Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Wyoming’ Category

Jackson Hole Beneath the Shadow of the Tetons

Welcome to the majestic Tetons.

Welcome to the majestic Tetons

The majestic, 7000-foot-high Teton Range signals arrival in scenic Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which is located on the floor of a valley surrounded by mountains. John Colter was the first white American to view the valley and his reports were viewed with skepticism as people doubted any place could be so beautiful.

Elk Antler Arch

Elk Antler Arch

Town square serves as the main attraction of downtown Jackson Hole, as each corner has an arch composed of hundreds of elk antlers. Each winter, local Boy Scouts gather the antlers from the National Elk Reserve nearby. An auction is held to sell the antlers with proceeds going to the refuge. However, first of importance is maintaining repair work on the arches with any needed antlers.

Downtown hums with the sights and sounds of many gift shops and restaurants. Million Dollar Cowboy Bar featured in many Hollywood movies, Jackson Drug with its old time soda fountain, and the Victorian style Wort Hotel, home of the Silver Dollar Bar,  provided interesting stops during this visit. After an exhausting day, we devoured a delicious Mexican dinner at an old established restaurant, Merry Piglets.

This area abounds with treasures to behold and even a week’s stay would not give one a chance to enjoy them all thoroughly. While the town of Jackson Hole delights many visitors, camping in the foothills of the Tetons gives an entirely different perspective.

Rustic cabin below the Cathedral Group

Rustic cabin below the Cathedral Group

Snake River, which flows from its headwater at Yellowstone River, meanders along the base of the Tetons. The old Cunningham Cabin situated at the foothills of the Tetons seemed like a perfect place to live. Imagine sitting here with your morning cup of coffee or tea and watching the Snake River flow past the towering mountains.

Just outside of town can be found the largest elk preserve in North America – the National Elk Refuge. During the summer months the elk head higher in the mountains, but during the fall and winter, up to 7500 elk can be found here in the basin.

Jackson Hole Ski Resort

Jackson Hole Ski Resort during summer

Jackson Hole Ski Resort contains the longest ski slope in the area, although many slopes exist. The first ski slope, Snow King Ski Area, was developed way back in 1939. Makes you want to return for the winter snows.

At the Menor-Noble Historic District nearby, exploring Menor’s cabin provides a taste of life in the early 1900’s. His white washed cabin was used as a supply store while he ran a ferry across the Snake River. Cost was twenty-five cents for a horse and wagon to cross. In winter when the water was too rough, they crossed on a flat raft-like apparatus using a pulley system.

Museum of Natural History and Art

Museum of Natural History and Art

Tucked away in the foothills of the Tetons, National Museum of Wildlife Art displays spectacular paintings and statues that tell the story of Wyoming wildlife. Frequent spottings of buffalo along the road to the museum, add to the road trip’s delight. The museum also sponsors many musical and informative programs as well. On this particular day a piano duo playing jazz, Keith and Pam Phillips, entertained the crowd.

Camping along the Snake River

Camping along the Snake River

Leaving town, a stop at Jackson National Fish Hatchery provided viewing of trout from 2″ to 12″, ready to place in area lakes and rivers. All National Hatcheries were listed, and included was one from home – Senecaville Fish Hatchery.

Whether you stay in town at one of their many hotels, or camp in the shade of the Tetons, innumerable adventures await in the area of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Just a short drive to the North is the bubbling Yellowstone National Park, which you won’t want to miss.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming can be found on the western border of Wyoming, very near Idaho. This is not a place of major interstate highways, but the drive is beautiful from any direction.

Advertisements

Powerful Beauty at Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

Think there is only one Grand Canyon?  Think again!  Ones that come to mind other than the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona include: Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania at Pine Creek Gorge, Grand Canyon of the East at Letchworth State Park in New York, Grand Canyon of Pacific at Waimea Canyon in Hawaii, and one of my favorites Grand Canyon of Yellowstone in the northwest corner of Wyoming.

Twenty four miles long on the Yellowstone River,  Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is downstream from Yellowstone Falls, whose scenic beauty flows over rapids in its course through the beautiful canyon. During the Washburn expedition in 1870, Lt. Gustavus Doane described the canyon as follows:

“There are perhaps other canyons longer and deeper than this one, but surely none combining grandeur and immensity with peculiarity of formation and profusion of volcanic or chemical phenomena.”

