06.12.2010 - 06.14.2010
We just got out of Yellowstone and have internet access and cell reception again.
To sum up our visit to Yellowstone in two words: "Cold" and "Otherworldly."
When we left Moab, UT it was about 100 degrees and very much a desert. As we drove up north, heading towards Salt Lake City the desert very slowly started to fade; the air was slightly damper and we started to see green plants again. Suddenly, without any notice as we descended off of a mountain, we were out of the desert. It was raining, and everything was green with a temperature of about 60 degrees. We pulled over and put the back windows on the Jeep.
We kept driving north into Utah, then briefly Wyoming, then Utah again, then Idaho where we spent the night. When we got out of the Jeep to check in, it was cold (45 degrees) and raining. For some reason, we called to make camping reservations in Yellowstone for the next two days.
We woke up to slightly higher temperatures, loaded up the jeep and headed out to Yellowstone, hoping that it would be warmer there; it wasn't. As we drove towards Yellowstone, we passed through the beautiful Teton National Park; it had picturesque snow capped mountains. We didn't realize that the camp site we reserved was at nearly 8000 feet in elevation and was in-fact, on a snow capped mountain.
I didn't realized how otherworldly Yellowstone is. Most of the park sits in the mouth of a an active volcano that last erupted 640,000 years ago. When it last erupted, it blew miles of cubic glass into the atmosphere, destroying vast amounts of land as far away as Nebraska and Texas. As we entered the park and drove through towards our campsite we passed a lake and river that could have passed for the platonic forms of a lake and river; they were perfect, wild and free. Then we saw a sign for "Mud Volcanos", and decided to pull off to have a look. Very strange. We also saw many geysers, boiling hot springs, and trees that baked in the ground and died when the ground got too warm.
When we checked in for camping, we were warned of the dangers of grizzly bears. Repeatedly. We would have to take extra precautions because we had a soft sided vehicle. Thankfully, the Jeep wasn't broken into by bears, our campsite remained in-tact and we never saw a grizzly.
Overall the park was beautiful, as we would go back again.
Two random observations: 1. Hotels in the middle of nowhere cost much more then hotels in cities. 2. Good luck to anyone that ever tries to invade Wyoming. There are at least two gun shops in each major town, and we have the sense that it is a heavily armed populace. We actually heard this on the radio: "Come on in today for our deal, an AR-15 (an military style rifle) and 1000 rounds of ammunition, only $995!"