Wednesday, May 18, 2011

it's still winter in yellowstone!

We’ve seen so much in the last couple days! After leaving Missoula we headed east, then south towards Yellowstone. It felt good to get off the interstate and into the mountains where we saw rafters and kayakers and beauty all around. We spent that night in West Yellowstone just outside the park boundary, but before settling into our campsite, we explored a Bear and Wolf Discovery Center.

We do not like supporting animals in captivity so we were glad to find out that none of these animals had been taken from the wild to be put on display. The wolves were from a place in California that breeds animals for photo shoots and movies (where I guess they ended up with too many wolves). The grizzly bears were all “garbage bears” that would have otherwise been killed – mostly from Alaska.

It was interesting to see the animals so closely, but the exhibits in the info centre are what stays with me. They had so many facts about bears and wolves but what really got my attention was how misunderstood and poorly treated these animals have been and still are. Just as an example, when the white people arrived in California in the 1800’s they started killing grizzlies for sport…. torturing them, then killing them just for the thrill of it. They killed over 10,000 grizzlies in a relatively short period of time – KILLING EVERY LAST ONE. It just hit me so strongly and made me feel physically ill – to think of all the animals on this earth that have been wiped out because of human ignorance and/or greed. I could go on but enough ranting!

That night was COLD! It got down to below freezing and we wondered what the heck we were doing in the mountains! For some reason I hadn’t planned for cold weather! But the next morning we woke up to blue skies and headed for Yellowstone. I had no idea what to expect from this National Park, but let me tell you, it blew me away! Amazing! Animals wandering wild and free all over the park. Bison, elk, deer, eagles, hydrothermal water features, steam rising from holes in the earth, geysers …. incredible beauty in every direction.

 I did not know that Yellowstone was a caldera in a very old volcano. We learned so much and enjoyed every minute of it. Old Faithful was magical. Just a steaming vent, then all of a sudden a massive geyser spewing superheated water into the air. The kids all enjoyed it too. We broke some rules and let the kids ride without seatbelts so they could be looking out the windows and taking it all in!

 This is what Old Faithful looks like most of the time.

This is what it looks like what it's exploding!

From Yellowstone we headed south into the Grand Tetons, another area I’ve heard about for years and was keen to see. After being in Yellowstone though, it rather paled in comparison But still beautiful. Snow everywhere! The lakes were still frozen solid.

 We stopped at a great Wildlife Art Museum just outside of Jackson where we saw all sorts of beautiful things. There was a wonderful kids area with costumes, crafts, stamping and other things all relating to wildlife. The kids played in there while John and I wandered around!

We stopped for supper in Jackson Hole, a place I’ve been curious about since watching Warren Miller ski movies as a teenager. A very quaint, rustic town set in a stunning mountain location.

I love these signs! They feel very appropriate right now!!

 We arrived in Moab this afternoon but I'll write more about that tomorrow.  

1 comment:

  1. Fun to get to see the sights thru your lense and hear what you're experiencing and learning. Makes me long for a road trip of adventures too.