Jim, Judy and Clay left on Sunday 8/16 to continue their journey on up to Yellowstone, and after working that day we ran into town to do grocery shopping and get prepared for the arrival of Al's sisters Ginny and Susie and our best friend Patti on Monday 8/17. Between touring the parks, doing some "touristy" activities and dining out, it was a really busy 10 days!
We decided to take a driving tour of Grand Teton National Park on their first morning. On our way to breakfast, I received a call from our boss, Brad, that he had just seen a grizzly bear nearby on Buffalo Valley Road. I didn't even hesitate, we turned around and headed right there.
Driving slowly along the road, we spotted this little black bear ambling through the meadow. I was a bit confused as I know Brad wouldn't tell me a grizzly if it were a black bear, but it was still a cool sight for the ladies. Just as we started to pull away, Ginny spotted the grizzly!!
He was coming slowly over a ridge, and seemed like he spotted us! He slowly ambled off out of view, behind a thicket of aspens and willows, but we drove further up the road and spotted him again.
He was absolutely gorgeous!
Pretty cute as well, although I wouldn't want to get too close...all these photos were taken with a 300mm telephoto lens, we were not near!
So the first day the ladies are here they were able to see a grizzly bear in the wild, something I've been waiting for almost 2 years!
We spent the rest of the morning at some of our favorite places in the park: Breakfast at Buffalo Valley Cafe, Signal Mountain, Jackson Lake Lodge, looking for elk along River Road. After an afternoon siesta, we headed down to Dornan's for some pizza before our next adventure, a sunset float trip on the Snake River. Even though it was a bit hazy from the fires to the west of us, it was a wonderful experience.
The float trip starts at Deadman's Bar landing, and travels several miles downriver to Moose Junction.
We saw a few bald eagles, both adults and juveniles.
We easily saw at least a couple dozen beavers, busy at work.
A highlight for us was a trio of river otters. they tumbled down the river bank, and proceeded to follow us for a couple of minutes, before scurrying away on the opposite bank.
We got excited when we spotted a female moose....
but the biggest thrill was spotting this beautiful bull moose at the end of the trip!
Wednesday was another full day, with a morning trip across Jenny Lake to do a short hike to Hidden Falls. Its really pretty and we encouraged the ladies that if we went slow, they would have no problem doing the hike. Plus, our friend Judy had issued a challenge!
You can see it was a cooler morning, but they were ready to go.
I told them this is getting up close and personal with the mountains. The closer we were, the less hazy it was as a bonus.
The scenery is so pretty on this walk.
I knew they could do it!
After arriving back at the Jenny Lake marina, we took a scenic drive through String Lake, and then up to Colter Bay for some lunch from the General Store there. Once again, we had an afternoon siesta, and then headed into Jackson to have dinner at Sidewinders (a Triple D spot) and then headed to the fairgrounds to see the Rodeo.
It was a really nice evening.
and calf roping were on the schedule. There were several other events, especially cute were the peewee's bull riding and the kid's "mutton-bustin" event, but I ran out of space on my camera card! I'm finding this new camera with its higher resolution doesn't allow quite as many pictures on my memory card as the old camera. I'm learning.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday we were working, and the ladies spent their days exploring the Visitor centers, looking for bison (found a huge herd at Antelope Flats), and window shopping in Jackson. Thursday night we met Jim, Judy and Clay for dinner at Flagg Ranch, which is on the southern border of Yellowstone National Park. Saturday night we had a hamburger cookout here on the ranch, and Brad and Joanne joined us, entertaining the ladies with stories of their life on the ranch. A rousing game of "Uno" then followed, with our co-workers Steve and Teresa joining us. We really enjoy playing card games, and it has been great this summer as Steve and Teresa also like to play games!
Sunday we had our all-day excursion to Yellowstone National Park planned, and it did not disappoint :-).
Old Faithful was, well, faithful!
We did a short walk to some of the highlights of the geyser basin, like Heart Spring with a view of Castle Geyser in the far distance.
We strolled over to the Old Faithful Inn after lunch.
Continuing the south loop drive, we stopped at Grand Prismatic Spring. The very best shot of this spring would be from high atop the ridge on the far side, but I think this eye level shot came out pretty good.
We found a bison along the road from Madison to Canyon Village.
The north rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone showed us some beautiful views.
Even with the haze and the late afternoon rays the Lower Falls are an awesome sight.
After our long day in Yellowstone, there wasn't too much activity the next day until late afternoon, when we had booked the Dinner Cruise on Jackson Lake. We had done this last year and thought it would be something nice to do again this year. It was a beautiful night, and our co-workers Gale and Ronda joined us as well.
Our happy dinner group. The cruise takes you across Jackson lake to Elk island, where you disembark and have a camp cookout on the beach.
The views of the mountains are truly spectacular.
On the way home, we were lucky enough to spot this female elk along Oxbow Bend.
Another beautiful sunset.
Our last day of adventures with the ladies, Tuesday, we decided to take them to the Bar J Western Dinner and Show, with a stop at Teton Village along the way. For anyone not able to summit these mountain peaks on foot, the Aerial Tram is a fun way to get to the top for some breath-taking views.
It's a 12 minute ride 4000 feet up to the summit of Rendezvous Mountain.
A panoramic view once at the top! Spectacular!
Also at the summit is Corbett's Cabin. This is a popular ski run here, and the cabin serves hot and cold drinks, as well as waffles...boy were they good :-).
We spent a little time up there having our waffles and checking out the views, before getting back on the tram for our descent back to Teton Village.
Can you imagine skiing off this??
Wednesday was their last day here, and we had a final meal of chicken parmigiana and another rousing game of Uno to send them off on. It was a really fun time, we're so glad they could come out and visit with us. I think they had a good time with us as well :-).
Our time here is getting shorter, less than a month left before we start heading east again. We are heading back to Amazon in Campbellsville for our fifth season, but are planning a week's "vacation" in Minnesota at Grand Marais on Lake Superior. After that will be a quick stop in Indiana to get our slides adjusted at the Grand Design factory. And there are still things to see and do here! I better get busy :-)! Plans to make and things to do. Stay safe and have fun...until next time!