S: Badlands - Mount Rushmore - Yellowstone - Grand Teton Summer 2012
BC: created by: Jany Admiraal-Nykamp
FC: Summer 2012 | Badlands National Park Mount Rushmore National Monument Yellowstone National Park Grand Teton National Park
1: After driving for the better part of two days, we arrived with Oma in the Badlands Thursday afternoon. We set up camp, had a quick supper and headed to the visitor center just before it closed. We took a few short hikes, watched a magnificent sunset color both the rocks and the sky, and took in a Ranger Program before heading to bed.
2: Also spotted: eastern cottontail rabbit, western blue bird, wild turkeys, western meadowlark | We saw quite a variety of wildlife in the Badlands. The big horn sheep were well camouflaged in the rocks of the Badlands, but stood out against the sky when grazing on the buttes.
3: On our way out of the park Friday morning, we enjoyed the antics of the prairie dogs, and saw pronghorn, buffalo and more big horn sheep.
4: After meeting up in the early afternoon with Elly & John in Custer, South Dakota, we set up camp and headed into town for some buffalo burgers and elk steak before our drive up to Mount Rushmore. | We took sections of the Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road through Custer State Park on our way to Mount Rushmore, stopping along the way at Sylvan Lake for a hike around the lake and a short swim before continuing on our way
5: Needles Eye and various tunnels along the way | The smoke from the wildfire in the vicinity of Wind Cave National Park (to the south) was clearly visible in the distance. | We saw a lot of "least" chipmunks by Needles Eye
6: Mount Rushmore | It e | It rained along the final part of our approach to Mount Rushmore, but the rain stopped shortly after we arrived. Several exhibits were closed due to the high heat and humidity, but the kids were able to finish their Jr Ranger badges none-the-less.
7: Next stop: Yellowstone National Park... at this point we split from John, Elly and Oma as they went to Devil's Tower Monument on the way. Leaving Custer several hours ahead of us, they still arrived at Grant Campground several hours later than we did. | Oma at Devil's Tower Monument | Moose cow and calf they saw along the way | Our home at Grant Campground for four nights | _____________________________________________ | Views we had along the way
8: Sunday morning we were led in worship at the Grant Amphitheater by volunteers with A Christian Ministry in the National Parks (ACMNP). On our way to the Upper Geyser Basin, we passed by Keppler Cascades and crossed the Continental Divide. | This particular bison was in the Old Faithful area so often, the rangers had named him, calling him George. | Old Faithful | View of Old Faithful (and George) from Observation Point
9: Upper Geyser Basin
10: Midway Geyser Basin | Just after finishing our lunch at the Midway Geyser Basin parking area, a storm blew in. The rain combined with the hot features to make a thick fog. Visibility was limited, but we were still able to get glimpses of the Excelsior Geyser (shown spilling into the Firehole River), the Excelsior Geyser Crater, Opal Pool and the Grand Prismatic Spring . The picture at the bottom left shows a view of the Grand Prismatic Spring from above on a clear day.
11: On our way from Midway to Norris Geyser Basin, we passed White Dome Geyser, Firehole Falls and Gibbons Falls. | Norris Geyser Basin | Emerald Spring
12: Monday, "on our way" to Mammoth Hot Springs, we stopped at the Obsidian Cliffs, the North Entrance to Yellowstone, and the Boiling River | Boiling River | Where the Boiling River (hot spring) meets the Gardner River, the hot and cold waters combine to make an area with comfortable temperatures for swimming.
13: Mammoth Hot Springs Area | Mound Spring | Mound Terrace | Angel Terrace | Orange Spring Mound | Views from Overlook
14: We backtracked a bit after Mammoth Hot Springs to stop at the Chocolate Pots and Fountain Paint Pots and that we by-passed due to rain on the previous day. | Visitor Centers & Ranger Talks | We also drove a portion of the Canyon North Rim Drive and hiked the trail to the Brink of the Lower Falls, which drops 600 feet over 1/2 mile. At the brink of the falls we could also see Uncle Tom's trail on the other side of the canyon (above), which the "men" would hike the next day.
15: Yellowstone Falls Tuesday we returned to the North Rim and South Rim Drives to catch views of the falls from several different vantage points before heading to Mount Washburn. | Lower Falls from Lookout Point | Lower Falls from Red Rock Point Trail | Upper Falls from Uncle Tom's Overlook | Lower Falls from Uncle Tom's Trail | Upper Falls & Canyon Bridge
16: Mount Washburn Our hike to the top of Mount Washburn from Dunraven Pass and back down covered six miles and took us from fields of wildflowers to the rocky talus slopes where the pika live, an elevation change of almost 1,400 feet. Our destination was the fire lookout where we rested and took in the views before heading back down.
17: Wildlife seen on the way: pika, yellow-bellied marmot & golden mantled ground squirrels. James also saw a coyote.
18: Lamar Valley After our hike on Mount Washburn, we arrived at Lamar Valley in the late afternoon, hoping to see the wolves or bears that the valley is known for. While we did not see either of those, we saw many bison, a bald eagle, and a beautiful sunset, and enjoyed our soup supper, prepared in the parking area.
19: Yellowstone Wildlife | While we saw many elk and bison, we also saw the less common coyote and osprey.
20: On Wednesday we headed south out of Yellowstone to Grand Teton National Park | Picnic at Colter Bay | The boys getting their Jr Ranger badges
21: Finally After seeing signs of and about bears and moose for days, we got our glimpse of both on the same day... the bear (above, scurrying away) on a hike on the Lakeshore Trail at Colter Bay, and the (live) moose (below) on our way to our campground south of Grand Tetons National Park. We also saw a fox near Moose Junction.
22: Jenny Lake | Thursday, Oma took a boat tour of Jenny Lake while the rest of us hiked to Hidden Falls. From there, Doug, John, James & Anthony continued hiking on to Inspiration Point and String Lake, while Jany, Elly & Hendrik took the boat back to meet up with Oma. We all joined up at the String Lake Picnic area for lunch and a dip in the cold mountain lake! | Pictures from Oma's boat tour...and of a sight-seeing boat on Jenny Lake from up above. | Grouse
23: Yellow-bellied marmot | Osprey | String Lake
24: Friday we parted ways again, John returning to Michigan with most of our family, and Oma, Elly & Hendrik heading down to Miami. We had a great time together - a trip to remember!
25: Random Photos | Clockwise from upper left: campsite in Minnesota; temperatures in South Dakota; flat tire in South Dakota; painted bison in Custer, South Dakota, van setup for meals on the go; rare picture of John (on the way from Yellowstone to Teton); campground at Jackson Hole, Wyoming; campground on Nebraska farm on way home