyser, which was scheduled to erupt approximately around the time we would get to it. What do you know? We saw it, but from the car on the road. It went off on the early side of its 7 hour cycle, so we were literally 5 minutes too late to see it up close. Oh well.

And back to Montana.From our previous trip I remember a beautiful lake, which is located right on continental divide and is covered by yellow pond lilies. It is called Isa lake. What I did not know before, is that it drains to both Pacific and Atlantic oceans. How fascinating! And not only that, but what makes it unique is the fact that its east side drains to Pacific and its west side drains to Atlantic — a full reverse of what one would expect. We stopped on Isa lake again for a short break.

Isa Lake.After that we had an early lunch at Grant Village, which is located on the shore of Yellowstone lake.

Lakeshore Geyser.Later, we backtracked to the West Thumb Basin, where we took a nice trail. I really liked the area. We’ve been there before with Danya, but we missed half of the cool stuff, such as Lakeside Geyser, Fishing Hole Geyser (apparently, fishermen used to boil freshly caught fish there a 100 years ago), Black Hole Geyser (which is actually a vibrant aquamarine color and just looks so deep) and other fascinating thermal pools and springs which I don’t know by name.

Black Pool.Later, Danya, his mom and I took a half an hour trail to Duck Lake. Daniеl’s dad stayed behind with the children, who were tired and preferred to play in the picnic area under nice shade of pine trees.

By Black Pool.The trail was nice and secluded, and we have not met any other people on our way to and from. There were multiple bear warning signs, so we tried to be loud and talked to each other all the time just in case. We met no bears either.

Duck Lake.The lake was peaceful and beautiful, and I had an urge to wade through its clean waters if only for a few minutes.

Duck Lake trail.When we returned, we saw a very funny looking geyser, which was spitting out mud. It was bubbling almost all the time, and it also smelled pretty bad. Needless to say, everyone liked it, especially the children.

Mud pot at West Thumb parking lot.This concluded our Yellowstone part of the trip.

Yellowstone sign.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Montana & Wyoming National Parks

This is a vacation that we were planning to take for several years now and it’s finally booked. The main point of this trip is going to be Yellowstone National Park. While Alёna and I have been to Yellowstone before, my dad always wanted to visit it as well. It’s going to be an interesting destination for our kids too. I, on the other hand, wanted to visit Glacier National Park in Montana for a while now, so this trip is it.

This is the first road trip that all six of us are going on. Original plan was to fly up to Calgary and explore Banff National Park in addition to everything else, but it turned out that renting a car in Canada and returning it in U.S. is not easily achievable. So we decided to nix Canada and start from Great Falls in Montana instead. And we’ll finish in Jackson Hole of Wyoming.

As expected there are no direct flights1 to either of these locations, but we’ll save time on having to drive to any big destination such as Salt Lake City. We also have reserved a humongous SUV for this trip — Chevy Suburban2 or similar. Seven seats and plenty of luggage room. I wish we could fit into something smaller such as Tahoe, but we’ll probably have to take a look and see if it’s feasible at the rental place.

So on July 14th we arrive to Great Falls. We rent a car and drive north to East Glacier Park Village — a town on the edge of Glacier National Park. We’ll be staying here for 3 nights3 and we’ll explore different parts of the park from here. On July 17th we start our drive south, but in order to break up the trip we’ll spend one night4 in Helena — the capital of Montana.

On July 18th we arrive to Yellowstone. We’ll be staying here for 5 nights5 in a little town right on the edge of the park called West Yellowstone. There is a lot to explore, but kids can only take so much in a day, so we figure 5 days should be good. And we opted in for a regular hotel instead of a lodge because lodges typically don’t have pools. And kids love pools.

And on July 23rd we arrive to Grand Teton National Park — a really short drive from Yellowstone. It’s actually right to the south of it. We’ll be staying here for 2 nights6 at the same exact place that we stayed at with Eldar back during our 2009 trip. This was the most affordable place even though it’s a bit farther out than the rest of the lodging.

And our last night we are planning to spend in the town of Jackson itself to save ourselves a drive on the day of our flight back home.

