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A different sort of TR 7/19-7/28 from a 1st time visitor

tucson,az
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A different sort of TR 7/19-7/28 from a 1st time visitor

I learned so much valuable information from this forum - thanks to everyone who helped me prepare to visit this incredible place. I think the most important advise I heard and took to heart was ...roll with the flow ...if you love the outdoors or only have a piqued interest as to why YNP became the first national park, you will not be disappointed with your decision to visit !

I will write my report as a reply...

Mount Washburn
Mountains, National Parks
Gibbon Falls
Geologic Formations, National Parks, Nature & Wildlife Areas, Waterfalls
Aurum Geyser
Geologic Formations, Hot Springs & Geysers, National Parks
tucson,az
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510 posts
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1. Re: A different sort of TR 7/19-7/28 from a 1st time visitor

7/19-7/22 - Jackson-Big Sky, MT;

flew into Jackson - liked walking off the plane onto the tarmac and walking through my first antler arch ! Picked up rental car from Thrifty (off premises) and bought cooler, food etc at the well stocked Alberstson's just down the street. Don't worry, it has everything you could possibly need for your vacation . We (myself, DH, 18 yr old daughter , M) then drove about 4 hours via route 22,32,20,and 191 (why does 1 road change its name so many times ?) to arrive at Big Sky in the evening. Rented a wonderful condo via VRBO (vacation rental by owner) #215704 . For the next 3 mornings DH went to AM conferences , I went our for morning runs, including to Ousel Falls and M slept in . Nice little summer community and enjoyed participating in their Wed evening farmer's market, and Thurs evening free concert . One day M and I drove to Bozeman . The drive was along the Gallatin RIver - very scenic, to say the least ! Bozeman had a few blocks of cute, quaint stores and killer food at MacKenzie RIver Pizza Co. DH enjoyed the challenging links style golf course. A nice way to ease into vacation mode, although I can't say I would go out of my way to make it a destination, save for the conference.

7/22-7-25 YNP

So why did I title this a different sort of TR... previous trip reports I have written have been a play by play - day by day,where we went, what we ate, etc. YNP is just not that kind of place. There is just so much to enjoy, that I don't think it really mattered much ( with a few exceptions) where I went or what I saw because it was ALL so special. In other words,for a first time visitor like myself with limited time - 4 days is limited- I don't think I could have gone wrong with anything that I decided to do. So, I will approach this report with that in mind

Lodging - As recommended, try to stay in 2 areas of the park and keep refreshing the Xanterra site until you get the accommodations you want. I started planning in April and was able to arrange my ideal accommodations - 2 nights at Old Faithful Inn 2 queen room in the Old house and 2 nights in Canyon in the 2 queen western cabins. In the future when I return I will build my stay according to getting a room at Old Faithful Inn in the Old House, it was that incredible for me. (see my review and pictures) . Shared bathrooms are clean and convenient , IMHO, but maybe a little tough with young kids .

I took the free tour of the Inn and it made me love it even more !

Planning out our day's activities - I mentally divided the day into 3 blocks of time morning (for me 5 AM to noonish), mid day - noonish- 5 PMish and evening - 5PMish to 11 PMish I have way more energy than the rest of my family, so I usually did my own thing in the morning, while they got up leisurely and did their thing until we met up around noon - works for us ! We chose an area to explore per block of time and let the day define what we did and what we saw and when we ate.

Xanterra tours - I will begin by saying I am not a "tour" kind of person but the the 2 tours I did here turnred out to be highlights of my trip !!

Photo tour at Old Faithful- I bought a new point and shoot zoom camera and had read a stellar review about the leader , Wim, and this particular tour so I decided to try it out. It wasn't what I expected - I thought we would be driven around to places that are particularly photogenic in the early morning hours..no it was better than that. We started out at Kepler Cascades and Wim helped all of us individually set up our cameras manually and gave us instructions (according to our level of experience) and how to capture "better than the average bear" pics. note - 2 families bought kids with them and they seemed bored to tears, so I recommend this trip for the photographer of the group , not necessarily your whole party. We then got back on the yellow bus ( amazing story about the history of the buses) and drove through the park making some planned and unplanned stops according to what we saw along the way. Wim is a professional and I hope I captured even a slice of the knowledge of the park and photography that he shared with us.

I think anyone interested in improving their photo taking ability in YNP and beyond would benefit and enjoy this trip - and then of course, you never know what you will see in this early morning drive.

Wake up to Wildlife tour out of Canyon - I was so enamored with the previous tour, I signed up for this one our first morning at Canyon. Led by Xanterra employee Erick, we drove in the yellow bus through Dunraven Pass, to Roosevelt and over to Lamar. Erick has been doing these 5 hour tours twice a day, 3-4 times per week for the past 2 years - that morning we saw what he said was " the ultimate experience" of his 2 years there. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it....but first... Erick is an extremely knowledgeable naturalist which made our drive so much more rewarding then just driving by myself ! I mean, I couldn't ask him anything that he wasn't practically encyclopedic!! We stopped to look at some poop on the road - good sign - wolf poop - the color , the embedded hair, the form - I can identify wolf poop now ! So back to the ultimate experience... involved a wolf, but not any wolf, but the 06F of the Lamar Canyon Pack , a black bear and an elk carcass....I will make this a separate report soon, but suffice it to say it was THE HIGHLIGHT of my trip !!

