Yellowstone, The Grand Tetons, and Montana
Early July 1999
We arrived at Jackson in time for a traffic jam. After parking near the Jackson Visitor Center, we walked back downtown for some food and shopping. We ate a great lunch at Burger Billy's. Everyone says you need to have a hamburger at Burger Billy's and they are right! It's worth the wait.
Next, we did our shopping and bought guitar strings for Ben, found a dress for Annette, and got Larry a T-shirt. We also hit the jackpot at the Woolrich outlet where Ben got a sweater and Annette found pajamas. After a couple hours "on the town" we headed to Flagg Ranch, Wyoming to the campground. Located between the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, Flagg Ranch is the perfect position for exploring the parks. You use the 82-mile John D Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Highway to get from the Grand Tetons to Yellowstone. Check out more Jackson area pictures.
The Grand Tetons
We got up our first morning and headed for the Grand Tetons National Park. Established as a National Park in 1929, the Grand Teton mountain rises to 13,770 feet above sea level. The twelve Teton peaks are the youngest in the Rocky Mountains. The park activities are mostly in the valley and lakes at the base of the mountains. There are no roads into the mountains.
After getting our "cancellation stamps" at the Visitor Centers, we went on a "moose search". The last trip to the park we found a location where moose are common. Again, we lucked out. This "top secret" location is on Moose-Wilson Road. The moose like the tall grass and standing water. We were lucky enough to see a male, female, and baby. Next, we took a hike on the Death Canyon trail. There are lots of hikes in the Tetons, but we had to move on.
Snake River Rafting
After a hike at Devil Canyon, we headed into town to the Mad River Water Rafting center. Because the river water is always cold, we wore wet suits on the raft. After dressing in wetsuits (you really don't want to see the pictures of us in wetsuits), we rode in a bus to the river. Because we had a fun guide and experienced raft mates, we had a little more daring ride than usual. We were glad we'd brought a change of clothes, so we didn't have a sloggy ride home. We had a great time and were ready to grill our steaks when we got back to the RV in early evening.
We spent the next day exploring many of the sites of Yellowstone National Park including the West Thumb Geysers, Old Faithful, and Firehole Canyon. Although we love Yellowstone, it's become so crowded it's starting to lose its appeal. There are cars and buffalo everywhere. People have no idea how to react and sometimes do stupid things. They get too close to buffalo, ignore warnings about grizzly bears, and lean over the boiling hot springs... not too smart.
We started our exploration at the West Thumb. This area is on the edge of a lake and contains lots of hot springs. We took the loop trail to explore the geysers, pots, and hot pools.
While we enjoyed watching Old Faithful as we ate our lunch, we were ready for some time away from the crowds. Old Faithful is a geyser that erupts every 75-90 minutes.
As we drove through the park, it was interesting to see how the park is recovering from the devastating fires. We stopped at Madison to watch bison.
We found an isolated area on Firehole Canyon Drive, parked and hiked down a ravine to a mountain stream across from an elk who was dozing. We got out the sketch books and spent some time relaxing and trying our hand at drawing landscapes. We each found our own quiet spot and enjoyed the sun and cool breeze.
After a long day on the road, we spent the evening creating a great chicken stew in our Dutch oven on the grill. Yummy!


The next day we headed around the east side of the park and saw deer, elk, moose, coyotes, big horn sheep, and lots of bison. We enjoyed Fishing Bridge, Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, and the Mammoth Hot Springs. At one point the traffic was stopped for bison to cross the road. We were so fascinated by the attraction ahead that we almost missed the bison looking into Annette's window.

We saw some elk with huge racks at Fishing Bridge, explored the Mud Volcano, enjoyed a hike the South Rim Trail (over 6.5 miles round trip) from Artist Point to Sublime Point at The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone to see the waterfall (below), and made a quick stop at Mammoth Hot Springs. We saw wildlife everywhere. The elk (below) were found in an open meadow and the big horn sheep (below) were grazing on a hillside near Dunraven Pass.

We headed out the west entrance of the park and north toward Montana. We stopped for lunch along the road and enjoyed watching kayakers on the river. As we headed north we saw fields of yellow and found out they were canola plants used for making canola products such as oil.

As we drove toward Great Falls, we began to see more and more wheat fields like the one on the right. The sky seems to get bigger and bigger. We can now understand where they got the term "Big Sky" of Montana.

The campground in Great Falls worked great. We spent the night, unhooked, and spent the next day taking Benjamin to the Rocky Boys Reservation in Box Elder, Montana to meet his group. He would spend the next week working on the reservation painting houses for the needy as part of a Methodist Youth Group mission. After dropping him off, we headed back to Great Falls. On the way back, we spent some time photographing a beautiful old school (left photo).

It was then time to head back to Salt Lake City for a few days of work.

Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 1/99, 6/00.
Updated, 7/01.
Return to Trip Page