As we drove through Yellowstone on our way towards central Wyoming, we stopped beside the Gibbon River to stick our hands in the water and see exactly how warm or cold it felt. Although I wouldn’t call it warm, it was certainly warmer than you would normally think mountain-fed river water would be at close to 7000 feet in elevation. Ryon was one of the first down there and immediately found a small snake. He detests snakes, so he was not at all happy to have found this snake. It was a grayish color with at least 2 yellow stripes running the length of the snake.
I have enjoyed Yellowstone because it is so different than many other places on this earth. It is one of only 2 hotspots in the United States, the other being Steamboat Springs, Nevada. However, evidently, Steamboat Springs tapped into the thermal areas below the earth to generate electricity, so much of their thermal features have been depleted. The one thing that I haven’t enjoyed about Yellowstone is that 80% of their trees are Lodgepole Pines. The way God created them to reseed themselves after forest fires was fascinating, but they sure are boring to look at. They aren’t visually beautiful trees in the slightest. I was so glad yesterday to venture into Grand Teton because they had more trees than just Lodgepole Pines.
Also, I have to tell one story from yesterday. We drove most of the way through Grand Teton National Park and had decided to stop at the Visitors’ Center just before leaving the park so that we could attend a ranger talk for the kids. I was so disappointed because this was the place I was supposed to be able to see a moose, and I still hadn’t seen one. I had even said a small prayer asking God to let me get a good view of a moose. We finally made it to the Visitors’ Center and parked. When we walked up to the Visitors’ Center, we noticed several people looking at something in the woods. Sure enough, it was a moose – a bull moose. He was lying down though and partially obscured by the trees, so we couldn’t get a great view of him. Well, I was glad to have gotten a look at one anyway. The next thing I knew, he stood up and slowly began walking towards us. We stayed a safe distance, but I was so excited because I was able to get such a wonderful view of him. What a magnificent creature! God granted my request in an outstanding manner!
We decided to take the route that would take us back through Grand Teton National Park. We stopped again at the Visitors’ Center at Colter Bay, just for a bathroom stop. However, it seems like those stops are never “just a bathroom stop.” I walked into the gift shop to see some beadwork that a Shoshone woman was selling. Then Charlie told me about a Native American artifact exhibit that I missed seeing yesterday. Next, we decided to see the film that they were showing about the park. Probably an hour after we arrived, we finally left.
We took a beautiful highway out of the park: US 26 and US 287. We made it up to an almost alpine elevation of 9544 ft. The mountains were amazing. After we descended the mountains we were quickly back in high desert territory, but the next thing we knew there were beautiful buttes on one side of the highway with high desert on the other. The buttes changed colors from being red and white striped to stripes of yellow, white, and dark gray, and then to a deep red. The buttes continued to change color just astonishing us at how quickly the landscape changed. We followed the curvy Wind River for a ways. This was such a gorgeous drive. I have been so pleased at the US and other highways that we have taken. Some of the interstates have been nice, but I have always been impressed with the scenery that we have seen when we get off the beaten path. We have even seen a good deal of pronghorn deer migrating up towards the Grand Tetons.
Nathanael, why didn’t you want to leave here?
It is just beautiful. I don’t feel like we were able to see it all. My favorite part was the geysers. Old Faithful explodes approximately every 80 to 90 minutes. It was very amazing and beautiful. I think they have guided tours that you can take of various areas of the park. That would be really cool to take one of those tours. It would be cool to do a pack ride through some parts of Yellowstone or even one of the old yellow bus tours. It would be cool to do some rafting tours around here too.