S: Our Trip Out West - August 2009
BC: Created by Barbara Stone
FC: Our Trip Out West | August 2009
1: Sassy Moose Inn | Bed & Breakfast near Jackson , Wyoming where we stayed at the beginning and end of our trip.
3: Our first day began when we landed at the Jackson Hole Airport located at the base of the Grand Teton Mountains and alongside the Snake River. The town of Jackson has a population of around 10,000, including Harrison Ford and Sandra Bullock! (did NOT see them!)
4: After settling in at the B&B, we headed back downtown, then on out to the countryside where we had spotted buffalo on our approach to the airport. They were certainly in charge and took their sweet time crossing the highway right in front of us!
6: One thing we noticed right away was the antlers used throughout the downtown area for arches and signs. We ended the day with a great meal at the Mangy Moose Restaurant at Teton Village near our B&B.
8: We were determined to find these elusive, ugly creatures and finally found a few to photograph. | We were determined to find these ugly, elusive moose, and finally found a few to photograph.
10: We ate a delicious steak dinner at the Gun Barrel Restaurant in Jackson. When we asked about the unusual name, the waiter was quick to point proudly to the original sign given the restaurant by a "small town in Texas!" (Living nearby did not get us a discount!)
11: Teton Village, a major ski resort, was near our B&B. Condos, hotels restaurants, and recreational activities were in abundance there. | Inside the Sassy Moose Inn
12: Jenny Lake & Hidden Falls
14: Jenny Lake, a beautiful blue lake originally created by melting glaciers, is located at the base of the Tewinot Mountain in the Grand Teton National Park. We took a boat tour across the lake and a short hike to see the Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. If I had known ahead of time that the lake is 260 feet at its deepest point, I would have demanded a life jacket!
16: A day trip over to Idaho took us through rolling fields of potatoes, beets, alfalfa, barley, and oats. The Mormon Temple at Rexsburg could be seen from miles away. We stopped for a quick lunch at the Dairy Queen and talked to some locals who gave us directions for a "shortcut" back to Jackson Hole. The route took us through small towns, past fields being cultivated, and on several dirt roads, but we eventually made it back to highways that were on the map.
19: Our highway back to Jackson Hole took us beside the Snake River. We began to notice highway signs that said "The Big Kahuna _ Miles" until we eventually saw one that said "The Big Kahuna Turnout". So we exited into a small parking lot and took a short path to a cliff overlooking the river. There we discovered that the Big Kahuna is the largest Level III rapids on the Snake River. Located in the Snake River Canyon, early French trappers called it "accursed mad river."
20: This late afternoon Scenic Float trip down the Snake River was calm and serene. When our guide had difficulty maneuvering the boat to the landing spot, we quickly told him he was in serious trouble if he let us drift down to the Big Kahuna!
22: This guy was grazing beside the road on a creek bank. A lot of tourists, including us, stopped to take his picture. He finally "had enough" and climbed up to the road and passed right behind our car.
24: We had barely entered Yellowstone Park when we saw this black wolf - it turned and ran away before I could take a good picture. After seeing lots of beautiful scenery including waterfalls, we stopped at a picnic area for lunch.
28: Old Faithful erupts approximately every 91 minutes, shooting an average of 145 feet into the air.
29: The Old Faithful Inn was built in 1904.
34: After seeing Old Faithful and several mudpots , boiling pools, and steam geysers in the park, we exited the west entrance and checked into our hotel in West Yellowstone. It was a small Montana town located in a high mountain valley. I would designate it as a "Tourist Town"" since it had mostly businesses catering to the tourist trade.
37: Madison Valley
43: These buffaloes were happily grazing on a hillside. A short boardwalk led out toward the meadow, so we and another 20 or so tourists walked closer to get some pictures. The bull became agitated and slowly headed our way. Jerry said, "He's going to charge. Let's go!" But I wanted the close up and stayed. When he started running toward us, all I could hear above the screams was Jerry yelling, - "Run, Barbara, Run!"
44: Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel
45: Lake Yellowstone Hotel
48: Yellowstone River Waterfalls
55: The largest earthquake, (7.5 on the Richter scale) to ever hit Yellowstone Park occurred on August 17, 1959. Nearby in Montana, part of a mountain located beside Hebgen Lake caved in causing 80 tons of dirt and trees to dam the Madison River flowing out of the lake which created a second lake known as Quake Lake. Twenty-eight people lost their lives when the Rock Creek Public Campground was buried.
57: Yellowstone Wildlife
60: ggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg | As we drove through Montana, we saw beautiful ranch land at the foot of mountains, including the Lonesome Dove Ranch. After stopping for a quick lunch at Ennis (Hwy 287), we discovered the Madison Valley Arts Festival was underway across the street, offering live music, art & crafts booths, and food concessions . While I shopped, Jerry made friends with a couple of ladies at a raffle table. They talked him into buying a ticket even though we would be flying home. He WON a pottery bowl that was shipped to us a few weeks later! The metal sculptures were fantastic!
61: Art Festival Metal Sculptures
64: The Indian artist pictured on the next page created his art work by using the rays of the sun shining through a magnifying glass to burn images into wood. He told me that he was beginning to go blind because of his craft..
66: Visiting Virginia City was like "stepping back in time". Most of the buildings were filled with their original furnishings and merchandise. While riding the antique fire truck on a tour around the town, we learned the history of this pioneer mining camp. The house on the left (below) was built from a kit ordered out of the Sears Roebuck catalog.
68: This brown bear was ambling down a ridge not too far outside the city limits of Virginia City.
70: After exiting Yellowstone Park at the northeastern entrance, we headed out on the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway where we saw breathtaking views as we climbed and descended on switchback curves. We passed over the Sunlight Creek Bridge, the highest bridge in Wyoming, located over a 87 meter deep canyon. When we pulled over to take pictures at a scenic turnout, we were treated to a "show" when a cyclist came roaring down the switchbacks on the pass, almost laying the bike down as he rounded the curves, and popped a wheelie all the way across the bridge. He returned several times repeating his performance, then rode away.
72: Cody is the home of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center which includes the Buffalo Bill Museum, Plains Indian Museum, Whitney Art Gallery, Cody Firearms Museum and the Draper Museum of Natural History. We spent one morning there, had lunch, then Jerry returned to the museums while I went shopping. We enjoyed dinner at the Irma Hotel built by Buffalo Bill in 1895 and named after his daughter. The dining room was completely filled - mostly with bikers who had been to Sturgis, South Dakota for the bike rally.
75: Thermopolis (Greek for "hot city") derived it's name from the world's largest Hot Mineral Spring. The mineral laden spring pours out 3.6 million gallons of water per day at a temperature of 127 degrees. The water contains at least 27 different minerals and is considered to have healing properties. Admission to the State Bath House is free due to a treaty signed with the Indians in 1896.
80: The Chapel of Transfiguration was built in 1925 so that the early settlers wouldn't have to make the long buckboard ride into Jackson for Sunday services. The chapel still functions as an Episcopal Church, and is a popular location for weddings.
85: Flowers of the West