A Travellerspoint blog

DAY 16, Thursday, 16 May GRAND TETON NP -SALT LAKE CITY

Yellowstone through Grand Teton NP, Jackson and Salt Lake City, UTAH

Today was another long day of travel with a drive of 570km.

We left Yellowstone National Park through the southern entrance and had one last look at this beautiful area.
Snowmobile outside hotel in West Yellowstone

Snowmobile outside hotel in West Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park Lewis River heading south

Yellowstone National Park Lewis River heading south

Further south we drove through the magnificent Grand Tetons with saw-toothed , 4110 metre high ridges (13500feet for the US) crested with snow most of the year.

Grand Teton National Park is a United States National Park in northwestern Wyoming. At approximately 310,000 acres (130,000 ha), the park includes the major peaks of the 40-mile-long (64 km) Teton Range as well as most of the northern sections of the valley known as Jackson Hole. It is only 10 miles (16 km) south of Yellowstone National Park, to which it is connected by the National Park Service-managed John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. Along with surrounding National Forests, these three protected areas constitute the almost 18,000,000-acre (7,300,000 ha) Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, one of the largest intact mid-latitude temperate ecosystems in the world.
Grand Tetons

Grand Tetons


Grand Tetons from Snake River Overlook

Grand Tetons from Snake River Overlook

Grand Tetons from Snake River Overlook

Grand Tetons from Snake River Overlook

Grand Tetons from Snake River Overlook

Grand Tetons from Snake River Overlook

Colleen on the road at the Grand Tetons

Colleen on the road at the Grand Tetons

We stopped at "Western" Jackson with its wooden sidewalks and swing-door saloon. Jackson is a major gateway for millions of tourists visiting nearby Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and the National Elk Refuge. Jackson is also in proximity to several ski resorts. On the southeast edge of town there is a relatively small but challenging ski-area known as Snow King, Jackson's original ski hill. It has steep vertical slopes and is night-lit. More famous is the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, 12 miles (20 km) northwest. Opened in 1966, it has abundant steep terrain and has one of the highest vertical drops in North America, at 4,139 feet (1,262 m). Grand Targhee, is about an hour away, on the west side of the Teton Range in Alta. Opened in 1969, it is accessed through Idaho over Teton Pass.

Jackson is host to a number of world-class arts organizations, including the Congressionally-designated National Museum of Wildlife Art, the Grand Teton Music Festival, and the Center for the Arts. The large arches of shed elk antlers at the four entrances to the town square are popular attractions.

The town is often erroneously referred to as "Jackson Hole", the valley in which it is located.

A strong local economy, primarily due to tourism, has allowed Jackson to develop a large shopping and eating district, centered on the town square.
Shop in Jackson

Shop in Jackson

Jackson Stage Stop

Jackson Stage Stop

Jackson public artwork - A  Lincoln with admirer

Jackson public artwork - A Lincoln with admirer


Elk Antler Arches

Elk Antler Arches


Jackson public artwork -  elk horn arches

Jackson public artwork - elk horn arches

Jackson public artwork - end view of antler

Jackson public artwork - end view of antler

Jackson public artwork

Jackson public artwork

We arrived in Salt Lake City in the late afternoon. Magnificently set on the edge of a salt desert and near mountains, covered in forests and abundant with lakes, this is the centre of the Mormon religion. ( When we were in New York we went to the very irreverent musical, The Book of Mormon.

Posted by Kangatraveller 17:32 Comments (0)

DAY 15, Wednesday, May 15

Yellowstone National Park

Last night we stayed at West Yellowstone which is a small town just outside the park. We went to a Chinese Restaurant that was frequented by 99% Chinese people. The sign inside said occupancy of 43, we had to wait quite awhile for 50 or 60 people to leave before we got our table for four. It was worth the wait.

Whilst the days are sunny and hot, there is still lots of snow on the ground. The Park only opened ten days ago so our timing has been perfect. Days warm and nights cool.

