Now this, this was awesome. Like, really awesome.
We had flown to Salt Lake City, after a wonderful stay with my parents’ college friend- Jagdeep Auntie. I was finally with kids there and we all clicked well immediately. Riya is my age, and Sachi is 8, but we all had a complete blast and I’m looking forward to when we stay for 10 days with them in July. After we landed in Salt Lake City (Utah), we got our rental car and drove into West Yellowstone (Wyoming) . We stopped at Walmart, and picked up groceries, mostly microwavable food. This is because since travelling is expensive, we simply cannot eat out everyday. Wherever there is a microwave, we take the opportunity to use it.
We reached late evening, and decided not to go anywhere today, because we were really tired, so we had a good night’s sleep. But our motel was wonderful! It was called Alpine Motel and the owners were so kind, the rooms were very comfortable and they had free snacks to munch on!
The next morning, we all were so excited to finally go into the actual park.. And let me tell you, Yellowstone is more beautiful that reviews, pictures, etc. There’s beautiful pines and mountains everywhere and its just beautiful. We saw loads of beautiful, colorful geysers, and loads of wildlife! I even did the Junior Ranger Program, which is a program for kids, or interested adults to become a “Junior Ranger”, by buying a booklet and doing activities in it to get a junior ranger badge and patch. I did this in the Everglades National Park as well. Basically, every national park which is run by National Park Service has this program for their respective park. We saw 2 grizzlies, 6 black bears, a thousand bison, elk, pronghorn and wolves! We also attended various ranger programs, some abut the park, some about animals. We noticed that in most of the animal-related talks, the ranger always got the fur of some animals. There was always a grizzly fur, and you could touch it. There were also wolf, coyote, beaver, etc furs. (They got the furs from dead animals).
For me, its hard to explain the geology of Yellowstone. But I understood mom, okay?! So, I’ll just tell you the basics. Yellowstone is on top of a volcano. So, over time, this volcano that lies below has shaped this land. If you are interested in geology, check out my mother’s blog.
One thing, before we move on. When most people think of Yellowstone, they think of the Old Faithful. The only geyser which has a predicted eruption. To me, it wasn’t so exciting. It was like a put-up show. With stands for people to sit, and saying “It will be at so-and-so tine”.
Then, we moved on to Lamar Valley, another side of Yellowstone. There, much more bison than Hayden Valley. And that’s where we saw the wolves too. The wolves were very very very far away, even by our very powerful binoculars, you could barely see them. They were in a small dirt road, were rangers advised us to go for wolves. Unfortunately, we saw nothing else, other than bison and wolves. We had left 3 days for Lamar Valley, and so we stayed in Cooke City, so it was much faster to get there.
We also went on Bear-tooth Highway, which is one of America’s most scenic drives. It gives a beautiful glimpse of snowy mountains, frozen lakes and snow which turned into ice. Just because its ice, doesn’t mean a snow fight doesn’t start!
I didn’t talk about our great grizzly sighting yet, so here it is. It was on our first day. We were by Yellowstone Lake. My parents got down to take a picture. I was asleep. Then, someone told my parents that there was a grizzly there. They immediately woke me up and we rushed to see it. It was there, some 100 meters away, in front of a pine forest, just by the lake.
It then crossed the road, and went off into the huge forest on the other side.
We watched it for some 1 hour, before it disappeared. By the time it had gone, some 100 cars were here. When it was first seen, there were only 5 cars. But now, I felt so lucky. We actually saw a grizzly bear. For an hour.
We saw another grizzly, but much further away and for much less time on our last day here. See if you can spot it!
We then entered Grand Teton National, not far from Yellowstone. Grand Teton is known for its beauty, and not wildlife, but there is still wildlife… and we did get lucky….
Just as we entered the park, we saw a Grizzly, some 100 meters away, for about 10 minutes only. It was by complete luck again and only 3 families (including ours) actually got to see it.
And so, we left these two parks, in complete happiness, to a relaxation point, before our Great American Road Trip began.