Yellowstone National Park August 29 – 31, 2012

 Since we have been married, Brian and I take turns planning a weekend away to celebrate our anniversary.  This year was Brian’s turn and on the way to the border, he told me we were on our way to Yellowstone National Park.

We visited the park in the late 90s for our anniversary get away and we enjoyed it so much, I was glad we were returning.  The weather was beautiful and warm and we drove Highway 89 south in Montana.  The road was winding but very scenic.  Shortly after we left Livingstone, we came across a small fire across the Yellowstone River, above a meadow  in an area known as Paradise Valley.  It was burning a few trees very close to a house and we felt sure the house would burn before help arrived.  As it turns ot it was the start of a three day fire called the Pine Creek fire.  The winds were high and the fire spread quickly. In all 5000 acres were burned in the three days, including the house shown here in this news clipping as well as four others and several out buildings.

 

We arrived in Gardiner about 4 pm.  We checked into our hotel room and went to explore the park for a short time.  The twenty five dollars for a 7 day pass seemed quite reasonable. 

North Entrance Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone is America’s first national park.  The north entrance is quite easy to access from Gardiner, through the Roosevelt Arch which President Teddy Roosevelt dedicated in 1903. You can see the arch and the town of Gardiner in the photo on the right.

On our drive we did come across a “sign of the day”…just outside a small cafe the sign read……..

 ” Momma’s back and she made pie.”

The following morning we set out early to take the east drive though the park past the

Tower Fall

Tower Fall.  I didn’t miss the “s”…it’s called Tower Fall not “Falls.”  Named for Tower Creek it plunges 132 feet into the Yellowstone River.

We continued driving south to another breathtaking area called the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone Park.  It has two falls simply called the upper and lower falls.  There are two scenic areas in which to view the falls, one on the east side (Artist’s view) and the other the west side (Inspiration Point). We were approached by a German couple at Inspiration Point.  They had parked their car at the farthest point of the trail and asked if we were heading to the east rim…if we could give them a ride to the trailhead starting point.  We were happy to oblige.  They had been in the US for 5 weeks and had started their trip in Yosemite National Park.  Visiting Yosemite is on our “bucket” list.

The Lower Falls drops 308 feet and is twice as tall as Niagra Falls.

Upper Falls taken from Artists View Point

Artists Point area was named by photographer Frank J Haynes in his 1890 park guidebook, however several artists and photgraphers gather here to paint and photograph the falls to this day.

After we left the falls area we drove along Yellowstone Lake to the Old Faithful area.  Since we were here last  in 1998, this area has been renovated and has a new reception building and new benches placed in front of the Geyser.  We has only a short wait until right on the allotted thime, Old Faithful erupted.

Excelsior Geyser – releases 4,000 gallons of hot water every minute into Firehole River

 We continued along the road to Midway Geyser Basin.  The area is quite spectatular with  boiling water pouring into the river and colorful basins to view.  The photo on the left is Excelsior Gesyer which used to erupt every 20 to 120 minutes blasting water 300′ skyward, however it is beleived it’s force and pressure destroyed it’s underground waterway and now sits dormant.

 

We continued north to Gardiner.  It was a long drive today but the sight seeing was excellent. 

Grand Prismatic Hot Spring – Yellowstone’s largest hot spring

The wildlife however seemed to be hiding, as opposed to our 1998 visit when it was abundant.

Gardiner is a small town and doesn’t have a great deal of choices when it comes to restaurants and cafe…either it’s fine (expensive) dining or pub grub.  To celebrate ( a day early), we opted for pub grub.  It was a gorgeous evening so we sat out on the patio and enjoyed our burgers.

Anniversary Dinner

After our dinner we enjoyed a quiet evening under a full moon lit sky.

When we awoke the next morning the sky was overcast and it had rained.  The rain was a blessing as it assisted in controlling the Pine Creek fire.  We intended to go to the south end of the park and go to Grand Teton National Park.  According to historians, there were many people who thought this area should have been included in the formation of Yellowstone National Park.  It took many years and a large donation of secretly aquired land by John D Rockefeller Jr. to finally see the Grand Tetons become a national park. 

Grand Teton National Park

Viewing a much smaller but no less scenic park, seemed an ideal way to spend the day, however road construction stopped us a few miles into the park. For those of you arriving through the south gate, the park fees get you into both parks for the same price. For more information on Grand Teton National Park go to the foundation website to view four beautiiful videos.  You can find them at

www.gtnpf.org/

Both Yellowstone and Grand Teton Parks are a hikers paradise.  There is so much to see and do, but our time in the park was coming to an end.  We decided to go to a local Pizza Parlour for our last dinner and there I found our sign of the day.

Sign Of The Day

Thanks Brian for a memorable anniversary getaway.