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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lazy Wednesday

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"Enough Mom, you're boring me!!!"
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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mammoth Hot Springs

Mammoth Hot Springs looks different than what I remember 10+ years ago, but the park ranger did say that it's always changing. Either way, it's still one of the most unique natural features I've ever set eyes upon.

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I think the last time I was here, this had steaming thermal water running down the terraces.
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This is one of my favorite pics from the area.
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It almost feels like we're on a different planet.
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I'll bring us back to Earth on the final Yellowstone post...coming later this week. =)
Friday, June 25, 2010

JELLOSTONE!

Yellowstone National Park has a special place in my heart as it does, I'm sure, with so many others who have visited it. I love it for its diversity, its vastness, its animals, snaking rivers, lakes, snow-capped mountain views, and geologic marvels. It's amazing how one park can have so much to offer.

We initially were supposed to camp there, but after looking up the weather forecast and seeing the nighttime low temps, we opted to stay at a hotel in West Yellowstone instead. We're wimps when it comes to the cold.

I think the first thing most people think of when Yellowstone comes up is Old Faithful. It is quite amazing when it erupts. But the other hydrothermal features throughout the park are just as captivating.
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I always have the craving for hard-boiled eggs whenever I walk around these things...
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It was so cold out that we were tempted to jump in this inviting blue pool of hot, steaming mineral water. But we decided to keep our clothes on for fear of felony charges and forever being blacklisted from Yellowstone. Not to mention the shame we'd bring upon our families during evening news time.
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Every time we're at a park, Drew's always tempted to feed the animals. He's a park ranger's worst nightmare. You don't even know how many times I've had to yell "Are you crazy??!!! Put down that pretzel!"
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Our favorite thing about Yellowstone is the abundance of wildlife. Bison galore!!!
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I love how that one on the lower left corner stopped to give me that look. Why, hello.

We were fortunate enough to see so many bears - through other people's high-powered binoculars. We saw a grizzly mom and her two cubs feeding on a baby elk. Mama elk was looking very distressed from a distance. Also saw a male black bear trying to court a female bear. Apparently, he had been following her for days. The poor guy looked sluggish and tired, but he was still going. I actually got to see her fake charge at him through the binoculars, so cool! Unfortunately, no pictures of the above two scenes because they were SO far away. We did get to see a black bear up close though.
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He was on the side of the river away from all the gawking people, but the minute he crossed that river, everyone backed up a few feet from where they were standing. I was taken back to my Thailand elephant incident for a moment. Then a park ranger showed up and broke up the party and everyone went home.

On our way back, we saw a bighorn sheep!
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And of course, more bison roaming the streets. =)
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To be continued!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Final Destination: Yellowstone National Park

I have to say, I'm mostly a color person when it comes to photos, but sometimes when you strip off the color, the image has so much more to say.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Destination #3: Grand Teton National Park

Before I post anything about the trip up to Grand Teton, I wanted to share one more image from our bike ride in Park City, UT. This was taken on my iPhone and I love it! It makes me feel like a little Smurf getting ready to climb a huge mountain full of dandelion trees.
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Ok, thanks for letting me indulge in that picture. Driving up from Park City to Jackson Hole, WY took about five hours, but it was a great drive. Beautiful, spacious land that makes you want to sing America the Beautiful. Needless to say, there was lots of singing and reminiscing in the car. Stories of childhood memories sprang up and thoughts of how awesome it would be if we could go back to just a day in our childhood. (The next four pics were via my trusty phone.)
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Someone had a huge craving for jerky during the ride, and lo and behold, along the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere...
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John & Doug's Jerky Company. It's a father/son operation. They're actually the ones that hunt the buffalo and elk that they make into jerky.
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I guess Afton has a LOT of elk.
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One of my favorite part of drives through the countryside are scenes like this.
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Then we always wonder if we could live out there like this. And the answer is always no, no matter how beautiful it is. We didn't grow up with that pace of life and I just don't think we could handle it. More importantly though, where's the Asian market in these places?

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We stayed at an awesome hotel in Teton Village called Hotel Terra. Stay there if you're ever in the area! Great restaurant and cafe, a rooftop hot tub, a heated outdoor pool, and they're VERY eco-friendly. Just an iPhone pic from our room.
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The following day we went into Grand Teton National Park to hike Jenny Lake.
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Move over Jaden Smith...
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It started raining on us about 20 minutes into our hike, so no more photos after this one. We continued to hike in the rain for about half an hour and turned back around because hiking is not fun when you're 1)wet 2) cold 3) could be struck by lighting.
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I've heard that Grand Teton is more beautiful than Yellowstone (from some people), but we didn't get a good chance to see much since gray, ominous clouds were covering up all the mountain tops. I guess this means we'll just have to come back another time. =)
Friday, June 18, 2010

Destination #2: Park City, Utah!!!

After Bryce, we had planned on going up to Grand Teton National Park, but it was going to be a 10 hour drive. Salt Lake City was a good halfway point to stop and rest, so I looked up hotels on Hotels.com and found rooms at the Waldorf Astoria going for $129!!! It was in Park City -about 40 minutes from SLC. To be honest, I had never even heard of Park City until this point. (Yes, I know now that the winter Olympics were here in 2002.) What an awesome surprise this city was! Having only spent one day here, I can't wait to go back because there's so much to do there!

We ended up renting bikes from our hotel and biked into town, and what a gorgeous bike ride it was - probably one of the best I've ever done. Fields of green grass, flowers, dandelions, and horses...who could ask for more?
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The city has such great trails laid out. We passed by a park where people were out playing sand volleyball, basketball, and frisbee golf. There was a football and baseball field and a huge skateboard park. They really know how to keep their residents entertained here. Random art appeared along the trail sometimes.
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My favorite was the Sound Garden, where we had to make a stop and make some noise.
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We biked about three miles to Main Street (a very cute street filled with shops, art galleries, and restaurants) and grabbed an early dinner. I was so content and full that the only picture I managed to grab was of these adorable little heart flowers.
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The bike back...just as nice!
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So tired, but we made it!
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And my favorite image...
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Next stop: Grand Teton National Park & Jellystone!