Yellowstone    


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Yellowstone. The oldest National Park in the States (or is that, the world??) We had moved our trip forward a couple of weeks in the hope that none of the roads in and out of the park would be closed. Unfortunately the weather was a bit colder than normal and the south and east routes were both closed. We had planned to go in the south route from Jackson and leave via the east route towards Cody. It snowed the evening we arrived in Jackson and then we got word that both the roads were closed and we would have to drive around to Yellowstone West, many of the roads in the park itself were also closed so we couldn't see everything we wanted to but it was still very grand, and it was a bit more exciting.

The drive out via the Beartooth Highway will be long remembered!! Not necessarily because we so enjoyed it!

 

 

What we thought would be our 'gateway' to Yellowstone National Park - Jackson. It is sometimes called Jacksons Holes but we were told that this actually referred to the golf course.

It is a very cutsy, western town. We loved it.

 

 

 In the centre of town is this archway made from elk horns. It is lit with a multitude of fairy lights over Christmas.

Then overnight we got this! This is our little Jendi2 (it was a Chevy Cavalier!!).

Michael getting us ready to go.

When we got to this Tourist Information Centre they informed us that the road had now been closed because of the snow and the only way for us to get in was from the Western Entrance.

The famous Cowboys Bar - a hot spot at night - if it is open! It is amazing how little is open around the USA 'out of season'. It was open for drink but not food. Only one hotel in town seemed to serve food in November.

The stools and deco in the Cowboys Bar in Jackson. Very atmospheric.

We decided to drive out as far as we could get on the road anyway to 'take a look'. This was our sight of the Grand Tetons.

Another sight of the Tetons - you do know what the name means don't you? Tetons - teats - take a guess!

This is the entrance to the town of West Yellowstone. I must admit that I was disappointed with the creativity involved in naming the town!

Palisades Dam - this was on the way to Jackson.

Just outside of Jackson is Hoback - this moose in the field really gave us a shock.

The river at Hoback Junction - it is the junction for a few roads leading to Yellowstone and other national parks in the area.

Hoback Gorge - we took a little excursion along this road because we had been told it was a lovely drive. We were not misinformed!

A close up of the moose. You would really believe that it was real. Actually it is a painted cutout!

When we finally got into Yellowstone we immediately headed for Old Faithful. It wasn't due to 'blow' for a couple of hours but the Beehive was ready. An impressive geyser.

Old Faithful here was steaming away but we didn't wait around because it was starting to snow again and getting late.

The whole area is very thermal - this is still Old Faithful.

Another view of the Beehive spouting.

Another 'hot spot' in Yellowstone.

The trails at Norris were quite deep with snow. It was really exciting for us to see and play in this much snow. But, believe me, the novelty did wear off by the time we got to Croatia.

Gardiner is the town closest to the North Entrance. Very small but at least they had a couple of motels.

Mammoth is actually in the park. There is the Mammoth Lodge and quite a few administrative buildings. The elk are quite comfortable there too.

This is the North Gate - I think it is the original one.

Terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs. Spectacular even in winter - but I believe the colours are not as vibrant.

The road into Gardiner.

This just has to be Phallic Rock! Mammoth Hot Springs behind.

Looking from the trails around the hot springs towards the North Entrance and Mammoth 'township'.

It is surprising that the hot springs can freeze but I suppose if there is enough snow - anything can happen.

You can see some of the Mammoth administrative buildings in the centre.

More of the Mammoth terraces

Still more again.

Driving out from Mammoth to the North-East entrance we encountered this lonely little coyote.

Tower Falls not too far off the North East entrance road.

The snow sprinkled mountains and fields were quite breathtaking.

Tower Falls - a totally different view to what you would see in summer.

The road was not too bad - it was covered in snow in parts but clear in others.

The scenery never disappointed.

Herds of wild buffalo are relatively common in the park.

Deep valleys, gorges, high mountains with a seeming dusting of icing sugar.

A petrified tree.

Still heading towards the North-East entrance towards the Beartooth Highway.

This rock formation is called Chinamans Hat - gee - that's unexpected!

Sometimes there a broad open fields leading to craggy mountain peaks. In this early part of winter (November) much of the park is closed.

Both the main Lodges - Mammoth and Yellowstone and all the camp sites are closed. Nothing opens again until mid-December when all the movement is by skis, tracked vehicles or by snowmobile.

Finally out of the park but the Beartooth Highway was really covered in snow. So were the first vehicle to 'break track'.

We travelled at about 25 km per hour for about 80 kms. We thought about putting chains on but thought that if we didn't stop and went slowly, we would be OK. It was a stressful drive.

Then we reached the Chief Joseph Highway. Such a beautiful drive, no more snow but it was twisty and turney.

You can see the twists and turns here from this high spot. We were ready to relax in the motel in Cody by the end of the day. It was a much longer day than originally anticipated.

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