Today is another day of fabulous weather and a beautiful place to visit. We headed back to the park to look at the geothermal and ecological area and for bison, wolves and grizzly bears. We headed north to Mammoth Hot Springs.
Yellowstone National Park -  Yellowstone River Lower Falls - Julie

Yellowstone National Park - Yellowstone River Lower Falls - Julie

Yellowstone National Park -  Yellowstone River Lower Falls - Philip and Julie

Yellowstone National Park - Yellowstone River Lower Falls - Philip and Julie


Colleen and David at Lower Falls

Colleen and David at Lower Falls


Yellowstone National Park -  Yellowstone River Artist Point

Yellowstone National Park - Yellowstone River Artist Point

Yellowstone National Park -  Yellowstone River Artist Point

Yellowstone National Park - Yellowstone River Artist Point

Yellowstone National Park - bison at Mammoth Hot springs

Yellowstone National Park - bison at Mammoth Hot springs

Yellowstone National Park -   Canyon Visitor Centre

Yellowstone National Park - Canyon Visitor Centre

Yellowstone National Park -    on road to Mammoth Hot Springs

Yellowstone National Park - on road to Mammoth Hot Springs


Mammoth Hot Springs is a large complex of hot springs on a hill in Yellowstone National Park adjacent to Fort Yellowstone and the Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District. It was created over thousands of years as hot water from the spring cooled and deposited calcium carbonate (over two tons flow into Mammoth each day in a solution).
Yellowstone National Park - Mammoth Hot Springs  to Madison

Yellowstone National Park - Mammoth Hot Springs to Madison


Yellowstone National Park -     walk to Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces - Minerva Terrace

Yellowstone National Park - walk to Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces - Minerva Terrace

Yellowstone National Park -     walk to Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces

Yellowstone National Park - walk to Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces

Yellowstone National Park -     walk to Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces

Yellowstone National Park - walk to Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces

Yellowstone National Park -     walk to Mammoth Hot Springs - view to north

Yellowstone National Park - walk to Mammoth Hot Springs - view to north

Yellowstone National Park -     walk to Mammoth Hot Springs - living organisms in hot water

Yellowstone National Park - walk to Mammoth Hot Springs - living organisms in hot water

Tower Fall is a waterfall on Tower Creek in the northeastern region of Yellowstone National Park, in the U.S. state of Wyoming. Approximately 1,000 yards (910 m) upstream from the creek's confluence with the Yellowstone River, the fall plunges 132 feet (40 m). Its name comes from the rock pinnacles at the top of the fall. Tower Creek and Tower Falls are located approximately three miles south of Roosevelt Junction on the Tower-Canyon road.

We were fortunate to see one bear only bear in the wild so we visited the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Centre located in West Yellowstone. The cost was $11 each but well worth the money.

Brown bears live in mountains and grassy wilderness areas in North America, Europe and Asia. The largest populations are in Alaska, Canada and Russia. In lower 48 states, they live mainly around Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. The bears at the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center had to be removed from the wild because they were becoming dangerously comfortable around humans. Their stories help share a valuable lesson of how people can take the proper steps to ensure bears stay forever wild. The wolves at the Center are ambassadors, providing a greater understanding of this predator in the Yellowstone ecosystem.

On our way back from Madison to West Yellowstone we saw quite a lot of Bison and Elk in the valleys near the road.
National Park - Madison to West yellowstone - elk 1

National Park - Madison to West yellowstone - elk 1

National Park - Madison to West yellowstone - bison 5

National Park - Madison to West yellowstone - bison 5

Posted by Kangatraveller 17:18 Comments (0)

DAY 14, Tuesday 14 May CODY to YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK

Shoshone National Forest to YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK

Last night we had dinner at the historic Irma Hotel, built by Buffalo Bill Cody in 1902. Buffalo Bill was a frontiersman, buffalo hunter, army scout, entrepreneur and showman.

We had a late start morning with us setting out at 8.45 am. We followed the Grand Loop Road to Artist Point with magnificent views of Yellowstone Canyon and the stupendous Lower Falls, nearly twice the height of Niagara Falls.

Yellowstone National Park was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. Yellowstone, widely held to be the first national park in the world, is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful Geyser, one of the most popular features in the park. It has many types of ecosystems, but the subalpine forest is dominant.

Native Americans have lived in the Yellowstone region for at least 11,000 years. The region was bypassed during the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the early 19th century. Aside from visits by mountain men during the early-to-mid-19th century, organized exploration did not begin until the late 1860s.

The U.S. Army was commissioned to oversee the park just after its establishment. In 1917, administration of the park was transferred to the National Park Service, which had been created the previous year. Hundreds of structures have been built and are protected for their architectural and historical significance, and researchers have examined more than 1,000 archaeological sites.