  1. Delta from JFK — $593 per person and we need tickets for both of our kids now. []
  2. Alamo — $885 with all the taxes and fees included. []
  3. Glacier Park Lodge — $640 per room for 3 nights with all the taxes. []
  4. Hampton Inn Helena — $147 for the night. []
  5. Best Western Weston Inn — $1,108 for 5 nights with taxes per room. []
  6. Headwaters Lodge & Cabins at Flagg Ranch — $434 for 2 nights per room. []

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Yellowstone Trip Video

Here’s our trip video compilation. These short clips were taken with the use of iPhone 3GS and I’m very glad we were able to do it. Some of these things just can’t be captured fully enough with photos alone.

Be sure to click the “HQ” button to see it in high quality. There are also captions in English included. If they don’t come on automatically do turn them on.
In: Travel   Tags: , , , ,
Time: 13:08   Comments: 3 Comments   Post a Comment  

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Friday, July 31, 2009

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park. View from Jackson Lake Lodge.Second part of our road trip was dedicated to exploring Grand Teton National Park which is located directly south of Yellowstone. We left out most of Wednesday (excluding the small drive to reach it in the morning) and an early part of Thursday for this task.

Cabins at Flagg Ranch Resort.We started the day off by eating a breakfast at Grand Village and driving south to our next lodge — Flagg Ranch Resort, picking up 2 last Yellowstone stamps on our way. Check-in was quick, but we were quite shocked when we got to our cabin. It was completely infested with mosquitoes. About 40 of them at least. We tried killing them off, but they would just not end, and they kept biting us in the process. Alёna especially.

Grand Teton mountains. View from Leeks Marina.I was really angered by this, so I called the front desk. I was informed of the fact that they can not spray mosquitoes because they are located inside the national park and that I can have my money back. mad shock Luckily after that they connected me with a manager, who switched out our cabin. Quite honestly we expected to see the same thing, but the other room was good. I guess somebody left the door open in the other one, hence the problem. Either way I would think twice before staying there again.

Grizzly bear.However for all the time that we wasted there we were handily rewarded. We got into the car and drove off in the direction of Jackson Lake. Right when we got onto the main road I noticed that there was a traffic behind us. I don’t remember any construction being there, when we passed that piece of road an hour ago, I thought to myself, and then it clicked. “Turn around!” Eldar made a U-turn and we started looking.

Grizzly bear was not more than 2 meters away from the road.People were cautious. Everyone was taking pictures, but nobody was getting out of the car. And they had a good reason not to! There was a grizzly bear right by the side of the road! We couldn’t believe our bear luck. We took another a million photos yet again, and made several video clips. He was not 2 meters away from us. This encounter made it all worth it. And if it wouldn’t be for the problems at the lodge we would’ve left long time before that and would’ve missed everything.

Hiking around Jenny Lake.After that we made a bunch of stops at all visitor center collecting the stamps, and took some photos of the mountains from the outlooks alongside the road. Our next point of interest was Hidden Falls. Half a mile hike from Jenny Lake.Jenny Lake, where we were planning to take a 2 mile hike around the lake and another half a mile to Hidden Falls. There is a ferry running for those who want to avoid this 2 mile hike, but we enjoyed it a lot. We did take the ferry back.

Now for all the falls we’ve seen inside Yellowstone this one impressed us much more. It wasn’t the fact that it was bigger or wider, but we were standing right at the bottom of the follows starring right at them. The others we saw from quite a big distance and it was OK, but this was certainly impressive. A big river crashing down from the top of the mountain right at your foot. Well worth the trip. The only annoying thing were swarms of blood thirsty mosquitoes all over the place.

Grand Teton Mountains reflecting in Jackson Lake.At this point we drove back up, ate a nice dinner at Flagg Ranch restaurant and turned in for the night, for tomorrow we had a long drive ahead of us, back to Colorado.

Grand Teton and Middle Teton mountains in the background.Thursday morning we made another pass through some outlooks to take shots of the mountains while they were lighted by morning sun from the east. We also stopped by Jackson Lake Lodge and I imagine it would be a hell of a place to stay at. The views from there were magnificent as well.

