Yellowstone is a beautiful National Park. I didn’t know much about Yellowstone before going. I knew Old Faithful was there, but there’s so much more.
We drove The Grand Loop, but didn’t stop at all points. There’s only so many stops that can be made in one day and we did want to see Old Faithful.
There were beautiful waterfalls, Yellowstone Lake, boiling mud pots, flowers, fumaroles, bison and bears. Our crowning moment….seeing a grizzly bear on the way out of the park
My second day of Yellowstone, I was alone. My group left for home. I had an idea of what I’d like to see since we drove the loop before. I headed back through the East Entrance and turned left instead of right.
I wanted to see the lower, middle, and upper geysers. Today was filled with steaming, colorful pools and small gysers that spouted and gurgled, a few flowers, a waterfall, and the most beautiful sunset.
There’s only about five miles between Yellowstone and Grand Teton. I spent the night in my car between the two parks.
Early the next morning, I met the beauty of the Grand Teton’s Mountains. They stand majestically waiting to greet whoever passes by.
Grand Teton has two different sides to it. One road goes along the lakes and the other the river.
I drove around the lake side, stopping to watch the sun rising over a marina. I snapped this beautiful view of two people waiting to see the sunrise also.
That’s something people do on vacation….sunrises and sunsets.
My first road was up Signal Hill. It has a lovely view of the mountains and the meadows.
While I was up there a private tour showed up and I was able to view a herd of elk and bison from the tour guide’s telescope. They left soon after, I enjoyed the view more, only leaving when another group showed up.
My next stop was a trail around the lake. Wasn’t really feeling like a morning hike, so I took the road around and pulled into the pullouts for views. I walked down one of them and took in the beauty. I asked a couple to take this picture of me.
It was so lovely; like a postcard setting. I decided to walk a bit of the path at this one. There were people walking and talking. Thier laughter and words echoing around. The I heard, “Bear!” It’s amazing…people don’t go the opposite way….they go toward the bear.
That grizzly bear was below us on a steep incline. Us above him and the lake below. He moved so quickly, it was hard to stay up with him, which was what all the people on the path was trying to do…including me. Two times, he tried to come up, but I’m sure the noise and all the cameras on the phones pointing toward him was intimidating.
He decided it was easier to go into the lake. We watched as he walked on the water’s edge, went over a fallen tree in the water and then finally swam away. It was a beautifully, unique experience to watch him swimming.
Stopping at a visitor center, I found a campsite that wasn’t full yet and went to set up my tent. Next, I went into the town of Jackson to find a late lunch/ early dinner. I found a brewery that served up expensive burgers, but since I skipped lunch, I was ready for any type of food. Afterwards, I walked around town taking in the sights and stopped for ice cream on the way out.
I did some more sightseeing in the park with churches and Mormon Row and drove along the the side of the river road. I was looking for moose and bears, but didn’t hardly see anymore wildlife. However, there were some beautiful wildflowers.
Another gorgeous sunset before heading to my tent at Gros Ventre Campground.
The next morning, after packing my campsite, I saw cars parked along the river and lots of people watching around the river. Score! Two bull moose and one cow were having breakfast across the river. We stood watching them walk among the bushes eating.
Coffee, pancakes, and bacon filled me up for breakfast at the Chuck Wagon. Back in my car, I started retracing the road back towards Utah. I had about a five hour drive, but for me, that stretched out because I love to stop.
On the way up, I had driven quite a bit at night, trying to make sure I reached Wyoming in time to meet up with my group and I was spending days exploring.
I will tell you that when I reached Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, I was horrified that I had driven that road at night. It was like taking a rollercoaster in a dark building; not knowing what drops you didn’t see coming. I had driven it slower because of the wildlife. One big buck or elk had jumped in front of my car and I slammed on my breaks and gripped the steering wheel tightly. All I really saw was a large rear end, feet, and a tail. I stopped a little while after passing the dam.
Now in daylight. I took in the beautiful mountain areas. The road curved without much land on the side of the road before it dropped off.
