Rocky Mountain National Park
We've spent almost six days close to Rocky Mountain National Park. There are wildfires to our north and to our southwest. It's like being in the Smokey Mountains on a grander scale and with real smoke. It was what it was.
We're located about a mile away from the Grand Lake entrance. At this time to get into the park after 6:00 a.m. requires you make a reservation. We were up at 5:00 a.m., made coffee and passed the entrance at 5:45 a.m.
The photos are our driving tour on Trail Ridge Road (Hwy 34), Highway 36, Bear Lake Road, a short distance on Old Fall River Road, an afternoon bicycle ride on Trail Ridge Road, and our current campground.
Grand Teton National Park
We left Grand Teton National Park this morning after spending 9 days at Gros Ventre Campground.
The weather could not have been better for August. Lows were in the 40's and highs were low to mid 80's with humidity at around 20%. We enjoyed a driving tour one morning driving north on Teton Park Road towards Yellowstone National Park driving as far as Jackson Lake Overlook. We returned via Highway 191. Getting an early start is a good idea this time of year. The park and roads are generally crowded during the middle of the day.
If you enjoy a good bike ride, the North Pathway runs from Jackson Hole north to South Jenny Lake. Our location at Gros Ventre was only 4.5 miles away from the trail. I made several trips into Jackson on the trail and several trips north to Jenny Lake. The North Pathway can't be beat for spectacular scenery. If you're lucky, you'll also be able to see Pronghorn grazing. There are also moose in the vicinity and bears too.
We were up at 5:00 a.m., made coffee and were on our way in time to catch the sun coming up as we drove along the Madison River in West Yellowstone. I really like that the park has many areas in which you can pull off the road easily to catch a view along a river or view a mountain range or have lunch while watching the Bison graze in the Hayden Valley or Lamar Valley.
I spent much of my (Steven's) vacation and long weekend time during my adult years planing backpacking trips with friends to some pretty exotic locations within the U.S. The idea was to get away from the crowds and find isolation in nature. Nature was my church.
Traveling in Miranda has offered us some of that kind of isolation also, but not as much. For one thing, Melanie is still working part-time and we need to be connected at least 5 days a week so she can perform her job.
We've done a few national parks, but mostly in the off season, that is, when the kids are in school and there isn't as much competition for space in the campgrounds. Yellowstone, I believe, is our first park we've stayed in during the summer months. And I have to tell you, since we fly by the seat of our pants (generally no reservations too far in advance), I don't mind the idea of first come, first served camping spots, especially since we don't mind an early morning cue in the van. I mean we have coffee and breakfast at hand. We're home.
Anyway, here's day two of driving Miranda in Yellowstone. This time we did the upper loop of that Grand Drive thing. Yellowstone, the first and oldest national park. It's an amazing place. A treasure.
Yellowstone National Park
We were in residence in West Yellowstone last week for 5 days. We were able to get into Bakers Hole Campground by showing up early on Monday morning. Lucky enough to score one of the few electric sites there too.
Our cell service was good enough and a bicycle ride into the town of West Yellowstone was a breeze at only three miles. I also took a bike ride into Yellowstone from Bakers Hole Campground one day, riding to Madison Campground and made the Firehole Canyon Scenic Drive before peddling home .
We took Miranda on a drive around most of Yellowstone's Grand Loop on two different days. We missed a portion of the upper loop from Canyon Village to Tower-Roosevelt due to road construction.
Pro Tips: If you're visiting Yellowstone in the summer months and want to avoid large crowds of people gathering at various points interest, set out early, very early, and finish just after noon. We made coffee along the Madison River near the Madison campground on day one before sunrise. We would have gotten in the park for no charge anyway (geezer pass), but the gate is open 24/7 and doesn't start processing visitors until 6:00 a.m. The temps are cool in the morning, when we were there, low's were in the mid-forties. The geysers are visible at those temps too.
Lower Loop Day One
Steven and Melanie