Rainbow in the sky. I've never seen anything like this before.Soon after we left the great parks of Wyoming and set out on our way. We took a slightly different route back and the views where great for the most part of the drive. On the way there we were driving mostly through huge plains and here we were surrounded by ever changing mountains. I don’t remember anything more about the drive back, but the fact that we placed through a “town” called Muddy Gap. Must be a nice place to live at. o.O

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Friday, July 31, 2009

Верхнее Кольцо

The floor of Mammoth Hot Springs.Даня уже написал о нашей поездке по верхнему кольцу, поэтому я просто оставлю пометки о наиболее запомнившемся, не соблюдая хронологический порядок. )

Alёna on the flower field.Мне ну очень нравились поля с луговыми цветами! Еще мне понравилось то, что во второй день мы увидели очень много бизонов и мелких бизонят.

Baby bison.Я была впечатлена “встречей” с медведем! Думаю, мои впечатления были бы совсем иного рода, если бы он повстречался нам одним просто в лесу… ) Всё-таки хоть многие медведи и привыкли к людям и практически не обращают на них внимания, они не перестают от этого быть дикими и непредсказуемыми зверьми.

Bison.И к бизонам у меня тоже абсолютно не было желания подходить близко; некоторые смельчаки, однако, мой страх не разделяли. По-моему, просто глупо так рисковать здоровьем и жизнью. )

Водопад в каньоне мне тоже понравился — в первую очередь, пожалуй, желтоватым цветом скал. Для меня это зрелище было чем-то новеньким.

Us at Mammoth Hot Springs.Еще мне понравились Mammoth Hot Springs. Не знаю какие правильнее использовать слова для описания — у меня в памяти остались мраморно-белые вперемежку с кирпично-оранжеватыми ступени со струящейся по ним водой от которой подымается пар.
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Upper Loop

Huge bison with some grass stuck in his mouth. And yes, definitely HIS.For our last full day in Yellowstone we had several objectives — see Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Mammoth Hot Springs, Tower Falls and as many animals as possible. We also wanted to collect the remaining stamps.

Alёna on one of the flower covered hills.Our first stop was Canyon Visitor Center. We discovered that we passed the canyon itself a while back, but since we would have to take the same route home we decided to proceed to Tower Falls. The road there passed through some of the highest mountains we had to go through in the park and all Tower Falls.the hills were covered in a thick layer of flowers of different kinds and colors.

The falls themselves were nice, but it was hard to impress us at this point after we’ve seen all the stuff that Yellowstone is really famous for. The part of the canyon here was pretty deep, but again, it got nothing on the actual Grand Canyon.

Next point on the map was Lamar Valley. We were told that it would be the best place to spot animals and it was also a location of hard to find stamp. Of course we wanted to see bears more than anything. Yellowstone, after all, is home to black and grizzly bears. Second on our list was a moose, then wolfs and coyotes and we have seen several bison by now.

Small potion of a large bison herd.What we didn’t expect was to see huge fields filled with bison. Big and small, young and old. Huge herds roam the lands of Yellowstone. We also managed to spot several more pronghorn antelopes, and we saw a bull elk with huge horns hiding in the forest behind the trees. But alas, no bears.

Deer chilling near Mammoth Hot Springs Visitor Center.Our next destination was Mammoth Hot Springs. On our way there we encountered massive traffic. This usually is a sign of construction or an animal sighting. Seeing people running around and looking into the mountains I decided that I need to join the “search” party.

I saw one guy pointing into the distance, but I couldn’t see anything. I started using my 200mm lens that I had on the camera as a telescope and what do I see? Two round brown ears sticking out from behind an old thump. Could it be?

An awesome black bear of brown color. Don't ask.And right after that our fuzzy brown friend decided to come out. I started yelling for Alёna and Eldar to drop everything and come see. It was a real wild bear roaming in the forest and paying absolutely no attention to all the people and their cars. We took several million shots and got back into the car. Our level of excitement was over the top. We were simply ecstatic.

At Mammoth Hot Springs Visitor Center we showed the pictures to a ranger and she told us that it was a black bear and taught us to tell the difference. Grizzlies have a noticeable hump on their back, smaller ears and are more uniform in color.

Mammoth Hot Springs.Then we drove up to the upper trail of Mammoth Hot Springs and took a short hike. Surprisingly (we thought we saw everything) we did end up liking the formation. Sadly our pictures didn’t capture the beauty of it.

And that was it for the main objectives. We arrived too late to Norris to get our last 2 stamps, but we had plenty already, so it was not important.