I spent the night at a questionable cheap hotel in Vernal,Utah. It still had a touchtone phone, but it wasn’t plugged in and the bathtub and sink took hours to drain. At $39.95, I felt like I overpaid for my night in a king size bed.
The next morning, my scrumptious breakfast at Betty’s Cafe made me forget my horrible room. I drove through the town admiring all the quirky dinosaurs all over town.
There were pamplets that I picked up in the restaurant that described different scenic drives. I chose one that led to a swinging bridge at Brown’s Park. It sounded like a perfect way to spend the day. It was about a ninety mile loop, but since I’d already driven Flaming Gorge twice, I decided to take the back road, which was about fifty-five mile drive.
Up and over a few mountains and a left hand turn…then I ran out of asphalt and was driving on gravel, dirt, and grass roads. I felt pretty confident. There wasn’t phone service, so it was just me and the pamplet map.
I followed…saw cows and a cattle truck. I waved at him and kept going. Soon the roads became narrower and I kept driving. This wasn’t a road that was traveled much. Ruts cut through the grass and I kept going trying to keep to the side of the ruts, so the bottom of my car wouldn’t drag. Driving with the windows down made for a lovely aroma when the sage brush would be brushed by the car.
I came to a cattle guard and beyond that a curve. I stopped. The road looked as if it hadn’t seen traffic for years; nature was reaching out reclaiming the land.
If I could make it through the five mile canyon, I’d be in Brown’s Park. Getting out of the car, I looked at the road ahead of me and considered. If I decided to go on would my Sonata make it over the rough terrin. I could picture myself stranded. I rarely worry about traveling on my own, but this gave me pause.
This time, I decided to be cautious and turn around. It took me about seven turns on that narrow road to get myself headed back toward the way I had come. Disappointment wasn’t strong enough for what I was feeling.
About three-quarters back down the road, I saw an older model truck driving towards me. I felt like leaping out and yelling with excitement. I hadn’t seen a car since the cattle truck, which seemed forever ago. I pulled to the side as far as I could and he did the same.
Inside was an elderly couple. He was driving and she was sitting in the middle of the seat, right next to him. Their positions made me smile. We greeted one another.
With both of the windows down, our conversation started, and I asked, “Is behind me the way to Brown’s Park?’ He confirmed it was through the canyon behind me. In fact, he was taking his wife on the drive through the canyon because she ‘loved that canyon’ and hadn’t been there in a few years.
I told him about the pamplet. He didn’t have a clue there was one. I asked if he thought I could drive the canyon in my car. He looked at my car and said, “I’m surprised you were able to drive this far.” He said absolutely that there was no way I could drive it in a car and he was sure that even in his truck that it would be a challenge, but he wanted to take his wife to her ‘favorite canyon.’
She told me the best way to drive to Brown’s Park was 191 back over Flaming Gorge. There simply wasn’t going to be that in my future, so I decided to head back and go on.
I felt like I had wasted my afternoon. I had wandered two hours driving through pastures and it was going to be that long on the way back. If only!
I continued backtracking the way I had come only to hit the main gravel road and couldn’t remember which way I should turn. Oh my goodness! Just thinking about how lost I got through those patures makes me laugh. I found myself going in circles. I couln’t figure out how to get back to the main road. On my fourth attempt, I made it.
Once on the main road, I saw a sign that said Dinosaur, Colorado and I headed that direction. The adventure was back on.
It was dark by the time I made it to Dinosaur. I looked for a place to stay. There was one of those tiny roadside motels. I stopped to check on prices even though I was a bit leary of the place. There wasn’t a car in the parking lot, so I was a surprised when I was asked if I had a reservation. Definitely not and $59.95 was simply WAY to expensive for the rundown motel, so I decided to drive on, find a place to park, sleep in the car and carryon the next morning.
I pulled over on a turn out not far from town, grabbed my pillow and blanket, rolled the windows down about two inches and gazed at the stars. They were beautiful in the darkness of the night.
I fell asleep only to be awakened about 3:00 A.M. by loud coyote yelping. My windows went up and I drifted back asleep. The dawn woke me and I was ready to continue with my trip.