This morning we are a bit depressed as we know we are leaving Yellowstone to travel back to Jackson. We leave tomorrow, but our goal this morning was to be in Hayden at sunrise. This time of the morning, it was COLD! We broke out the winter coats we brought along in our checked luggage just in case, as well as the hats and gloves! We went to the spot I believe was called Elk Antler Creek where we saw the coyote and wolf. Nothing was there, we were not even seeing the Bison that were always around. We went up the road further to find some folks looking at a herd of Elk out in the valley. We went back to our spot again and waited awhile, nothing….. We were getting a bit disappointed, afterall the trick here is suppose to be bright and early or early evening to dusk right? We headed back in the opposite direction towards the Sulphur Cauldron and there must have been 25 cars! Ok, now something is going on… We spotted something at the top of the hill, Ted’s remark was it can’t be a Bison can it? I grabbed the binoculars and screamed out “No it is a bear STOP!!!!!!!!!!” We got out grabbed the scope, and looked to get a sight of what people were saying was a Grizzly with a cub. I have seen Black bears in the Smokies many times, and immediately knew this was not a Grizzley but Black bears, and through the scope there was no mistaking it! I hated to burst anyone’s bubble but…… This is where you saw people get stupid not to mention inconsiderate! There had to be a good 12-15 people that started following the bears! First of all this is a mother with a baby, and it is a BEAR people! Not only is this not the smartest thing to do, all it did was drive the bears further away from everyone else who wanted to get a glimpse of them! A little further away, we did see a Grizzly, and just as earlier with the Wolf and the Coyote, once you saw them so closely together, there was no mistaking which was which, the Grizzly was much larger and brown, not black, and the notorious hump was there. He was there and gone very quickly much like the wolf, and unfortunately Ted did not get to see him. Then another coyote appeared again very close to the road, again we watched this one hunt for awhile, again he was very healthy looking for a coyote.
We were exhilarated, such excitement on our last day in Yellowstone, we saw the bears! Now we needed to get back shower, and check out to head back through the Tetons to Jackson.
There are not many places that I have traveled to that have brought tears to my eyes at the thought of leaving…… This is now among them. I started getting really depressed thinking about leaving this park. I did not let it last long, we still had another whole day ahead of us right? It wasn’t over yet!
We headed out and stopped off at the West Thumb area to view these hotspots. The colors here were magnificent, and the fact that they line the shore of the lake was in itself pretty amazing. You could literally look out at the lake and see bubbles knowing there are more out there. Once again the thought of this, and the fact that we were standing on a major volcanic area gave me chills, and that creepy feeling again, yet at the same time it was a bit amazing. The boardwalk here seemed a little rickety and again I had to wonder how this could be safe. In spite of my eeriness, there were some beautiful colors here.
We headed out towards Grand Tetons, and were looking forward to the vista’s heading back in that direction.
Just outside of Jackson Lake Lodge, we came across a good number of cars again, we stopped to find a Cow Moose and baby in a ravine…….. This one was close and down in a ravine, so we got some good pictures of her, the baby was laying down, kind of hidden. Once again we encountered some people who were not using their heads, and once again you can see how people get hurt. Several people went to the other side of the ravine and actually started to climb down in it, we were not sure they knew she had a calf down there, and people started to yell to them that there was a baby down there, they did not seem to care, and we left at that point. We now see why the Ranger’s are so quick to protect both the animals and the people who are not respecting the dangers of a wild animal, especially one who have young to protect!
We stopped just past the dam at a photo op of Jackson Lake with Mt. Moran in the backdrop, and to our surprise we hit it with the sun just right, the clouds were actually reflecting off the water, and oh my don’t look now, but so were the mountains! Talk about a photo op!!!! These are by far my favorite pictures, a gentleman took one of the two of us with the mirror background behind us, and perfectly centered us, that one I will blow up and frame, and cherish forever!
Our friend from the plane Chris, told us to be sure to do the summit of Signal Mountain, so having not steered us wrong so far, we did, the views from the top of Signal Mountain are breathtaking, you have views of the prairie on one side and the Tetons on the other. Once again, this is yet another place to truly relax a minute, and really take in the beauty and majestic scenery around you.
We had heard from travelers on TA about the Moose Wilson Road, we decided to check that out on the way back as well, but unfortunately it was mid-day, so animal viewing was not in the cards here, but it is normally a great place to see Moose among other animals. It did not matter that we did not see anything, this is the kind of drive my husband and I love, truly in the woods, part gravel roads, and just beautiful.
We had to go into town to get our pictures taken under the antler arches in the town square. That is a must do while in Jackson. Not to mention the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. The bar has barstools which are horse saddles, the knobbled wood in the bar is also something to see. They have great bands there on the weekends for a nominal cover charge of $5. You cannot go to Jackson without stopping for a drink at the Cowboy Bar. The shops in Jackson, well I could have spent hours, but let’s not forget this is my husband’s birthday trip, so I fought the urge and did not even ask him. I’m sure as he reads this, he will realize the sacrifice I made for him…lol.
We went to check in at the Buckrail, and then headed back out to Antelope Flats Rd to find the Morman Barn, one of the most photographed barns there is. You will see paintings of it everywhere in and around this area. It sits abandoned but with the Teton’s directly behind it, make is very photogenic (I’m not sure if that word fits here, but I will use it anyway) the sun was not our friend unfortunately for this photo op, but they are still pretty cool in spite of it.
We ended the evening by heading to Dornan’s near Moose, they have a terrace you can sit on and watch the sun set behind the Teton’s with a cocktail in hand. (yes, another tip from our friend from the plane Chris). This was an incredible way to end the trip with a glass of wine watching the setting with the river winding through in front of the mountains. Again, western romance at it’s best! (who needs a beach???)
We had dinner at a Mexican Restaurant in Jackson, called El Abuelito. The food was excellent, the salsa hot like we like it, not to mention very large portions for a modest price.
This trip will go down in our memories as perfect! It has also set the bar very high as to what could possibly beat it. We hope to return one day, to explore more of Wyoming both inside and outside the parks, as well as Montana and Idaho, and continue to look for the wildlife, our newest joint passion. I keep telling him I could live out there. I don’t think he is taking me seriously. If it did not mean leaving family and friends…. Well there is always working for Xanterra when we retire…….lol