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Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Monday, August 29th, 2011

August 11th

The morning started with some necessary chores: showers (first in 4 days), laundry and packing up camp. We drove about twenty miles from Grant Village to Grand Teton National Park. The first views were spectacular of the snowcapped Teton peaks. (The three mountains were named by French fur-trappers who thought they looked like breasts (tetons.) We made a stop at the Colter Bay Visitor Center next to the pretty Jackson lake to get some information about some backcountry trekking in the park. Within fifteen minutes we had our free permit and bear canister for a two-night trek in the southern part of the range. After that we explored the visitor center, a museum of local Native American culture and picnicked next to lake.

It was early afternoon, so we did part of the scenic drive (there is one in every park) on our way to Jackson to stock up on groceries for the trek. The landscape was amazing with flat meadowland on one side, then lakes with the towering peaks behind (there are no foothills in the Teton Range giving the impression that the mountains spring straight up from the earth.) At one of the stops where we visited the ruins of a ranch, we could see a elk grazing in the distance. This area between Jackson and the mountains known as Jackson Hole was inhabited by settlers in the early 20th century. It was a hard life for farming and cattle ranching so they quickly turned to “dude” ranches, or holiday ranches catering to the wealthy Easterners. The area is still widely popular for fishing, hiking, climbing and skiing. We had only a quick glimpse of Jackson, but it had a fun resort town vibe.

By late afternoon, we had finished all of our chores and done enough sightseeing so we got a site for the evening at the Gros Ventre Campground. We took it easy and prepared ourselves for the trek the next day.

Posted from Manitou Springs, CO

Yellowstone National Park: Canyon Village and Old Faithful

Monday, August 29th, 2011

August 9th-August 10th

We woke up to some grey, rainy weather on Tuesday morning. We decided to continue with our plan and drive down towards the Canyon Village. We spent the morning indoors, first at the Park Ranger Museum, which told about the changing roles of the park ranger, and then at the Canyon Visitor Education Center which had some great exhibits about the geology of Yellowstone (how geysers, hot springs and mud pots work, etc.) After lunch, the weather had cleared up and we drove down to visit the mud volcanoes. We ran into a traffic jam caused by bison. There was a herd of bison grazing around the road with some pretty aggressive bulls charging each other. We pulled into a parking area and spent some time (from the safety of the car) watching these impressive animals. They were wading in the water, rolling in the dirt, and butting heads. When we decided to continue the drive, it took us a while to get through the traffic. Bison were running back and forth across the road. We finally arrived at the Sulphur Cauldron and then the Mud Volcanoes, the smelliest part of the park (it smelled like sulphur.) The mudpots are created from a combination of water, dirt and sulfur dioxide which causes them to make a bloop-bloop sound that is entertaining for everyone. From here, we made our way back towards the canyon rim drives. On the south rim, we did a small hike to see the upper and lower falls (and got a little rainstorm.) On the north side, we shot some pictures from the lookout and then hiked down to the river. It was getting late in the day, so we drove back to the campground and got to bed early. We’d had a couple of intense days.

On Wednesday morning, we packed up our campsite at Mammoth Springs and headed for the most famous section of the park: the geysers. Our first stop was at Norris Geyser Basin. The landscape was surreal, like from another world. There were pool of water of every color of the rainbow (due to the different types of bacteria living inside), bubbling geysers, and the trees that had inhabited the area where the water wasn’t flowing. We continued our visit of the basins, each one unique and inspiring. Finally at the end of the day, we arrived at Old Faithful, the most famous geyser in the park. The rangers are able to predict the eruption (within 10 minutes) based on the previous eruption. We arrived at the end of an eruption, so we spent some time exploring the informative displays in the visitor center waiting for the next one. Finally, we staked out our spots to witness an amazing eruption 70 feet in the air.  After this spectacle, we continue to Grant Village where we had reserved a campsite for the evening.

Posted from Manitou Springs, CO

24 août : retour au Colorado… après plus de 4 mois

Friday, August 26th, 2011
Ce matin, nous démarrons par une visite toute proche, celle de Fort Laramie. Un poste d'échange avec les Indiens (trading post) converti ensuite en fort après la signature de plusieurs traités de paix avec les tribus, souvent non respectés par ... [Continue reading this entry]

23 août : voyage dans l’ouest du Nebraska et dans le temps

Friday, August 26th, 2011
La journée démarre par la visite du Fort Robinson qui a eu plusieurs vies : poste d'échange avec les indiens, puis fort pour protéger les quelques habitants ou voyageurs de ces mêmes indiens, puis rôle central lors des guerres Sioux ... [Continue reading this entry]

22 août : grotte, mammouth, thermalisme et ancien fort

Friday, August 26th, 2011
Comme prévu, nous levons le camp après 4 nuits dans les Black Mountains. Alors que la route descend vers les plaines, nous faisons un premier arrêt dans un parc national juste à côté : Wind Cave National Park. Il s'agit ... [Continue reading this entry]

21 août : découverte d’un peu plus près des Black Mountain…

Friday, August 26th, 2011
Dernier rempart avant les plaines infinies que nous avons apperçu hier, nous partons aujourd'hui à la découverte des montagnes dans lesquelles nous logeons depuis 3 jours. Le sommet de la chaîne est le sommet le plus haut entre les Rocheuses ... [Continue reading this entry]

20 août : voyage en mauvaises terres

Friday, August 26th, 2011
Avec l'énergie et le soleil retrouvé, nous partons de bon matin quelques 150km plus loin (les distances sont toujours redoutables) pour un parc national un peu plus à l'est tout en sachant que nous reviendrons au parc Custer où nous ... [Continue reading this entry]

19 août : un symbole des USA et du Dakota du Sud

Friday, August 26th, 2011
La journée démarre sous un soleil éclatant avant de s'assombrir définitivement avec un peu de pluie, du brouillard dans les montagnes et beaucoup de fraîcheur, il semble que nous soyons de retour en Oregon... Avec ce temps bizarre, mon énergie ... [Continue reading this entry]

Yellowstone National Park: Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower- Roosevelt

Friday, August 26th, 2011
August 7th-August 8th We were very excited to visit Yellowstone and to take a break from driving, so Sunday morning, we arrived at the park early and got a campsite easily at Mammoth Hot Springs, a popular area of the park ... [Continue reading this entry]

Ranching, Mining, and Rivers…the spirit of the West

Friday, August 26th, 2011
August 6th In Deer Lodge, we started by visiting the Grant-Kohrs Ranch, a national historic site, commemorating one of the biggest and most important ranches in the area. It was a really fun visit- it’s a working ranch maintained by the ... [Continue reading this entry]