Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Yellowstone National Park/Grand Tetons National Park - September 2013 Trip Report

Yellowstone National Park/Grand Tetons National Park - September 2013 Trip Report

As I mentioned in my May 2012 YNP/GTNP Trip Report, I did not get sufficient time on the ground to satisfy my need to explore Yellowstone National Park, thanks to an untimely snowstorm that ultimately closed the south entrance of YNP and trapped me in Jackson Hole. Not a horrible place to be, but I had expected at least one more day in Yellowstone. So, I started planning my next trip to Yellowstone almost immediately. I ultimately was able to book lodging in the park this time around, a week at the historic Old Faithful Inn (http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/lodging/summer-lodges/old-faithful-inn/) and a week at the Lake Lodge Cabins (http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/lodging/summer-lodges/lake-lodge-cabins/). I had to share a bathroom for my week at the Old Faithful Inn, but that wasn't that big of a deal for somebody who lived in the dorms at the University of Maryland-College Park. What was far worse was the NASTY, mold riddled bathroom in my cabin by the lake. I DO NOT recommend the Lake Lodge Cabins. Xanterra has a lot of work to do with respect to those cabins. I understand their age, but the amount of mold I encountered was simply unacceptable. That little mold rant over, let us get started with the trip report.

Due to the fog of time, I'm not going to be able to go into anywhere as much detail as I did in my Alaska Trip Report, so instead I'm going to just give a general overview of how my trip went. My intention was that I would spend the week at the Old Faithful Inn mostly visiting the thermal areas of the park, and the week at the Lake Lodge Cabins mostly doing wildlife photography. I actually was able to stick to this schedule fairly well. I spent the first few days in the park exploring Geyser Hill and the Old Faithful area, getting to see Old Faithful Geyser play many times. I also saw Grand Geyser play twice, several plays of Castle Geyser, and also some smaller geysers playing.

Above you'll find some photos of Old Faithful Geyser playing. You can see that I took the time to hike up the hill to get some photos from above.

Grand Geyser

Morning Glory Pool

A little bit smaller geyser.

Castle Geyser.

Human for scale. Actually, he kept getting in our photos...

Blue Star Pool.
I also got to visit several other thermal areas, including Norris Geyser Basin, Fountain Paint Pots, etc... One particular highlight that proved nearly impossible to photograph was Grand Prismatic Spring. Since I was travelling solo and it was in bear country, I did not make the bushwhack up the hill to get a steam-free photograph. The NPS isn't too keen on folks doing it, although as far as I am aware it is not banned outright...yet.

I spent the latter portion of my trip exploring the northern and eastern parts of the park, which are more mountainous in parts and more prone to wildlife sightings in parts. I was lucky enough to see Bison, Brown Bears, and many other animals, especially in the two main valleys of the park, Lamar and Hayden.

I was also blessed with the opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and spend a morning getting some nice morning photography done.

I finished up my trip with some time in Grand Tetons National Park, where I got some quality time with a black bear and some other wildlife.

It was a good trip. I've complied some video for your enjoyment. It runs around 48 minutes and covers most of the major thermal areas of Yellowstone National Park, with many geysers:

* Just a note... The photographs and videos on this website are an exception to my normal share and share alike with no commercial use license. They are Copyright Joshua Szulecki and MAY NOT be used without permission. I do NOT want to see them showing up on your website without my permission.

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