Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Yellowstone National Park

Mel and I wanted to go to Yellowstone on Tuesday. We were getting ready for bed Monday night and trying to decide what time to leave in the morning. 9:00? No. 8:00? No. 7:00? How early should we go? Well... we could leave now!

After some debate and calling our friend Niels, we decided to go for it. We departed Jackson at about 2am. Goal: Breakfast in Montana.

It takes about an hour to get from Jackson, through Grand Teton National Park, and to the South Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Driving at night on empty roads was actually pretty cool, although there were lots of elk along the way. Our route is in red on the Yellowstone map below, up on the left, down on the right.

We reached Old Faithful a little after 4am. It was pretty dark, but slowly getting lighter for the 5:40 sunrise. We could see the ridgeline in the distance and steam riding. We were hoping to see Old Faithful erupt, but we were unsure on timing. Apparently it erupts around the range of every 90 minutes or so.

We were in Gardiner, Montana by about 6:15, where we found a breakfast buffet. Not ideal, but we were a little early for most of the restaurants.

Coming back we took the Eastern route, which was very scenic. Or maybe I should say, it was a little easier to see what was around us in the daylight. The Canyon was pretty incredible. We saw deer, elk, antelope, bison, and a grizzly bear. The one animal that we were really hoping to see were wolves. Maybe next time.

We arrived back in Jackson around 2pm Tuesday. It was a solid 12 hour trip. After biking the village and an impromptu trip to the hospital for Mel to get stitches, I was awake for about 38 hours. I survived waking up for work today pretty well. It's too bad that the average person spends about a third of their life sleeping... that's a lot of time for adventuring.

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