Roaring Mountain is so hot that nothing grows on it.On our way back we stopped by Roaring Mountain — apparently an extremely hot mountain which nothing can grow on and it produces a hissing sound from all the vents that are located on it.

Canyon by Tower Falls.We did stop by a canyon on our way back and saw 2 pretty big waterfalls, but we were tired for any hiking and the sun light was coming right from behind the falls, which pretty much guarantees bad shots.

River goes in loops.We also saw a lot of beautiful landscapes and again got stuck on our way back because of another huge herd of bison chilling on the side of the road. Naturally massive traffic formed.

The day was over. We managed to get to our hotel 10 minutes before the restaurant closure, ate our dinner and took off to beds. This was our last night at Shoshone Lodge and the next day we set out to Grand Teton National Park.
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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Geysers & Grand Prismatic Spring

Yellowstone Lake in the background.В районе “Old Faithful” гейзера было очень много народа. Ну оно и понятно — всё-таки в Yellowstone находится, если я не ошибаюсь, одно из всего 4-х мест в мире известных такими скоплениями гейзеров. Мы с ребятами за 2.5 часа прогулок по этой территории успели увидеть как изверглись 4 из 5 предсказуемых гейзеров. Но начну по-порядку.

“Old Faithful” — это самый предсказуемый гейзер Йеллоустонского парка. Он извергается примерно раз в 1.5 часа и предсказать момент извержения можно с точностью до 20 минут (то есть +/-10 минут от Near Chromatic Spring.ожидаемого времени). В visitor центре расположенном в этом районе висит расписание ожидаемых извержений 5 гейзеров (Old Faithful, Castle, Grand, Daisy и Riverside); расписание это в течение дня постоянно обновляется работниками центра (так как в нём указано только следующее извержение +/- погрешность и средний интервал между извержениями).

Когда мы прибыли в зону гейзеров, до извержения “Old Faithful” оставалось около часа. Мы решили, что зря время терять не стоит и пошли исследовать другие плюющиеся кипятком источники. Солнышко Boardwalk trails near Old Faithful.жарило вовсю, поэтому Дане, несмотря на слабые протесты, я намазала солнцезащитным кремом все открытые участки кожи, а вот себе по глупости только лицо. Эльдар вообще отказался мазаться кремом (ну мы не ожидали, что прогулка затянется больше чем на часик), о чём впоследствии пожалел, ибо поджарился он почти до хрустящей корочки.

Как и во многих других частях парка, гулять возле гейзеров можно было только по деревянным дорожкам. Мы решили посмотреть “Morning Glory Pool” — очень красивый и довольно известный источник, расположенный на довольно приличном расстоянии от “Old Faithful”. По дороге мы видели много ярких источников, в которых живут разноцветные бактерии, а так же кучу мелких гейзерчиков (один из них — “насос” — даже немного нам пофырчал).

Us during Grand Geyser eruption.Когда мы дошли до Grand гейзера то увидели там большую толпу народа. Табличка с информацией о гейзере оповестила нас, что до ожидаемого извержения остаётся где-то пол часа. Так как взрывается Grand гейзер гораздо реже чем Old Faithful, мы решили не упускать такую возможность и присоединились к терпеливой группе людей. Гейзер словно дразнил нас — время от времени он начинал побулькивать, и все хватались за камеры и фотоаппараты, но после нескольких минут такая ленивая деательность останавливалась, и все со вздохами продолжали ожидание.

Castle Geyser.Тем не менее через общанных 30 минут мы увидели потрясающее шоу (мне вспомнились танцующие фонаты возле Беладжио в Лас Вегасе) — с шипящим звуком мощные струи воды подлетали Bacteria. We think.вверх и водяная пыль летела с ветром на возбуждённых зрителей. Стоит отметить, что струи воды не били одним потоком, а как бы стреляли залпами (на видео будет понятно что я имею ввиду). Мне показалось, что Old Faithful извергался более сплошным потоком (без “залпов”).

Я была приятно удивлена продолжительностю извержения гейзера — вместо ожидаемых мной минуты-двух он извергался добрых 10-15 минут, так что мы успели и налюбоваться, и нафотографировать его, и сделать слишком длинное видео. )

Giant Geyser.Во время извержания Grand гейзера заработал и Castle гейзер (который извергается еще реже — где-то раз в 13 часов). Его мы видели довольно хорошо, хоть и на расстоянии.

