We left home in Central Iowa on Saturday June 15th, and drove to Gillette Wyoming. We had enough time that we were able to make a little side trip to Devil's Tower.
Sunday, June 16th. We stopped for pictures at Powder River Pass. We also ate lunch at a nice restaurant in Worland, WY called Cow Camp Diner. We made it to the East Entrance at 5pm. We used the first pit toilet hut we found after entering the park, and wowsers that was a smell, yuck! We stopped at the store East of the Fishing Bridge, but then decided we just wanted to get to our cabins, so we drove straight up to Canyon. We found the registration area and got checked in. We were in cabins G 3 5 and G 3 6. Our cabins were clean and comfortable and seemed to be in a quiet area. We ate dinner at the Canyon Dining Room and were not impressed. I asked our waiter what the Halibut sandwich was like, he compared it to the McFish from McDonald's. I decided to pass and got soup and salad bar instead. It was just okay, the soup was mostly broth. We did have dessert that was pretty tasty and our first taste of huckleberry ice cream. YUM!!
Monday, June 17th we decided to get up early. We ate breakfast at the Canyon cafeteria which we enjoyed. It was very tasty and hit the spot. We then ventured to Uncle Tom's Trail. We went to find the trail and dang I about ran right into a bison. There was a ranger there that said to get back, so we did. We also saw two bull elk grazing up on the hillside (to the south??) of the parking area. Uncle Tom's Trail about killed me. haha. It was tough. My knees were shaking the entire way down. The view was incredible and there was a little bit of a rainbow (even a faint double rainbow at times). The trek back up was strenuous, but we did it. Next was Artist's Point. From there we went to the Brink of the Upper Falls, which was awesome as well. Next we went to Lookout Point and saw the Osprey and their nest. We also looked at Grand View, Inspiration Point and the Glacial Boulder. We then headed south and had a picnic lunch at the Otter Creek Picnic Area, it was beautiful and peaceful! Next we went to Sulphur Caderon and Mud Volcano areas, followed by LeHardy Rapids. We were able to see four trout jump the rapids, but weren't able to get any pics. We endured our first animal jam and it was worth it, a Grizzly way out in a clearing, just north of the fishing bridge turn off, we were excited! Our next stop was the fishing bridge where we spotted an otter. He swam and dunked under twice before surfacing with a rather large fish in his mouth and I was able to get pics of that. We went on to the Lake area, General Store and Lake Hotel. We had Lemonades at the bar and kicked back in the comfy chairs. We went down to West Thumb Geyser Basin which we enjoyed. Then back up to Lake Cafeteria for Supper which was excellent. We had Prime Rib and Roast Turkey, it was very very good! Heading back towards Canyon through Hayden Valley, we pulled off and heard wolves howling, it was incredible. We went to the next pull off and were able to spot two wolves, how awesome. After wolf gazing we meandered back toward Canyon where we spotted a black bear. Wow was a busy, but awesome first day!!! The weather started out at 34 but warmed up to 77. An absolutely beautiful day!
Tuesday, we got up early again, skipped breakfast and just ate what we brought along. We were going to head to Lamar Valley, packed our bags and out of our cabin by 6am, to find out the road North to Tower doesn't open till 7am. So we took the long way around. We saw Elk w/ babies on our way through Mammoth, a black bear with two cinnamon cubs West of Tower. Then on to Lamar, stopping by the bridge to see the badger and her baby, as well as our first Bison Jam. We saw lots of Bison, Elk, Pronghorn, and a Grizzly with a cub (far away) in Lamar. Drove past Soda Butte, and near the Pebble Creek area saw two large black bears. We headed back towards Tower and were going to head to Tower Fall, spent a lot of time in road construction and ended up giving up and turning around and heading back towards Mammoth. We had lunch at the Terrace Grill which was good, we also had ice cream there. We walked the boardwalks at Mammoth and then headed North to the Roosevelt Arch. We got in another animal jam just as we were leaving Mammoth heading south, we think it might have been a grizzly, but only got pics of a bear rump. We stopped at the Golden Gate and saw Rustic Falls. Then we drove down and did the Norris Geyser Basin Loop (skipping Porcelain). From there we drove down to Old Faithful Inn and saw Old Faithful geyser for the first time. We checked into our duplex, very near the OF Lodge, I think we were in 142 and 143. It was nice, clean and comfortable as well, very comparable to the Canyon cabin we stayed in. We ate at the snow lodge cafeteria and got to see Old Faithful again at sunset. It was awesome for us first timers! The weather today started out cool at 31, but warmed up to 83. Nice and warm and mostly sunny, it did cloud up a few times, but over all a very nice day.