Hikes -I felt like any hiking we did was terrific - there is just so much to see...my advise, just get out and walk , anywhere, and you will be rewarded !! I did miss not hiking to Mt Washburn, but the clouds looked ominous and we did in fact get a crazy storm with lightning around midnight one night - I was just about 8 hours off in my prediction !! A couple places we hiked (besides the boardwalks) were Fairy Falls Trail, Mystic Falls, Mystic Falls Overlook, Uncle tom's Trail, and South Rim Trail and to the base of Tower Fall.

Wildlife - bring binoculars !! Get out early, stay out late and look around ! We saw wolves , both in Hayden and Lamar Valleys , a black bear, a grizzly bear, elk , doe and fawn, osprey and chicks, red tailed hawk, big flying bugs, solitary bison ( never saw a herd though) chipmunks,a pine marten, bunnies, and in the Grand Tetons a moose,bald eagles and a beaver !! Pictures to come if I can figure out flicker !

Traffic and crowds - never a problem

Bear spray - buy it and if you are fortunate enough not to have to use it, pass it on to someone who lives/works at the park

Mosquitoes - only bad when we went to look for the beaver in a marshy area ; otherwise not too bad. It had cooled off at night a bit when we were there

7/26-7/28 Grand Tetons, Jackson, WY

this report is getting long ,so I will save this for another time, but highlights include

Lodging - Wort Hotel - Loved it ( see report)

6 AM Snake RIver Float with Solitude Rafting - loved it

Wildlife - moose with full rack at Moose Junction - (how appropriate !) beaver swimming in the river, bald eagles , osprey and lesser Canadian geese overhead

Activites - Mormon Row, shopping in Jackson, pizza at Mile High pizza, SIgnal Mtn summit road, breakfast at SIgnal Mtn lodge, lunch at the Mural Room,Silver Dollar Bar

pictures - to come , I hope....

hope whoever gets through this report enjoyed it...

I'm already thinking about when I can return to YNP , but this time it will be exclusively to the park - maybe in winter...

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Ohio, USA
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2. Re: A different sort of TR 7/19-7/28 from a 1st time visitor

WOW...what a great trip and an outstanding trip report. Can't wait for the pics. We will be heading to YNP and GTNP in about 3 weeks for our 11 day/10 night adventure. I'm a planner, but I am rellay trying to take the advice that you mentioned at the top and just go with the flow. I have also been debating about the Yellow Bus Tours. We did a Red Bus tour in Glacier and it provided an excellent introduction to the park. The Yellow Buses are such a part of the YNP history and so iconic that I want to try and fit one it. Your experiences have me leaning more toward taking at least one tour.

The teaser for the wolf encounter has me on the edge of my seat. Looking forward to the details.

Atlanta, Georgia
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3. Re: A different sort of TR 7/19-7/28 from a 1st time visitor

Great trip report and wonderfully done. Can't wait for the other details and hopefully photos too!! Thanks

Edited: 07 August 2011, 19:14
Salt Lake City, Utah
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4. Re: A different sort of TR 7/19-7/28 from a 1st time visitor

Nice report artemis-zeus. I'm glad you enjoyed your first visit. I'm actually thinking of a trip to Big Sky just to stay there. May never happen, but I like to hear what others think.

Ohio- You will love Yellowstone. You may never come to Utah again :-)

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Ohio
Ohio
United States
Utah
Utah
United States
Ohio, USA
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for Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce, Arches National Park
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5. Re: A different sort of TR 7/19-7/28 from a 1st time visitor

Kbec: I know that Yellowstone will require a return trip...just too much to see and do! But I'll be back to UT. Besides the Kanab meet-up follows our YNP adventure so I HAVE to go back to UT!

Pasadena, California
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6. Re: A different sort of TR 7/19-7/28 from a 1st time visitor

Thank you...am saving this TR for our upcoming trip. I'm looking forward to your report on the grand Tetons.

tucson,az
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7. Re: A different sort of TR 7/19-7/28 from a 1st time visitor

http://flic.kr/s/aHsjvMoNrU

hmm, here are a few pics to see if I got flckr to work

tucson,az
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8. Re: A different sort of TR 7/19-7/28 from a 1st time visitor

Ok , I've got flickr up and running, so I will work on adding some more photos, and work on my wildlife report/ photos !

thanks for all your kind words : )

BTW OhioHick - I love Bryce and our trip to Bryce and Zion catapulted my interest in our National Parks !!

Cincinnati, Ohio
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9. Re: A different sort of TR 7/19-7/28 from a 1st time visitor

Enjoyed reading your trip report. Glad you enjoyed it as much as we do.

I have a question. You said you hiked to the base of Tower Fall. I thought that you could hike down the trail to the river, but it was dangerous and closed to actually walk around to the base of the falls. We were on that trail in the late 90's and were sorry they had to close it.

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Tower Fall
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tucson,az
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10. Re: A different sort of TR 7/19-7/28 from a 1st time visitor

maj - You are right, the trail stops at the river and does not curve around to the actual Fall...I just meant we walked to the base of the Tower Fall Trail ( didn't actually know that at one time you could get to the Fall itself). There is some construction going on at the end of the trail, but I don't know where it leads.