Дальше мы остановились сделать несколько снимков Giant гейзера, который нельзя предсказать. Последний раз он извергался в феврале (не помню точную дату). Ну что ж — кому-нибудь да повёзет увидеть извержение и этого чуда природы. )

Near Morning Glory Pool.Когда мы дошли до Morning Glory Pool мы не были разочарованы — на самом деле красивое место. Сделав пару снимков, мы отправились обратно, и по дороге увидели извержение Riverside Geyser.еще одного гейзера — Riverside. Такого восторга как первый раз уже не было, но мы всё равно были очень рады снова полюбоваться этим необычным зрелищем.

Когда мы дошли до Old Faithful, до его извержения оставалось всего 15 минут. Мы потратили это время на пополнение запасов жидкости в организме и покупку мороженного (ну как же без него!). ) Посмотрев на Old Faithful, который не подвёл нас и выстрелил вовремя, мы сели в машину и поехали смотреть на Grand Prismatic Spring.

Near Grand Prismatic Spring.Большой призматический источник запал мне в душу глубоко и надолго своей необычной, какой-то прямо сюрреалистичной красотой. Над довольно большим озером поднимался разноцветный пар (в зависимостси от того, над каким цветом отражался свет), а я не могла глаз оторвать от этого зрелища. Хотя бы ради того, чтобы увидеть этот призматический источник стоит посетить Йеллоустоун!

Red and blue fog over Grand Prismatic Spring.После источника мы еще остановились посмотреть на кипящую глину — тоже интересно. )

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lower Loop & Old Faithful

Chromatic Spring.We made our way to the lower loop without many stops on the way. We took several shots near the Yellowstone Lake and the first thing that fascinated us was Steamboat Point — a place with holes in the ground and vapor coming out of them. We also had our first bison encounter early on — one of many to come.

We stopped at several locations to collect the stamps including Fishing Bridge and West Thumb.

Pools and springs at West Thumb.West Thumb itself was our first actual stop and a short hike. We were amazed. The area was filled by pools about 3-5 meters in diameter. Each one was bubbling, producing vapor or both. The water was mostly clear and they had all kinds of peculiar shapes.

Spring near Old Faithful.Next stop was the biggest stop of the day — Old Faithful Geyser. Old Faithful goes off every 90 minutes plus or minus 10 minutes. There are several other predictable geysers, but they don’t off as often and can’t be predicted as precisely. By the time we got to Old Faithful it had more than an hour before the next eruption.

People waiting for Grand Geyser to go off.So we decided to take a hike around the area. It was all covered by small and big geysers, all kinds of pools and other amazing things. One could easily think that this is not Earth, if it wouldn’t be for hoards of people and green forest surrounding it all on the edges.

Grand Geyser erupting.We were walking amongst all these weird things until we reached Grand Geyser. By the plaque placed next to it, it would seem that it’s coming out of it’s plus or minus 2 hour window of eruption and still haven’t gone out yet. So we decided to wait. After waiting for about 30 minutes under a scorching sun it gave us a hell of a show. We witnessed the eruption of the biggest predictable geyser and it was definitely worth it.

Morning Glory.Meanwhile Castle Geyser started erupting behind us. Luckily for all of you reading this we were bright enough to remember that we can make some videos with iPhones, as it’s hard to describe all this with words. We’ll make a compilation of videos and post it later on.

We proceeded with our hike all the way until the end where we saw a pool called Morning Glory. Saw several Old Faithful Geyser.other geysers erupt on our way. Overall we walked for several miles and spend about 2 and a half hours here, which resulted in some sun-burn, even though we did use sun block before hand.

And by the time we were done with our hike Old Faithful eruption finished off our tour of this area.

Our next stop was Excelsior Geyser and Grand Prismatic Spring. The spring was not any less impressive than the geysers we saw near Old Faithful. The colors were just amazing and the fog rising from it was colored as well, probably by sunlight reflecting of the ground. It was extremely beautiful.

Hot springs coming off Excelsior Geyser into Firehole River.Afterward we checked out some bubbling mud and took a western exit out of the park, towards West Yellowstone. Town of West Yellowstone is located in Montana and we got yet another stamp here.

