We woke up at 6:30am as our bags had to be ready for the bus at 7:15am, got ready, and went to breakfast. At oatmeal and fruit (the oatmeal at the Wort’s Silver Dollar Grill is really good) and boarded the bus to the Grand Teton National Park.
Was not a long drive to the visitor center, which was really beautiful. I never expected national parks to have such nice facilities. Went into the VC and looked at the displays, and then out the back to photograph the mountains. What’s great about this VC is that they have arrows pointing to the mountain so you know what you’re seeing.
After about 45 minutes in the VC we boarded the motor coach and went to Hidden Falls for a hike. It involved taking a boat across Jenny Lake, which was very clear and smooth. Apparently it was also cold too–the boat skipper said it was about 42 degrees. The hike was not bad, even for someone who sits at a desk all the time, but I was feeling the thin air and was not the only one. Had on the hiking boots, which was a great idea, due to all of the uneven terrain and especially the rocks sticking up on the trail. We also had quite a bit of snow still in the mountains, and some ice, and the boots made it possible to schlepp through just about everything with no problem. Plus my feet were warm, and they were comfortable. (So my husband was right and I’m glad I took his advice and bought those boots.) The falls were beautiful and it was worth the hike. Didn’t see any wildlife except for a marmot from the distance.
When the hike was done we got back on the boat to go across the lake and were able to spend time in the VC at Jenny Lake. Then it was time for our sack lunch picnic in another area. Totally uneventful–and I really liked my turkey sandwich.
Once done with lunch we boarded the motor coach for our drive to Yellowstone National Park. It was a pretty quiet, and long, ride to the south entrance. The south entrance was where the horrible fires were in 1988 that destroyed a lot of the park. SInce that time it has regrown but the charred remains of trees are still visible through the new growth. Our guide was telling us about how the National Park Service changed their wildfire management since that time in order to let nature take her course.
Our first stop in Yellowstone was the West Thumb Geyser Basin. Here we learned about the various types of geysers and thermal features of the parks (which I do not remember right now). After staying there for about 45 minutes we headed to the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, which was going to be our home for the next two nights.
At the lodge we checked in and got our rooms. Its actually pretty nice, but no televisions. Frankly I like the peace and quiet of no TV, but I still have internet to occupy my time. We had our group dinner and saw the top of Old Faithful as it erupted.
After dinner the four travel agents on the trip, along with a few families, went to the Old Faithful area to see the geyser. It was pretty cool to see it steam and bubble and finally have the water just shoot up. Then we headed to the General Store, which has a lot of reasonably priced merchandise that I really liked. (I could spend some serious money in this place, but because of lack of luggage and bag fees it is likely that I will not go overboard!)
Back to the resort, and I did some laundry. Worked for a little bit and finally to bed. Need to be up at 7am for breakfast, as we start our touring of Yellowstone in the morning.