Yellowstone National Park spans an area of 3,468.4 square miles (8,983 km2), comprising lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges. Yellowstone Lake is one of the largest high-altitude lakes in North America and is centered over the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano on the continent. The caldera is considered an active volcano. It has erupted with tremendous force several times in the last two million years. Half of the world's geothermal features are in Yellowstone, fueled by this ongoing volcanism. Lava flows and rocks from volcanic eruptions cover most of the land area of Yellowstone. The park is the centerpiece of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the largest remaining, nearly intact ecosystem in the Earth's northern hemisphere.

We entered through the east entrance. This road has only been open for the last week and a half. from here we climb to a height of 8 390 feet.
Yellowstone River

Yellowstone River

Yellowstone National Park - Lake Village area on the Yellowstone River - stop for picnic 2

Yellowstone National Park - Lake Village area on the Yellowstone River - stop for picnic 2

Yellowstone  Lake  4

Yellowstone Lake 4

After lunch we travelled on to the Lower Geyser Basin.
West Thumb Geyser Basin 2

West Thumb Geyser Basin 2

West Thumb Geyser Basin 8

West Thumb Geyser Basin 8

West Thumb Geyser Basin  - Bluebell Pool

West Thumb Geyser Basin - Bluebell Pool

West Thumb Geyser Basin- Seismograph Pool 1

West Thumb Geyser Basin- Seismograph Pool 1

Later on we saw the geyser basins with bubbling mud paint pots and the reliable "blow"of Old Faithful, Yellowstones's great geyser.
Yellowstone National Park Upper Geyser Basin Visitor Centre - Phil and David 2

Yellowstone National Park Upper Geyser Basin Visitor Centre - Phil and David 2

Yellowstone National Park Upper Geyser Basin Visitor Centre - Old Faithful - Colleen and David

Yellowstone National Park Upper Geyser Basin Visitor Centre - Old Faithful - Colleen and David

Yellowstone National Park Upper Geyser Basin Visitor Centre 2

Yellowstone National Park Upper Geyser Basin Visitor Centre 2


Yellowstone National Park Old Faithful 9

Yellowstone National Park Old Faithful 9

We stopped at the Upper Geyser Basin to see the four different types of geothermal activity.
Upper Geyser Basin - Spasm Geyser 5

Upper Geyser Basin - Spasm Geyser 5

Upper Geyser Basin - Fumarole 2

Upper Geyser Basin - Fumarole 2

Upper Geyser Basin - Fountain Paint Pots 1

Upper Geyser Basin - Fountain Paint Pots 1

Upper Geyser Basin  8

Upper Geyser Basin 8

Bison grazing

Bison grazing

Posted by Kangatraveller 17:28 Comments (0)

DAY 13 KEYSTONE TO CODY

Last night's dinner and visit to Crazy Horse and travel to Cody, Wyoming

Last night was an absolute spectacular part of our trip with a visit to Crazy Horse about 20 miles from Keystone and approximately 17 miles from Mt Rushmore. This is an absolutely fascinating story of a man dreaming big. The largest monument carved into a mountain, a social development project with university, medical training facilities and centre to be developed over many years. He knew it would not be completed in his lifetime.

In 1939 Ziolkowski's marble sculpture of Ignacy Jan Paderewski won first prize at the New York World's Fair. The fame as well as his familiarity with the Black Hills prompted several Lakota Chiefs to approach him about a monument honoring Native Americans. Chief Henry Standing Bear of the Lakota wrote to him, saying, "My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know the red man has great heroes, too."

Ziolkowski met with the leaders shortly afterward and began planning a monument. Over the next few years, he conducted research and began planning the sculpture. He also met Ruth Ross, a young art enthusiast, who would later become his second wife. Ruth still lives on site and is the CEO of the Crazy Horse Foundation at the age of 87.

Ziolkowski put the project on hold when the United States entered World War II. He volunteered for service in the United States Army and was wounded in 1944 at Omaha Beach, in Normandy, France.

In 1947 Ziolkowski moved to the Black Hills, and began to search for a suitable mountain for his sculpture. Korczak thought the Wyoming Tetons would be the best choice, where the rock would be better for carving, but the Lakota wanted the memorial in the sacred Black Hills on a 600-foot (180 m)-high mountain. The monument was to be the largest sculpture in the world. When completed, it would be 563 feet (172 m) high by 641 feet (195 m) long. Crazy Horse's head would be large enough to contain all the 60-foot (18 m)-high heads of the Presidents at Mount Rushmore.

On June 3, 1948, the first blast was made, and the memorial was dedicated to the Native American people. In 1950 Ziolkowski and Ruth Ross, who had become a volunteer at the monument, were married. Work continued slowly, since he refused to accept government grants. He raised money for the project by charging admission to the monument work area.