Excelsior Geyser Crater.On our way back we got stuck in traffic created by a herd of bison crossing the river. We haven’t seen so many cows anywhere as there were bison. As we later discovered there are just fields filled with bison in Yellowstone.

Grand Prismatic Spring.This effectively made us late for our 9pm dinner, but we were lucky enough to find an open restaurant in one of the lodges in the park. We were so hungry that barely warm prime rib tasted like the best steak I ever ate. Eldar was even more impressed. )

We got back to our lodge after 10pm. We were extremely tired from all the walking, driving and somewhat painful sunburn that we feel asleep quickly and slept very well. It was a great day.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Steamboat Point & West Thumb

Us near one of the pools at West Thumb.В понедельник мы планировали встать в 8 утра. К счастью, мой телефон, на котором был поставлен будильник, запутался во временных зонах и прозвенел на час раньше. Кстати, сотовой связи в нашей гостинице не было, так что родителям Даня звонил с “общественного” телефона. Мы позавтракали, собрались (на всё ушло часа 2) и поехали изучать парк.

Lilly pond near the Continental Divide.Shoshone Lodge находится всего в 3 милях от восточного вьезда в парк, но на самом деле это рассторяние немного обманчиво. Дело в том, что парк очень большой, и основные достопримечательности находятся на так называемых кольцах — верхнем и нижнем. До края нижнего кольца от ближайшего к нам вьезда в парк надо было ехать аж целых 27 миль — вроде и не так много, но по извилистым горным дорогам и немало. Если честно, меня это лишнее рассторяние нисколько не расстроило. )

Steamboat Point.Мы не были точно уверены с какого кольца следует начать осмотр парка — с нижнего, боллее большого, на котором находятся главные достопримечательности парка (гейзеры, призматические озёрами, сероводородные источники), или с верхнего, тоже интересного, но чуть менее примечательного кольца. Девушка-рэнджер, работница одного из многочисленных информационных центров функтионирующих на территории парка, посоветовала нам начать с нижнего кольца. Так как её совет был вполне резонным, мы так и поступили.

Raven at Steamboat Point.Йеллоустоун, который является певым национальным парком Америки, был основан в марте 1872 года. Парк бы основан в окреснотях “Yellowstone River”, октуда и идёт его название. Почему-то до поезки я представляла, что парк будет завален жёлтыми камнями. ) Моя фантазия в этот раз меня подвела, хотя расщелина каньона, по которому протекает эта самая “желтокаменная” река на самом деле желтоватая.

Дорога от вьезда в парк до нижнего кольца тянулась в основном среди хвойного леса, растущего на горах (кое-где с них стекали тонкими струйками маленькие водопадики). Воздух был, не побоюсь этого слова, напоен сосновo-ёлочным ароматом. Даня боялся, что весь парк будет вонять серой, но на самом деле сей характерный запах присутствовал только в некоторых местах, а именно возле сероводородных источников.

Pools at West Thumb.Наши первые восторженные ахи и охи были вызванны зрелищем для нашего глаза довольно экзотичным — на берегу огромного озера из-под земли местами поднимались белые клубы пара. Место это называется “Steamboat Point” — и на самом деле можно представить что где-то там, невидимый для нас, стоит себе и весело дымит небольшой пароходик. Характерным для этого места (по сравнению с другими) было огромное количество мошек, роящихся в воздухе. Серой, кстати, там уже попахивало. Еще мне запомнился большой чёрный ворон, который важно позировал всем фотоохотникам на столбе с табличкой, запрещающей кормить диких животных. Стоит отметить, что в последующие дни это место казалось нам вполне банальным. )

Driving by wild flower fields.После “пароходной точки” окружающий нас ландшафт непрестанно менялся. Я не могла налюбоваться на разноцветные полевые цветы, которые бурно цвели на лужайках и лугах по обочинам Dead trees on thermal ground.дороги; время от времени мы видели дымящиеся (вернее испускающие пар) лужицы и озерца с водой как лесных полянах, так и на гористых склонах и лугах.

