It was another early morning rising. We were almost all packed and we just had last minute things to do. I think both of us were glad to be going home. It was dark when we started out so I didn’t drive too fast. The speed limit is 45mph through most areas. I don’t think we even saw another car for a long time. We had been driving for about 20 minutes when all of a sudden a bear crossed the road in front of us. I threw on the breaks and Shawn and I reached for our cameras. I didn’t get mine out in time but Shawn caught the bear’s backside going into the woods on the other side of the road. It was funny because I had complained that we hadn’t seen any bears up close during our whole vacation. So now I can say that I saw a bear up close. I am just glad I wasn’t going at a high speed or that anyone was behind me when I stopped in the middle of the road.
We stopped several times to take photos as the sun was coming up and the light was golden.
When we got to Jackson Lake in the Grand Tetons, we saw the turn-out called Oxbow Bow Bend. It was one place we kept missing so we were happy to come upon it. It was well worth it! The view with the golden glow of the morning sun was gorgeous!
It took us about three hours with all the “kodak” moments. We parked our car in the free public parking lot and then went in search of breakfast. We decided on the Persephone Bakery. We had tried to get in there once before when we first arrived in Jackson Hole, but it was so busy there were people waiting outside. This time we were so early, we got right in. The food was delicious! I loved the real teacups and the real silver utensils. It was really cute inside but very teeny. The bakery items looked yummy! We took our time and enjoyed the ambiance.
Most of the stores were not opened yet so we walked around. We did find one huge store that sold a lot of tourist gifts. Shawn bought a few things and I bought several jars of Jackson Hole Huckeleberry Jam for my family. I put them in my travel bag which was a big mistake as TSA took them before I boarded.
We didn’t want to go to the car rental too soon so we sat in the park a while and then went to St. Joseph ‘s second hand shop which was on the edge of the park. Finally, we parked ourselves at Starbucks until it was time to go. I had to fill up the car with gas and then we headed over to the Thrifty car rental office. We waited in the van for about a half an hour. It was a strange set-up. The office really was so small it didn’t have room to sit down. The man that took our car was rather gruff and rude but I checked in the office and got a receipt for the rental fee. At least, I learned one thing – that I didn’t like driving a Prius. Really the only thing I liked about it was the gas mileage.
Soon we were off to the airport where we would have a few hours of waiting but it was fine with me as I could spend the time working on this travel blog.
Shawn and I really enjoyed our National Park experience. I feel it was well worth the effort and the expense and hopefully in the future we will travel to a few more National Parks. We both came to the conclusion that we actually liked the Grand Tetons the best. Although, several attractions stand out in Yellowstone – like the Prismatic Hot Springs, Old Faithful, and the Mammoth Hot Springs, we were disappointed in the lack of animal sightings. We had a lot of fun in the Grand Tetons trying to see every sight that was on the map and most of them were very interesting. The Grand Tetons made a wonderful backdrop for our photos.
One noteworthy problem was the expense and quality of the food found in both parks. From what the guides told us – the food is contracted and consequently, most every lodge dining experience is pretty much standard. Not a lot of choices , if you are vegetarian . Bison burgers and beef are king in the parks. At least in Jackson Hole, you have some variety. Having a hotel room with a kitchenette or even a microwave could be and was very helpful. I guess that is why so many people travel with their campers. That also presents a problem, however, because the huge recreational vehicles on the road often create traffic jams.
Choosing the time of the year to go is also a consideration. I think we went at a good time but even a week earlier would have been better. Any where from the end of May to the end of June are probably good times. There is less traffic and your chances of seeing wildlife is more likely. Baby animals are born in the spring and we were lucky to see a baby pronghorn and baby bisons. The weather might be a bit rainy as it was for us in the Grand Tetons but as photographers we love the stormy clouds and overcast days. As the summer gets hotter , the animals move into the cooler mountainous areas and you won’t see too many, except for the bison. If you like flowers, then you will really love seeing the spring wildflowers blooming on the hillsides and in the meadows. We were told that the sagebrush only stays green in the spring and within a few weeks turns brown. So as far as photography, we were there at a good time.
So we shall say goodbye to the National parks of Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. Watch for my next post in August from Mexico City where I will be taking a Spanish course and enjoying the sights!