First off, Grand Teton National Park (south of Yellowstone) is an underrated park and the better out of both parks in my opinion if you want awesome mountain scenery, lakes and hikes but if you like geothermal features like geysers then Yellowstone is your place!
We drove up to Colter Bay campground (located in Grand Teton) from Salt Lake City (another post to come) and pitched our tent for our first camping trip by ourselves! (We only had a 2 day practice in the UK last month!) It went quite well and Chris is pretty good at pitching the tent :p
Underneath the cooler is a bear bin, yes we are in bear (grizzly & black) country, everything that has an odour even toothpaste has to be in a bear proof bin or in the car boot. Luckily, didn’t see any bears around camp although saw a deer. Btw, to know how to react when you’re near a bear – you haven’t got a hope in hell if you can’t tell a grizzly from a black bear as one you can play dead with and the other you can climb up a tree from but if you get it wrong…These are last resorts as is bear spray and still you need to know how to use one and not spray it into your own face (tip: take into account the wind direction).
That night we made some friends with another family of campers (Wann family from Indiana) and got to play Uno – we’ve been carrying these in the hope of a game.
The next day we went on a lovely walk called the Swan Lake trail nearby. It’s so beautiful and we saw a brown bear (a variation of a black bear I believe) about 100 yards away.
Sunday July 10th was forecast for rain and upon the recommendation of a local, we drove the lower loop of Yellowstone in a day trip. Look at all those colourful bacteria!
The next day we went horse riding and had breakfast out in the woods somewhere, it was enhoyable and the group we were with were fun to hang out with except for the cold. Yeah, there was a bit of freaky cold weather and it was probably 1/2 degrees celcius in the night (the next night was even colder as there was frost on the car…) Building a campfire before bed is is an excellent piece of advice I have received.The next day we went for a walk to Taggart and Bradley lake. Pretty scenic and we came across a family who invited us to make our own little boats for a sailing competition so of course I joined in! (It’s the US’s version of pooh sticks). Mine capsized immediately, don’t ever ask me to build you a lifecraft if you don’t want to drown.There’s a lot of lodgepole pines here in the park and 20% of the cones produced will only release in extreme heat so forest fires are good for them.
Some wildlife we saw, American bison and moose.
Well we left to head back down South towards Salt Lake City and went via Lander, which is an awesome little place. If you ever end up near there, go and visit and have dinner at the Cowfish, it’s a bit expensive but utterly amazing.
We did a hike in the nearby Sinks Canyon State Park and look how pretty it is (it’s a bit weird how green it is because most of the place around is just dry desert).
It turned out it was the climbing festival that weekend (there’s lots of good climbing around Lander) and there was a chin up competition. There was a tie and the winning guy helf his chin up position for 55 seconds! I can’t even do one.
Dinosaur Monument, Utah
Tons of dinosaur bones were found here but also there’s other interesting things too. Some ancient art – Petroglyphs and interesting geology – the bottom picture shows tilted rocks, why was it tilted?
I leave you with this: yes there are drive up ATMs, complete with a cashier window too if you didn’t want to use the automated machine. Funnily enough, we needed cash but were walking around and had to walk up to the drive through machine to get cash, it felt pretty stupid. Americans also have drive through pharmacies too, which we haven’t tested out yet. Until next time (when I have wifi again), bye!