Нашей следующей остановкой было место под названием “West Thumb”, где находится скопление небольших геотермальных источников. Любоваться этими источниками можно было только гуляя по специально проложенным дорожкам, и во многих местах висели предупреждения, что гулять просто по земле чревато очень плачевными последствиями (потому что можно провалиться и обжечся). У меня время от времени возникало ощущение, что я попала на другую планету. Дымящиеся разноцветные озерца с водой выглядели очень необычно, а тот факт, что некоторые из них в придачу ко всему булькали только усиливал необычный эффект.

Pool at West Thumb.Погуляв по “западному большому пальцу” минут 30-40, мы поехали в следующее место примагничивающее туристов — зону, густо заселённую действующими гейзерами.
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Monday, July 27, 2009

Начало Отпуска

Our cabin at Shoshone Lodge.Отпуск удался. Улетать домой не хотелось очень, но как говорят “хорошего понемножку” — и мы с Данькой уже паримся в наших Бруклинских апартаментах и пытаемся заполнить мониторы компьютеров стройными рядами свежих воспоминаний.

Наш пятничный вечерний рейс был отменён авиакомпанией JetBlue — не очень приятно, но и не очень страшно учитывая то, что вылететь в Денвер мы смогли ранним утром следующего дня. Эльдар встретил нас в аэропорте рядом с крутящейся штукой, которая неторопливо выплёвывала багаж пассажиров нашего рейса. Мы довольно редко встречаемся с Эльдаром — всё же расстояние между Нью-Йорком и Колорадо немалое — но взаимное привыкание происходит очень быстро и, как я уже писала, улетать было очень грустно.

Next best thing to "Welcome to Wyoming" sign.В субботу мы с Даней взяли в аренду велосипеды (а у Эльдара есть свой собственный), и все вместе мы поехали кататься по окрестностям Вестминстера — города, где живут Эльдар и его родители. Денёк был жаркий, поэтому катались мы не слишком долго, но всё равно было очень приятно снова почувствовать как “скрипит потёртое седло” Liberty Bell near Wyoming capitol building.под специальными шортами со смягчающей паролоновой прокладкой и “ветер холодит” разгорячённое под палящим солнцем тело.

Субботний вечер завершился ужином в очень приличном китайском ресторане, несколькими глотками пива, сваренного в местных микропивоварнях (купили мы его в супермаркете), большой коробкой черники и разговорами. Спать мы пошли относительно рано так как в восресенье планировалась длинная дорога. Первую ночь мы провели в доме где живут родители Эльдара. Нам с Даней почему-то не спалось в отведенной нам комнате на втором этаже (было душно), и Эльдар переместил нас в более прохладную комнату в подвале (где я под утро даже замерзла). Данька всё сокрушался, что гости из нас получились капризные, но семья Эльдара который раз согрела нас своим гостеприимством.

Sign near Wyoming capitol building.В 9 утра в воскресенье мы отправились в путь. Мы с Данькой любим посещать столицы разных американских штатов, поэтому вполне естественной была наша остановка в городе Шайенн — столице штата Вайоминг. Мы припарковались рядом с капитолием, который, надо заметить, произвёл очень приятное впечатление, и сделали парочку фотографий самого здания и очереденого “колокола свободы”.

Даня был особенно доволен остановкой еще и потому, что в музее, расположенном рядом с капитолием, ему поставили аж 3 красивых печати! ) По самому музею мы проскакали галопом — не хотелось терять драгоценное время.

Остальной путь не был особенно примечателен — вокруг тянулись то малозаселённые равнины, то горы, то мелкие городишки; время от времени шел дождь, гремел гром и сверкали молнии; на обочине Shoshone Lodge sign.дороги нам повстречался горный козёл, а в полях мы неоднократно видели вилорогов (pronghorn antelope), которых в Вайоминге хоть пруд пруди. Вобщем ехалось хорошо и довольно спокойно (во всяком случае мне как пассажиру).

В нашу гостиницу — Shoshone Lodge — мы прибыли около 8 вечера. Для проживания нам достался крохотный, но очень уютный деревянный домик с двумя кроватями. Как выяснилось, гостиница была построена еще в 1920-х годах дедушкой теперешнего владельца этого места. В главном здании, а точнее в двухэтажном деревянном доме, гостиницы находится ресторанчик, в котором мы и поужинали, а так же комната для гостей с камином, парочкой диванов и огромным количеством разных охотничьих “трофеев” прибитых к стенам (лосиная и оленьи головы, медвежьи шкуры, чучело пумы и т.п.).