Indeed this is a beautiful canyon and one many miss while taking a peek at the Grand Canyon itself. Upper Yellowstone Falls flows into a deep canyon below, then the stream takes a wild ride over rapids throughout its course. About 10,000 years old,  today the forces of erosion continue to sculpt the canyon through rain, wind and earthquakes. Lookout Point was one of the early popular spots for viewing the canyon, so back in 1880 the park superintendent decided to put the first railing around this area for safety measures.

Since this is an area of bubbling volcanic activity, it is not surprising that earthquakes happen here frequently. Tremors are felt here all the time. Actually the lookout for Inspiration Point has been shortened several hundred feet due to the quakes in this area. Today on this overhang, there is a nice platform with rails, which provides fantastic views of the canyon both directions.

A zigzag path, Uncle Tom’s Trail, down to near the bottom of the falls at Inspiration Point, created quite an afternoon diversion. The trail was named for Bozeman resident, H F Richardson (known as Uncle Tom), who operated a ferry in 1890 across the Yellowstone River in the canyon. Today that trail has been considerably improved; yet, with a drop of over 500 feet, at least 300 steps and lots of paved inclines, it still requires some perseverance. Slowly strolling down the steep blacktopped path, you could hear the roar of the falls and the peace of the canyon all at the same time. The climb back up was a bit more tiring and a lot slower.  Rested at the top and took a picture of the route taken as seen in the picture above.

At the Lower Yellowstone Falls, beautiful Artist Point has a picture post card view of the canyon and falls. This spot is off the beaten path, holding its beauty for the fortunate to discover. The combination of metallic lusters on the face of the canyon walls creates breathtaking color combinations that are one of a kind. This Lower Falls is 309 feet high, nearly twice the height of Niagara Falls but does not have nearly the same volume of water flowing over it as Niagara does. A member of the 1870 Washburn party, N. P. Langford, gave this brief but poetic description of the Lower Falls: “A grander scene than the lower cataract of the Yellowstone was never witnessed by mortal eyes.”

To end the day, made a relaxing stop at Green Dragon Spring where steam often fills the caverns of the hot spring.  Visitors must wait patiently for a glimpse of this sulfur lined cave with boiling green water. This is a land unlike any other in the United States and Theodore Roosevelt described it well when he stated:  “The beauty and charm of the wilderness are yours for the asking, for the edges of the wilderness lie close beside the beaten roads of the present travel.”

It is difficult to comprehend the beauty, majesty and power of the beautiful Yellowstone area without exploring it firsthand.

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is located very close to Canyon City, Wyoming in the northwest corner of the state. Yellowstone’s Grand Loop Road arrives there from all directions. This road is usually accessible from May through October. During the winter months, roads are often snow covered and access to the park is either by snowmobile or commercial snow coaches.

Yellowstone Park Erupts

Old Faithful is the biggest, regular geyser at Yellowstone National Park, the world’s first national park.  It erupts every 70-120 minutes for 1-5 minutes. This cone geyser can throw up to 8,400 gallons of boiling water into the air 90-180 feet high in a single eruption. The benches around the geyser are 300 feet away but you can still feel the spray and even get wet if the wind happens to be blowing your direction. The platform here is constructed from approximately three million recycled plastic milk jugs.  Another great viewing point is Geyser Hill.

An elevated boardwalk, the Geyser Hill Loop Trail, is a splendid way to view many smaller geysers and hydrothermal pools as well.  It is an easy walk, just over a mile, and you can enjoy feeling part of a volcanic field as you journey through this unusual landscape. This is a strange, new exciting world. Some places there is a railing along the plastic boardwalk, but other times you walk carefully over the bubbling pools.

The Old Faithful Indicator of when the next eruption will occur is best based on the size of the crowd around the geyser.  As soon as it erupts, everyone leaves.  As the predicted eruption time gets closer, the crowd gathers sometimes making it impossible to even find an empty bench.  But still it erupts when it is ready!

For about twenty minutes before it erupts, Old Faithful will bubble and shoot up small streams of water.  Just teasing the crowd it would seem. But the crowd is patient with cameras ready for action.  Old Faithful was given its name by the Washburn Expedition in 1870 as they were amazed at the regularity of its spewing boiling water and steam to such great heights. So you can see it has been a crowd pleaser for many years. 

The park is filled with volcanic activity.  Makes you wonder if this sleeping giant of a volcano, named Yellowstone Park, could possibly be in major upheaval someday soon. You feel like you are walking on dangerous territory.  Things here are constantly changing so repeat trips can be as interesting as the first. You can be sure that Old Faithful will still be quite the attraction.

Tag Cloud