Ziolkowski continued his work until he died of acute pancreatitis at the monument site in 1982. He was buried in a tomb at the base of the mountain. After his death, his wife Ruth took over the project as director of the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation. Seven of his ten children have continued the carving of the monument or are active in the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation.
Crazy Horse Monument taking shape

Crazy Horse Monument taking shape

Crazy Horse Monument taking shape

Crazy Horse Monument taking shape

Gates at Crazy Horse Visitor Centre

Gates at Crazy Horse Visitor Centre

Gates at Crazy Horse Visitor Centre

Gates at Crazy Horse Visitor Centre


Crazy Horse Museum

Crazy Horse Museum

Plans for Crazy Horse Monument

Plans for Crazy Horse Monument

Sculpture at Crazy Horse Mountain

Sculpture at Crazy Horse Mountain

Scale model of Crazy Horse with mountain in background

Scale model of Crazy Horse with mountain in background

Mr & Mrs Korczak Ziolkowski - they had ten children and most still live and work here.

Mr & Mrs Korczak Ziolkowski - they had ten children and most still live and work here.

Crazy Horse Monument   one thirty fourth scale model inscription panel

Crazy Horse Monument one thirty fourth scale model inscription panel

Buda Compressor used in early days at Crazy Horse Monument. Korczak had to walk up and down 700 steps to re-start the compressor, nine times one day.

Buda Compressor used in early days at Crazy Horse Monument. Korczak had to walk up and down 700 steps to re-start the compressor, nine times one day.

We woke early to another long day of travel of 666km to go from Keystone to Cody today. This morning we headed through rich, mountainous country to Buffalo, where open-range cattle kings made war on the sheep ranchers of the 1880's.

We drove to Sheridan, the scene of many fierce battles between the US Cavalry and the Sioux, Cheyenne and Crow Indians.
Sheridan - we cross the mountains seen in the background

Sheridan - we cross the mountains seen in the background

Then we climbed over the Bighorn Mountains en route to our overnight stop in Buffalo Bill's frontier town of Cody.
Big Horn National Park

Big Horn National Park

Big Horn National Park

Big Horn National Park

Big Horn National Park

Big Horn National Park

Big Horn National Park

Big Horn National Park


The bighorn national Park is spectacular. We stopped at Bear lodge for our afternoon break. People we talked to said that snow was up to their armpits in mid april and only two weeks ago they had a foot of snow.
Julie and David at  Bear Lodge - elevation 7300 feet

Julie and David at Bear Lodge - elevation 7300 feet

Philip daring Julie to take a dip at Bear Lodge - elevation 7300 feet

Philip daring Julie to take a dip at Bear Lodge - elevation 7300 feet


This is one I prepared earlier -  Philip at Bear Lodge - elevation 7300 feet

This is one I prepared earlier - Philip at Bear Lodge - elevation 7300 feet


Big Horn National Park - western aspect

Big Horn National Park - western aspect

Big Horn National Park - western aspect

Big Horn National Park - western aspect

Big Horn National Park - western aspect

Big Horn National Park - western aspect

Big Horn National Park - western aspect -  Shell Creek

Big Horn National Park - western aspect - Shell Creek

Posted by Kangatraveller 17:32 Comments (0)

DAY 12, Sunday 12 May PIERRE-BADLANDS NP-MT RUSHMORE

Fort Pierre National annd Mt Rushmore - a giant monument to 4 Presidents - Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt and overnight at Keystone

We left at 7.30am this morning (the first time a Continental Breakfast was included). We started with a drive through Fort Pierre National Grassland to see the prairie as it once was when only buffalo and the Sioux Indians occupied the land.

We had a morning stop at a Badlands Trading Post.
Phil and David with silly hats

Phil and David with silly hats

Badlands Trading Post - morning stop - Phillip trying on a hat for Dean

Badlands Trading Post - morning stop - Phillip trying on a hat for Dean

Next was Badlands National Park, where 37 million years of wind and water have carved out a remarkably colourful sight. Badlands National Park lies in South Dakota, encompassing territory originally held by the Sioux Nation of Plains Indians. It contains 244,000 acres of untouched wilderness, including visually striking hills and valleys, along with grass prairie. It was designated a national park in 1978, and contains hiking and biking trails.
Badlands Natiional Park 61