First dinner in Shoshone Lodge.В процессе регистрации любезная тётушка-портье выяснила что мы русские, и довольно нам сообщила что у них работае русский мальчик под именем “Игор”. Этот самый Игор, который на деле оказался Егором, подошел к нам после ужина и мы немного с ним поболтали (он явлается студентом из Омска, который участвует в программе “Work and Travel USA” и находится в штатах по J-1 визе). Взять с собой в парк Егора мы не смогли (так как он пол дня работал, а мы уехали рано), и как-то больше мы с ним не общались.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

From Colorado To Wyoming

Driving through Wyoming.We’re back home and another great vacation is behind us. I’m barely holding up from falling asleep as our schedule is completely messed up, but it’s time to share the experiences of our great trip.

First Day

We got to the airport without any delays and even though we got about 4 messages from JetBlue saying that our flight was delayed it took off on time. We landed in Denver before 11am and were greeted in airport by Eldar. The vacation has started.

After checking out Eldar’s house and Eldar’s apartment we put on our cycling clothes and walked to a local cycling store where we had bike reservations. In minutes we were on a set Specialized Roubaix road bikes.

Westminster Blvd. in Westminster.To a bit of our disappointment more then 50% of bike paths were designed for mountain bikes, but that didn’t stop us from riding for quite some time. The day was very hot, but luckily for me, Alёna forced me to put on sunblock. I still managed to get sun burn patches.

Overall there wasn’t much more we did that day. We ate our dinner, drank some beer and were off to bed, for the next day we had a long ride up to Yellowstone National Park.

The Drive

The drive wasn’t mostly uneventful, going through plains with little grass and a chain of mountains on our left.

Wyoming capitol building in Cheyenne.We made our first stop in Cheyenne — the capital of Wyoming. The capitol was nice and they even had an open museum where we got our first stamps of the trip.

The rest of the way was passing through tiny towns and empty steppe. However we did see a mountain goat at one point standing right on the side of the road. Sadly we didn’t react fast enough to take a photo. We also missed the chance to take a photo of “Welcome to Wyoming” sign.

Rain storms on our way to Yellowstone.We drove through some major storms were we could see the walls of rain and some major lighting strikes.

After we passed Cody, WY the landscape started to change. We were now driving through tall mountains covered by forest. And by around 8pm we have arrived to Shoshone Lodge.

Cabins at Shoshone Lodge.I have to say that even though cabins were very small, they were very cozy and clean. Owners clearly take pride in their lodge and make you feel as comfortable as possible. The restaurant was very nice too. Our only wish was that it wouldn’t close as early as 9pm for dinner, since we were struggling to make it in time every day. I would definitely stay here again.

Yellowstone National Park

We woke up around 7am, ate our breakfast and where on the way to Yellowstone National Park. The entrance was located short 3 miles away from our lodge. We were greeted by a relatively short line that delayed us for 15-20 minutes.

We used the time to take several shots near the entrance sign — Yellowstone itself and we’re just moments away from being inside.

Entering Yellowstone National Park.The park consists of 2 major loop of roads, lower one being bigger. The whole road system of the park resembles number 8. And then there are 5 different entrance roads leading to this number 8. We stayed on the east of the park.

The distance from the entrance itself to the loops was 27 miles. So it took us additional 40-50 minutes to get to the loops, but we were spending our full days in the park anyhow.

On the way to Yellowstone.We originally planned to start exploration from the upper loop, but a ranger in the visitor center changed our mind. We decided to start with what the park was most famous for — Old Faithful and multiple geysers and formations around it.
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Yellowstone NP Trip

The approximate map of our Yellowstone trip.It’s this time of the year again — time to post the breakdown and the plan of our next road trip. This time our main objective is Yellowstone National Park. It is the oldest and probably one of the most richest and most famous parks.

The route on the map1 above is the most likely way we will go, but it omits all the points of interest. I want to read up more about the stamp locations along the way and the actual plan of exploring2 Yellowstone itself. Continue Reading

  1. A fully interactive map can be viewed on Google. []
  2. Good interactive map of Yellowstone NP at NPS site. []

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