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My sister was visiting from Dubai and taking a photo course down in Jackson, Wyoming so we used it as an excuse for a
family road trip to Yellowstone National Park. Chris and I had visited the park once before in the winter, but only
saw a small section of it so we were excited to check out more of it this time.
I had decided we should rent a mini-van for the trip. For starters, it would mean taking just one vehicle instead of
2 cars. We would save some money on gas and make for a more fun road trip if we could all be together for the 10 hour
So from Calgary we drove to Hebgen Lake, where we would be staying at Hebgen Lake Mountain Inn. Arriving at night, we met
Janine, a very colorful and friendly character, along with her dog, named Deeohjee (say it out loud, you'll get it).
Everyone was pretty beat from the long car ride, so we hit the hay and got a good night's rest.
We woke up at 7AM and drove to Yellowstone. The first wildlife we saw inside the park were Elk. It was at this point
we encountered our first animal traffic jam. Well, it was a traffic jam of cars, caused by humans stopping to gawk at the
animals, a common occurence in the park.
Next we saw some bison by the river, and then we happened upon one scratching his head right next to our car and knocking
over a few trees in the process.
Our first stop was at the Artist's Paint Pots and we walked around this area. It was here we saw our first thermal features
of the park; steam, boiling water, and all the rest.
After that we proceeded to the Norris Geyser Basin. We walked around the back basin and saw Steamboat Geyser which was
huffing and puffing but it didn't erupt. We were actually there to see Echinus Geyser, but we learned that poor Echinus
was a dead geyser now. It turned out our information on Echinus was sorely outdated! It was here that we saw the Pearl
Basin as well, and our first geyser explosion, courtesy of Constant Geyser.
Then we went to the grand canyon of Yellowstone. First we stopped at the south rim to see Artist's Point and take a few
pics. Then we went to the north rim and took a short hike down to the brink of the lower falls, and peered over the edge.
We drove on to Lookout Point and hiked down to Red Rock Point (there's a lot of 'points' in Yellowstone), for our third view
of the same waterfall. That was probably enough.
We headed over to the Grand Canyon Village for a rest and some snacks. I bought a shot glass. On our way out, I spotted
a car that looked very familiar. "That looks like the Delorean from Back to the Future" I stated. "Wait a minute, that
IS the Delorean from Back to the Future!"
Sure enough, Doc Brown's time machine was cruising down the roads of Yellowstone, at less than 88 miles per hour, complete
with Mr. Fusion on the back for power. We chased it for a while and eventually ended up at the mud volcano area, and by
coincidence, the Delorean was stopping there too. Kyle and I just had to take a look at the Delorean, which was an exact
replica of the one from the movie, interior and exterior, right down to the last detail, including a flux capacitor. It
turns out the guy does it for charity, accepting donations in the Mr Fusion for the Michael J. Fox foundation, very cool.
With the Delorean excitement behind us we turned our attention back to the natural beauty of Yellowstone. We walked around
the mud volcano area and saw both the Dragon's Mouth and the Black Dragon. Both of them had very neat sounds coming out
Next, I forced everyone to drive to Tower Falls, which was a letdown, the path was closed. Then we had to drive all the way
around the park, through Mammoth, which made for a long day, but we did end up seeing a *lot* of Yellowstone, which is huge.
We finally arrived back at the hotel, where we ordered food from the Happy Hour Restaurant. It tasted good but our hamburgers
seemed pretty close to raw.
Waking up early again, we proceeded back to Yellowstone and drove to the Old Faithful area. We waited to watch Grand Geyser,
after running to the wrong geyser. We thought Grand Geyser might have already gone off because the benches were wet
and nobody was there, but luckily a geyser expert was there to tell us it hadn't. He pointed out that the Turban Geyser
beside it would indicate when it was ready to blow.
Meanwhile, Mom, Melanie and Kyle watched Old Faithful go off. After some tense moments, Grand Geyser went off just in
time and it was pretty spectacular. It's the largest predictable geyser in the world.
After that we drove to Jackson Hole so Melanie could get to her course in time. After dropping her off, we decided to check
out Mormon Row, a popular photo spot. We took some pictures although the sky was pretty hazy, from some recent forest
Next we went to Schawbacher's Landing but didn't make it very far. Back at the hotel we went for a swim and hot tub.
Refreshed, we went to dinner at Merry Piglets. I was pretty sure Chris and I had been there before on a previous trip
but couldn't prove it.
Woke up early (again) and headed back to Yellowstone, which was now a fair distance from us. First we bought some $4 croissants
at The Bunnery. We stopped along the highway for a 'moose sighting' and then again at Snake River overlook. Our last
photo stop was at Oxbow Bend, a very picturesque spot that is popular with photographers, because the mountains cast their
reflection in the water. There were a hundred other photographers there in the early morning as well, including a very
pushy one jostling for position.
We pushed on, back to the Old Faithful area and walked to Riverside Geyser, waiting for it to erupt. We had just missed
a spectacular eruption from Mortamer, an unpredicable geyser. After Riverside, we walked to Daisy, which erupted just as
we got there.
Next we walked to the Morning Glory pool and then ran back to try and catch Old Faithful but it erupted during our sprint.
So instead we decided to take a break at the Old Faithful Inn and sat in the rocking chairs, eating ice cream bars. We took
a look inside the Inn which is huge and rustic, definitely worth a look.
Then we went to watch Old Faithul. Apparently it wasn't Old Faithful's best showing and it was a pretty short burst. I was
glad we were able to see Grand Geyser to make up for it.
Geysered out, we drove to Fairy Falls trailhead, and hiked up the side of a large hill to take in the view of the Grand
Prismatic Spring. It was incredible! The spring is made up of amazingly vibrant colors, thanks to the different bacteria
in the spring.
We started our drive back to the hotel and stopped at the Louis Falls. Near Jackson, we decided to take a shortcut on the
Moose-Wilson road. We came upon a bunch of photographers, a ranger trying to keep people safe, and 2 bears, one of them
in a tree.
After dropping the girls off, Kyle and I decided to come back to see if we could take a closer look at the bear. It felt
oddly safe when lined up on the side of the road with the other photographers, despite the fact the bear was in a tree just across
the street. If I were there alone, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have felt so calm. The bear ended up deciding to stay
in the tree, but then along came a moose with her baby, which caused a lot of excitement as well.
After taking a few photos of the moose we got back in the van, and proceeded to slowly drive away. All of a sudden, a
large black bear came charging out of the woods right beside our van. My window was rolled down, and for a split second
it looked like he was aiming right for it. Luckily he ended up just bolting in front of the van, but it definitely
got my heart racing and made me appreciate how impressive an animal a bear can be.
We met Melanie back at the hotel and told her our stories from the day. We went to Mangy Moose for dinner and some beer's
and then finished off the night with a swim and hot tub.