Monday, September 10, 2012

9 Days in Wyoming

We're back from our roadtrip! It was long and tiring at times, but it was really nice to have all the free time to read and cook and eat. We climbed 5 out of the 9 days we were gone and visited Yellowstone & Grand Teton the other days. We started out heading to Ten Sleep, WY where we climbed over the long weekend with our friend L. & his friend C.
From there, we drove up to the NE entrance to Yellowstone and camped outside the park the first night. We managed to find this huge open area that was a camping area since it had a bulletin board stating that you could stay there up to 14 days as well as a pit toilet, but it was not advertised as such, which I assume was the case since there were official NPS campgrounds nearby that charged fees. Anyway. The next day we made our way into the park and snagged a site at Slough Creek campground. We barely made it in time, though, as we got the second-last available site so note-to-self: get there earlier!
As we drove through Yellowstone, we saw a lot of bison. At first it was exciting, but it lost its novelty pretty quickly. Unless they were doing something cool like running with their baby, which was super cute and I wish we could get on camera but there was no good place to stop. You'll just have to take my word for it that it happened! Oh yeah, no bear sightings either. Though there was a tree in our campsite at Slough Creek that was scratched up by a bear. You could see the claw marks and its hairs stuck to the tree sap. We forgot to take a photo so again, you'll just have to take our word for it that it existed.
After a lot of driving through Yellowstone, we learned that the park is all about the geothermal features. Some really neat things to see, like this
or this
or even
Who knew nature was into the ombre  (see adjective definition) fad that is everywhere in design(er, that maybe just in my world) But after about 5 of these steam-&-sulfur-spewing pools/vents/geysers...
It gets old. And stinky. I may not want to cook or eat a hard-boiled egg for the next little while. Also, Yellowstone is mostly a drive-thru park with the occasional pull-over to see wildlife or vista points. I prefer Zion and Yosemite over Yellowstone in that respect, but also possibly because there is no risk of grizzly bears. Hiking with the chance of a grizzly bear encounter hanging over your head really zaps away all pleasure from a hike in the woods. 

After stopping by Old Faithful on our second day in Yellowstone, we headed south for Grand Teton National Park. Sadly, we only stopped there for a few hours on our drive down to the Wild Iris climbing area near Lander, WY. However, we decided to make the most of our time in Grand Teton by biking in the park on the multi-use pathway, which turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the trip. No photos though because we were racing against the rain clouds that were rolling in. It was a 15.5 mile roundtrip ride. We biked out to the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center, which was a gorgeous building.
And the beautiful mountains were always at our side =) 

We arrived at our campsite at Wild Iris just before sunset and stayed there for two days. The approaches to the climbs were insanely easy, which I will miss. If all climbing approaches were that easy, I'd be out more often! Sigh. Why am I so lazy?

Anyway, we ended up getting home Saturday night and spending the rest of our weekend unwinding from all our driving.

My favorite things from the trip:

  • McDonald's Apple Pies
  • Bacon, cheese, egg bagel breakfast sandwiches
  • Hello Kitty gummies ("fruit" snacks)
  • Kettlecorn Popcorn
  • Dried mango  (hmmm... apparently food was really important to me...)
  • Drive to Ten Sleep (see photo for explanation)
  • Finishing an 11d climb 
  • Drive into Yellowstone
  • Seeing adult bison running with baby bison
  • Shower in Grant Village
  • Grand Teton
  • Bike ride next to Grand Teton

Things the trip has made me realized I take for granted:

  • Showers
  • Doing dishes in a normal sink with running water
  • Clean socks
  • Clean hair!
  • Sunsets and how dynamic and different they are day to day, place to place
  • Pandora (Alt Nation on Sirius XM radio was incredibly repetitive)
  • My garden (I was thinking about it the whole time I was gone!)
  • Time to read
Evidently, trips like this make me reflect a lot. And eat a lot ;) Where will we go next, you might ask? I think at this point we are just waiting for the snow season to start so we can try out our new snowshoes we got on clearance last season!

Hope you had a lovely first-week-of-September =)

PS: more photos from our trip