Wednesday, June 19, we had breakfast in the Obsidian Dining Room, it was very good and reasonably priced. We then headed to the Fairy Falls Trail, we were the 3rd vehicle in the lot. We did the hike and it was amazing. This was the one thing I really, really wanted to do and see, and it was amazing. I could have sat up there and gazed at Grand Prismatic for hours! When we climbed down the parking lot and roadsides were full! We then toured Midway Geyser Basin. On our way North we also were able to see a Mountain Goat, that was really cool to see! Our next stop was Artist Paint Pots, which we thought were cool. We really enjoyed watching and listening to the thick mud pot on top of the hill. Then on to the Chocolate Pot pull off. Heading back south again we stopped at Gibbon Falls, and then looked and looked for a picnic area, and settled with Tuff Cliff. We were tired, and headed back to Old Faithful. We took a nap for an hour, woke up and then it hailed and rained. We waited it out and drove over to the Visitor Center, saw Old Faithful geyser again. Walked around Old Faithful Inn some more, went to Hamilton Store and ended up in the Bear Paw Lounge. We had supper at the Obsidian dining room, which was a little expensive, but still good. (outside of the dining room the pedestrian sign has a sticker on it with a hula hoop around it, so we made sure to take pics of our group hula hooping by that sign. It was a hoot! For sure after spending a little time in the Bear Paw Lounge earlier.) The day started off at 47 and warmed to 71. Nice and sunny in the morning, but a little rough in the afternoon.
Thursday, June 20th, we were still in our Old Faithful Lodge cabins and we woke up to cold temps, the thermometer in the truck said ICE. Brrrr. It was also snowing just a wee little bit. It was windy and cold. We ate breakfast at the Obsidian dining room again, before heading out on the geyser basin boardwalks. We meandered along and saw Jim the Geyser Gazer waiting at Riverside, waited 10 mins and it went off. It was fabulous! Walked down to Morning Glory pool and then back, and we were able to see Castle going. How cool was that. Jim told us to get to Grand geyser around 11am and we would be able to see it. We raced back to our cabin, packed up and checked out and practically sprinted to Grand. Thinking it was predicted for 11am. Hmph, it has a 3 hour window, so we sat and we waited and waited and Turban went and we waited and Turban went and 1.5 hours passed and finally Grand, Turban and Vent all went. It WAS worth the wait! What a great cap to our stay. We ate lunch in the Cafeteria which was very good, we tried the Philly sandwiches, the Lasagna, the trout, and chicken alfredo, plus other stuff during our visits. The meals we had in the cafeterias were good. Now we are on the road again, and headed to Grand Teton National Park. Stopped at one of the Continental Divide pull offs and Lewis Falls before checking in at Signal Mountain Lodge to check in and have supper. It was very tasty!!! The temps ranged from ICE to 60. It was mostly cloudy, but the sun did peak out a couple times. The farther south we got the sunnier it got. At Signal Mountain Lodge it was cloud free and we had a great view of the Tetons from our Lakefront cabin. We loved our cabin and our view.
Friday, June 21, Breakfast at Signal Mountain Lodge, which was very good, and then we pretty much drove through the Tetons. It was cloudy when we woke up and the mountain tops were covered with clouds. We drove and stopped at the Mt. Moran pull off, and the Cathedral Group Pull off, the Jenny Lake Overlook (trails were mostly closed), Taggart Trail Overlook, Chapel of Transfiguration (closed while we were there for a wedding), Mormon Row, and took Moose-Wilson road to Teton Village. We didn't see any moose, bummer! At Teton Village we took the Tram to the top and it was awesome as well. I loved it. It was I think 45 on top of the mountain but so fun up there! Back down in the village we ate lunch at the Mangy Moose. Then on to Jackson Hole where we meandered around the town and took pics of the Antler Arches and rode in that little horse drawn stage coach. We thought it was a really fun town and wish we could have spent more time looking around. However, our next night was going to be in Pinedale, WY, so we had to get moving.
After spending Friday night in Pinedale, WY, and Saturday night in North Platte, NE we headed home to Central Iowa. Home Sweet Home, Sunday June 23rd.
I think that pretty much covers our trip. We were able to see and do a lot. I know there is stuff we didn't get to see like Fountain Paint Pots and Biscuit Basin as well as a lot of hikes and views in the Tetons. I guess I will have to save those for next time.
I want to thank everyone on this site that helped me with my itinerary and helped answer my questions.
I'm still sorting through the 1813 pictures that I took. Eek!
Thanks again everyone!