Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Morning came early on Yellowstone travel day, for we wanted to experience as much of the park as we possibly could.  We were 300 miles away, but our anticipation and an incredible drive through rough mountains and towering trees kept us going.  Hours later, we arrived in Jackson, Wyoming, attempted to drop off our bags to no avail, grabbed sandwiches for the road, and hoofed it to Yellowstone National Park.  

I know I haven’t made much of an effort to explicitly recommend parts of our trip to readers, but the drive through Grand Teton National Park and then Yellowstone is absolutely necessary for every American and distant traveler.  Too often our friends and work colleagues recommend extravagant island getaways or Living Social deals or European adventures, and we forget the incredible expanses of land, mountains, trees, and water that exist a road trip away or an even quicker flight.  You actually feel a surprising sense of satisfaction when handing over the $25 (in our case, $10, now that Dad owns a lifetime senior pass—possibly the coolest perk for being old) to enter the park, for you know that your trip will contribute to the funds necessary to keep something so beautiful, so perfect alive and thriving.  

While we spent the bulk of our time in the car on the way to Old Faithful, we stopped for countless scenic views of the Tetons, one awesome picture of dad and a waterfall, and the obligatory snapshots with national park signs.  We also watched bison, horses, and bull elk roam and chomp away at endless tufts of green while we abandoned our own sandwiches to join them (from safe distances of course).  

The day’s ultimate destination, the renowned Yellowstone geyser, made us wait 30 minutes for the next eruption of water and vapor.  This wasn’t too bad, considering it predictably explodes every 90 minutes.  It was actually a comic experience as we waited next to a particularly funny family that snickered and joked when the geyser teased the crowd or failed to fully erupt.  Questions like “Was that a premature eruption?” kept the onlookers in good spirits while waiting for Old Faithful to live up to its name.  Despite bouts of rain and overcast skies, I captured a few passable shots of the eruption and a handful of stinkers.  I think this is just one of those natural forces you should watch with your own eyes.

When Old Faithful concluded its three-minute spectacle, we hit the Yellowstone gift shop where I lost myself in postcards, coloring books (mostly for Avery Elaine), commemorative glasses and mugs, fantastic t-shirts, and Yellowstone foodstuffs.  I brought a lot of them home with me. 

We ended the day at The Gun Barrel, an aptly named Jackson steakhouse recommended by the Hampton Suites’ staff.  I don’t want to write much about this place because it truly undermined the heart of our Yellowstone experience.  Being watched by the taxidermied carcasses of the very animals you enjoyed all day is simply wrong and regrettable.  As a museum-turned-restaurant, The Gun Barrel maintained old exhibits of guns and rifles as well as countless animals frozen in time that hung on the ceiling above and the walls adjacent to your meal.  As the perfect hypocrite, I attempted to save face by eating fish.   


  1. Just great, Matth.

  2. Wow, what spectacular views! The mountains, the range, the waterfalls, the wildlife ... ah! As Brian Siegele would say, you're making me jello.

  3. Makes any mountains you see on the east coast seem like Aunt Hillies

  4. beautiful pictures!!

  5. Love the photos of course! Nature sure is amazing... Love the photo of Bill with the waterfall! I can only imagine how beautiful it is in person!

  6. How beautiful! You have certainly convinced me that I need to add this place to my bucket list!