Grand Teton & Yellowstone National Park - June 2008

Colter Bay Village to Yellowstone - June 6

NOTE: Click on any thumbnail for a larger image.

Arose at 6 am to the sound of rain. Headed to the Chuck Wagon  for our usual breakfast of fruit, cereal, bread and coffee -- filling but not too heavy. Back to the cabin to pack up and head north in the rain. We drove through an area of lodgepole pines along the Snake River. Then began a steep climb through sage brush, and we began to see the burned trees with the young lodgepole pines (20 yrs) growing. The road reaches an elevation of almost 9000 feet, 2000 feet higher than the entrance.  It brought back memories of our trip to Yellowstone right after the fires of 1988.

We entered Yellowstone park, and the car thermometer read 41 degrees at 9:15 am. It was going to be a COLD day. As we drove along Lewis River, Lewis Falls and Lewis Lake, there was heavy snow along the road and the lake was still partially frozen. By now we were having snow showers mixed with sleet, and the temperature was 36 degrees. The calendar said it was summer or almost, but the weather told us otherwise. We would cross the Continental Divide three times,  We drove on with tall pines on both sides of the road. We made a pitstop at Grant Village, and got our first view of Yellowstone Lake. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves although they hardly do the scenery justice.

Entering Yellowstone National Park.
Entering Yellowstone National Park

Picture of Lewis River from the Overlook.
Lewis River from the Overlook

Picture of Lewis Falls in Yellowstone.
Lewis Falls

Picture of Lewis Lake still partly frozen.
Lewis Lake still partially frozen

Picture of Pat at the Continental Divide.
Pat at first crossing of Continental Divide

Picture of Jim at the first crossing of the Continental Divide.
Jim at the second crossing of the Continental Divide

Our next stop would be the Old Faithful Inn where we "thought" we would register for our cabin. Instead we were advised to walk around the boardwalk to the Old Faithful Lodge. As we walked, people were beginning to gather for the next eruption so we stopped to watch. It brought back memories of our first trip to Yellowstone in 1984 when again upon arrival we were greeted with Old Faithful erupting. A lone western bluebird flew down as if to say "welcome."  On to the Lodge to register as the weather was fast deteriorating. Our room was not yet ready so we went back to retrieve our car and began the convoluted journey to get by road to the Lodge. Lunch was in the cafeteria and was awful. Our plans to save some money by eating here went out the window. I was to hear many comments on how bad food there was.

Picture of crowd waiting for the eruption of Old Faithful.
Waiting for the eruption of Old Faithful

Picture of a western bluebird.
A cheery western bluebird

Picture of Old Faithful as it began erupting.  Old Faithful at the height of it's eruption.
Old Faithful Geyser at the beginning and height of it's eruption.

The snow was beginning in earnest and the lovely blue sky would disappear for days to come. We also began our long wait for our cabin to be ready. We sat in the Lodge great room with floor to ceiling windows looking out over the geyser. People came and watched but with the snow and steam there was not much to see. I felt sorry for those who had only allowed one day in the park or were just driving through."Is it doing it?" one woman asked.

We walked over to the visitor center in the snow and watched a couple of films and another eruption of Old Faithful but it was almost obscured. The road reports were bad, and the roads in and out of the park were being closed. We kept going back to check on our cabin but it was obvious that the staff was overwhelmed trying to get the rooms cleaned with the snow falling. By 5:30 we were finally able to get our key and head around to our home for the next four nights. The snow was still falling and the slush was heavy. But we were out of the elements for now. We decided to drive around to the Snow Lodge dining room for dinner. The food there was much better -- prime ribs, wine -- after a wait, but it was worth it. Jim felt bad on leaving the restaurant and had a racing heart that worried him.

The Old Faithful Inn area in the snow.
The Old Faithful Inn area in the snow.

View from our cabin at Old Faithful.
View looking out our cabin door at Old Faithful


Next - Old Faithful Area