August 15, 2005 GMT
Yellowstone and Grand Tetons

A crisp 40 degrees in Missoula, Montana this morning. Dad no longer makes fun of the fact that I have packed for all climates. He just borrows a flannel shirt. One time and one time only - I told you so.

We took off from Seattle early Saturday morning and crossed eastern WA and the little panhandle of Idaho. Couer díAlene, Idaho was beautiful - deep blue lake surrounded by pine forested mountains. Sorry no pics as it was, again, cold! Made it to Missoula and packed it in for the evening.

After stalling for a while, eating breakfast and generally dilly-dallying, hoping the temperature would rise, we got on the road. We interstated up over the Continental Divide down to Bozeman, where an overturned produce truck had everything stopped. Construction had traffic down to two lanes already when the truck decided to overturn. We managed to get past most of the jam on a frontage road and got back on just in time to see them loading whatever was on the truck onto a spare truck.

We got on 89 and headed south through the Yellowstone river valley towards the park. It was a beautiful, fertile valley, diametrically opposed to the deserts we had seen in other areas.

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We saw a fair amount of wildlife. Before we got to the park, I noticed a bird circling above the highway. I looked up and it was a bald eagle; the only one Iíve ever seen in the wild. You hear people talk about their heart swelling up to fill their chest - mine did. I donít know why - pride, admiration, respect, whatever. No pics as it was directly overhead and I had a hard enough time riding without watching where I was going.

We also saw some elk in a meadow:

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And , clichťd as it might be, Mr. Bison crossing the road. This was actually in the Grand Teton National park, just south of Yellowstone. Another silly goal of mine, the bison in the road pic, but a crucial piece of Americana, like the Redwood tree picture.

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Yellowstone is famed for itís geysers and hot springs, so hereís some of those:

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And your basic natural beauty:

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And then, the Tetons. These are some raw, young jagged mountains, not softened and rounded off with time (sounds like some of us!) and amazingly beautiful. The light wasnít really right for these pics but hopefully you get the idea.

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We got into Jackson, WY, our stop for the night, late in the afternoon. My, how this town has grown. Itís been 21 years since I was here. One constant is the horn arch in the town square:

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Posted by Chuck Skarsaune at August 15, 2005 02:07 PM GMT
 
 

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