Spending five weeks together driving across America is a great test of a marriage. We have always done everything together – just not four hundred miles a day for so many days. The results were a stronger relationship, so many more memories together, shared delight in the God moments we witnessed, and a greater appreciation for the beauty of and freedoms enjoyed in America. This was our 2023 journey. We hope you will plan your own…
As we entered the National Park through the East Entrance, we utilized a GPS driven audio of the park. Be sure to download it in advance so it will work offline. There is very little cell reception in the park. The app to download is the Yellowstone National Park app. It offers verbal tours of the park customized by the entrance you use. It even tells you where the photo ops will be in advance.
Also, you will need a national park pass. You can get them at the entrances but it is more cost-effective and convenient to have the annual pass. You can get one at http://store.usgs.gov/pass. Seniors can get a lifetime pass at a great value. Military are free.
Majestic beauty, grandeur, big skies, and brilliantly white clouds are the words that come to mind. Our trail was bordered by rock formations that looked like ancient abandoned cities. There were many campgrounds, picnic places, and hiking trails.
The wind carved mountains looked like silent cathedrals reaching to the sky.
At West Thumb we saw aquamarine blue pools bubbling with a sulfur scent. At 8400 feet we experienced a drizzle of rain that turned into sleet as we approached Old Faithful. Though we saw it erupt, it was difficult to get a good view with all the people there even in the rain.
All along the valley there were steam holes actively venting the earth’s core heat. Steam columns rising from the earth dotted the landscape. Even holes underwater created boiling water holes. Some mud holes were brilliant pastel colors. Biscuit Basin and Firehole Falls were mysteriously beautiful and mischievous in their own way.
Bison and deer grazed leisurely as though the humans were not there. The people were there lined up like paparazzi taking photos of the wildlife.
It might be easier to stay in Madison before entering Yellowstone and enter on the West side.
We stayed at the Lake Yellowstone Hotel which is a historic property right on Yellowstone Lake. Like the Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island, the staff gives historic tours of the hotel.
We enjoyed a lakeside picnic dinner from the deli. The view of the mountains rising above the water created a perfect dinner view.
After dinner we enjoyed wine in our Adirondack chairs outside our cabin and toasted the sunset and then went to the hotel lobby to listen to a string quartet that performed nightly from 6:15 until 10 pm. If you want dinner there at the hotel restaurant, you need to reserve early.
Unnamed Road, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190
As we sat in the Adirondack chairs drinking our coffee, we watched the sunrise and buffalo roaming amongst the cabins. They seem really calm but they are not too social. Beware. There is a saying, “Do not pet the fuzzy cows.” They were right in front of us eye to eye. Fortunately, they did not choose to be offended by our presence.
The drive out of Yellowstone led us through the South entrance and into the Teton National Park. We thought the Yellowstone mountains were amazing but then the Tetons looked even bigger! We saw moose, deer, buffalo, fox, and a mist covered the lakes on this chilly morning. It was a mystic morning with the Tetons rising above them mist. They stand like guardians along the western states. They are relatively young in the mountain family. They are only a few million years old and still have sharp edged peaks versus rounded older relatives.
We stayed at the Wyoming Inn in Jackson and were met with warm chocolate chip cookies when we arrived.
A must-see place is the Million Dollar Saloon where you sit on horse saddles at the bar. (Mind you it was a little harder to get the old legs over the saddle than years ago.) They even teach the Texas Two Step once a week! Another must see are the antler arches in Town Square.
There are numerous art galleries, some with working artists exhibiting, and interesting shopping. We drove to Teton Village and had a lovely dinner at our hotel. It is a relaxing romantic getaway. Jackson is filled with music venues and wonderful fun for night owls.
930 West Broadway, Jackson Hole, Wyoming 83001 www.wyominginn.com