Monday, October 4, 2021

Yellowstone Day 9

 Wednesday Sept. 15

I got up again at 5:45 in the morning. I am finding that for me it’s very important to get into the park as early as possible. I packed up my belongings and again I stopped at McDonald’s, picked up breakfast and was in the park before 6:45. The views in the early morning are just stunning with the steam rising and the sun peeking out....

I headed down to Grand Prismatic Spring which was one of the Yellowstone features I was most looking forward to seeing. It was really awesome! I spent quite a bit of time walking around the boardwalks. It was really cold this morning, 23° again, and there was frost and ice on all the boardwalks.

Seeing the springs in the different colors and the steam rising up over that was super interesting. I don't know what exactly causes the vibrant colors but they weren't super vibrant that morning so I'm wondering if it has anything to do with the air temperature or the sun. It wasn't super sunny out yet. At any rate, the springs were beautiful and I was so glad I got to see them.

.After that I headed down to see Old Faithful and I got lucky because I got there at 9 o’clock and heard that Old Faithful was scheduled to go off around 9:30. I walked around on the boardwalks for a while, took some pictures, and grabbed a seat to watch Old Faithful erupt. Again, going early was key and there weren't a lot of people there yet.

Almost as if on cue, Old Faithful erupted one minute after its scheduled time. I even saw a rainbow in the mist.

After that I ran into the extremely crowded visitor center to buy a jacket patch and then decided to slowly head out of the park and towards my next campground. Heading south along The John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway, I stopped along the way to check out some views eventually landing at the Colter Bay Visitor Center where I got out to stretch my legs, fill my water jug and stroll through the gift shop.

Continuing on I skirted beautiful Jackson Lake and pulled into my pre-booked campsite at Signal Mountain Campground earlier than I expected....

I found my campsite at The Signal Mountain Campground and loved that it overlooked Jackson Lake. I know I was lucky to score a spot here even though I booked it months in advance and I was glad I did because they were completely full when I got here. The campsites there are a little tight and close together. There were 3 of us packed nearly side by side under the tall trees, but the view was really pretty. Bear boxes are located at each site for safety measures and that was the first time I've ever actually seen one. By walking through the trees behind the campsite you can get a clear view of the lake. Unfortunately, it was a 30 foot drop off down to the beach, so I didn't get to explore the lake like I wanted to.

I unloaded some stuff and decided to go check out the nearby Chapel of the Sacred Heart. This is an adorable little chapel and it's open so you can go inside. I sat down in one of the pews for awhile to meditate and say a prayer. It was so peaceful and relaxing there.

I still had quite a few hours of daylight left so I took a drive down to Jackson Hole via Teton Park Road. Well, going to Jackson was a mistake. When I arrived I pulled into the Jackson visitor center and it was closed. Grrrr..... Then it took me 10 minutes of sitting in the driveway before I could even pull back out onto the main street. It was just so unbelievably crowded with people walking and driving everywhere. I was told afterwards that it's not usually like that so I wonder if something was going on that day? I just did not feel like dealing with the crowds so I left and headed back north along Teton Park Road and through the Tetons again just to enjoy their beauty.

So, on to Plan B and I decided to head over to Jenny Lake where I wanted to get out and do a hike. Again, it was just not my day - when I arrived there were signs up saying that all the parking lots were full and at that point they were only letting in registered guests. I just couldn't believe it.

Really? On to Plan C.... I got back in my car and started driving, stopping at several of the pull offs just to take pictures of the Tetons which were so beautiful and one of my favorite parts of the trip. I even stopped and did a geocache. But the blue ribbon goes to The Tetons themselves - they are massive and beautiful and glorious. They just go on forever and they were more impressive than I had hoped for. The Tetons support several environments including high elevation Alpine areas, forests of lodgepole pine and other conifers, sagebrush flats, meadows, wetlands, lakes, ponds and rivers. It's a beautifully rich and diverse area.

I arrived back at my campsite where I fixed myself some dinner and spent a very relaxing evening sitting in my rocking chair and reading.

Tomorrow I start heading back towards home. I think I’m getting to the point where I’m tired of all the people and the crowds. I read this article which stated record number of visitors for August and I'm willing to bet that September was a repeat of the same. For the next couple of days I have several Oregon Trail related stops planned and I'm extremely excited to see these landmarks that I've dreamed about since I was a kid.


  1. I'm sorry to hear that things were so crowded; that would have dampened my spirits a bit, too. But I remember the majestic Tetons, and it is amazing how the sheer wonder of them can just suck the tension out of you! What a beautiful place. Those bear boxes are a wonderful addition -- when I was a kid, one early morning we saw a grizzley destroy the tent next to our small trailer, looking for food. No cell phones in those days, we just watched helplessly, hoping it wouldn't decide to rip open the side of our trailer! Fortunately, the campers next door had gone for an early hike. Later in the day we saw the rangers bait and trap the bear, and her two yearling cubs, to remove them from the campground.

    1. Wow that must have been something to see and probably quite frightening. I wanted to see a bear, but not that up close and personal. :-)


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