Badlands Natiional Park 61

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands Natiional Park 55

Badlands Natiional Park 55

Badlands Natiional Park 43

Badlands Natiional Park 43

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park - David, Colleen, Julie and Philip

Badlands National Park - David, Colleen, Julie and Philip

The park contains numerous examples of native wildlife, notably the American bison, which grazes on the plains, and smaller animals, such as the badger and black-tailed prairie dog. Most notably, since 1994 the park has served as the site for the reintroduction of the black-footed ferret, one of the most endangered animals in the world, which depends upon the park’s protected status to thrive.
Prairie dogs

Prairie dogs

Badlands National Park - Big Horn Sheep

Badlands National Park - Big Horn Sheep

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park - There is quite a lot of wildlife here.

Badlands National Park - There is quite a lot of wildlife here.

Geology

The hills and buttes in Badlands National Park consist largely of sedimentary rock. Because they have eroded in such dramatic formations, it’s easy to detect the geological history of the area through the different-colored layers of rock visible in the hillside. The rock in the park is eroding at a rate of 1 inch per year; branches of the Cheyenne, White, and Bad rivers contribute greatly to the erosion.

The Ghost Dance

In 1890, Badlands National Park witnessed one of the last "ghost dances" at Stronghold Table. The Lakota Indians believed that the dance rendered them impervious to bullets and that it would push the encroaching white men out of their territory. The area retains deep significance to the Lakota Indians and the Oglala Lakota tribe administers the Stronghold Table site with the National Park Service.

Gunnery Range

During World War II, the US government took over a portion of the Pine Ridge Reservation for use as a gunnery range. That area now falls within the purveyance of the park, in the Stronghold District. From 1942 until 1945, the military tested new forms of artillery there. After the war, the South Dakota National Guard used it as an artillery range. The Air Force declared the range excess property in 1968, and while the military retains 2,500 acres, it is no longer used.

We stopped for lunch at a very unusual little town called Wall. In the Depression Years, a pharmacist and his family started a drug store in Wall. They came close to going broke when they came up with the idea of free iced water for travellers and 5 cent cups of coffee. They still do this today. Itis a very thriving business taking up quite a bit of a town block.
Wall - Wall Drug - our lunch stop Main Street

Wall - Wall Drug - our lunch stop Main Street

Wall - Wall Drug - our lunch stop Main Street

Wall - Wall Drug - our lunch stop Main Street

Wall - Wall Drug - our lunch stop

Wall - Wall Drug - our lunch stop

Wall - Wall Drug - our lunch stop

Wall - Wall Drug - our lunch stop

Later in the day, we headed deep into the Black Hills and beheld the granite faces at Mt Rushmore, a giant monument to four American Presidents - Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt.

The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota, in the United States. Sculpted by Danish-American Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum, Mount Rushmore features 60-foot (18 m) sculptures of the heads of four United States presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. The entire memorial covers 1,278.45 acres (5.17 km2) and is 5,725 feet (1,745 m) above sea level.

South Dakota historian Doane Robinson is credited with conceiving the idea of carving the likenesses of famous people into the Black Hills region of South Dakota in order to promote tourism in the region. Robinson's initial idea was to sculpt the Needles; however, Gutzon Borglum rejected the Needles site because of the poor quality of the granite and strong opposition from environmentalists and Native American groups. They settled on the Mount Rushmore location, which also has the advantage of facing southeast for maximum sun exposure. Robinson wanted it to feature western heroes like Lewis and Clark, Red Cloud and Buffalo Bill Cody but Borglum decided the sculpture should have a more national focus, and chose the four presidents whose likenesses would be carved into the mountain. After securing federal funding, construction on the memorial began in 1927, and the presidents' faces were completed between 1934 and 1939. Upon Gutzon Borglum's death in March 1941, his son Lincoln Borglum took over construction. Although the initial concept called for each president to be depicted from head to waist, lack of funding forced construction to end in late October 1941.
Mt Rushmore National Memorial  - Gutzon Borglum - the sculptor

Mt Rushmore National Memorial - Gutzon Borglum - the sculptor

Mt Rushmore National Memorial

Mt Rushmore National Memorial

Mt Rushmore National Memorial   9

Mt Rushmore National Memorial 9

Mt Rushmore National Memorial  - Colleen and Julie

Mt Rushmore National Memorial - Colleen and Julie

Philip and Julie at Mt Rushmore

Philip and Julie at Mt Rushmore

Posted by Kangatraveller 16:36 Comments (0)

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