Day 31 – June 6, 2015

Isaac and Alex putting their hands in the water

Isaac and Alex putting their hands in the water

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!

The Chapel of the Sacred Heart in the Grand Tetons.

The Chapel of the Sacred Heart in the Grand Tetons.

The stained glass at the Chapel of the Sacred Heart in the Grand Tetons.

The stained glass at the Chapel of the Sacred Heart in the Grand Tetons.

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.


5 thoughts on “Day 31 – June 6, 2015

  1. Ryon – I appreciate your dislike of snakes. I was taught in religion class that anything that moves around on land, without legs, is the devil. I saw a snake last week on my bike ride slithering across the path (I have no idea what kind it was, but it does not matter, it was a snake). It motivated me to pedal a lot faster.

    Isaac also looks uneasy around the river…maybe he’s inherited my dislike of serpents as well.

    Great pictures Rebecca. I am also motivated to take highways opposed to interstates when I travel. I think we get that from Dad. It may add a little extra time, but I think it’s well worth it to appreciate the landscape, sights and culture of the towns.

    Nathaniel – It sounds like you wouldn’t mind living in Yellowstone one day. I saw this article in the detailed a 27 year old guy who left his high profile job in NYC, toured around the country in a VW van and decided to settle in Washington. He built a tree-house and now it’s his permanent residence. You can’t see everything in this awesome country, but don’t let that keep from trying!


  2. I am not sure what they mean by “hot spots” but there are several more places in the US that have geothermally heated springs i.e Hot Springs, AR and Hot Springs, WVA

    Uncle Robby is understating his dislike for snakes a little bit. He is absolutely petrified of snakes. I watched him at age 15 jump in the car and lock the doors when we found a small 12″ snake in the garage.


    • Grandpa speaks the truth. Growing up, Karen did better with snakes. She came face to face with one on a ledge in the garage while she was on a ladder. If that had been me, I would have panicked, forgotten where I was, and probably plummeted to my demise.


  3. thanks for all your posts, and the excellent descriptions of the places you’ve seen. America’s vastness and beauty never fail to stun!

    I’m glad that you got to see a moose. We saw one on our way into Jackson Hole driving from Idaho, Jackon Hole, Grand Tetons, then to Yellowstone. It made the 11 hour day all worth it;)

    You certainly have been blessed to be able to spend so much time just exploring. Enjoy the s’mores!!



  4. Good for you Aunt Rebecca I’m happy for you that you got to see a moose! God is great!

    P.S. Ryon, I did a little research and according to what Wikipedia said and how you guys described
    it, the snake you saw was either a Valley Garter Snake or a Wandering Garter Snake.


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