[This was the final leg of our ~3000 mile journey in the great American west. Here are the links to the first, second, third, and fourth parts]

After our rest in Salt lake city, we left the next day we left for Wyoming, a state we had only heard of in movies and stories. We didn’t know anyone that had ever lived there. Having lived in NY, it felt as if we were visiting a far, remote and forgotten part of the US. Forgotten, except perhaps for its two renowned national parks: Yellowstone and Grand Teton, to which visitors from around the world flock in great numbers throughout the year.

The drive up north from Utah into Wyoming was spectacular. We saw more cows and horses and ranches on this part of the trip than in all the other states we visited.

An endless road flanked by beautiful ranches somewhere in Wyoming, USA

We reached the Grand Teton park first, and it had been raining quite a bit. The park is named after a tremendous mountain which abruptly rises about 7000 feet above the area, in all almost 14,000 feet above sea level.

A first sighting of the Grand Teton range

Another reason some people know this park is through one of the most legendary images of the beautiful American west, an unforgettable composition made by Ansel Adams titled “The Tetons – Snake River (1942)”.

Ansel Adams | The Tetons and the Snake River

Ansel Adams | The Tetons and the Snake River

A lonely tree set against vast open fields in Grand Teton national park

Snow capped peaks of Grand teton range

 

The area was incredibly beautiful – and was teaming with elks, bison and other wildlife roaming freely across the plains.

We spent some time finding our campground, and it happened to be right next to the beautiful Jenny Lake. Thankfully it  stopped raining by the time we started putting up our tent for the night.

Overcast skies one evening at Grand Teton national park, Jenny Lake shot from a pebbled shore

We hadn’t eaten a whole lot, and after we’d pitched the tent, it started to rain. Could Not have been more glad to eat something hot !

That evening a forest ranger gave a long talk by a fireplace – there were even wooden benches! This was a first for us, and it was a unique experience. It was like sitting in a geography or biology class again – only this time we paid a lot more attention.

It was below freezing at night, so we wore extra pants, socks, head cover etc.. A dramatic change from just a week ago, when we slept in shorts at the Wahweap bay campground in Arizona.

The next day, we’d planned to start early by seeing the sun rise on the Grand Tetons – and boy, was the effort worth it! (See the landscape below)

Sunlit peaks of the Grand Teton range one early morning in Wyoming

After the beautiful sunrise, we had a good breakfast and headed further up north towards Yellowstone. Historically, Yellowstone is very special – as it was the first area in the US (and likely in the world) that was designated to be a ‘national park’ by its advocates. The move symbolized a new age of our terrestrial existence, an age best characterized by its loftiest aspirations – respect, love, and genuine care for the natural world.

Yellowstone is an ex-volcanic region, and has umpteen hot springs and geysers of every kind, apart from being what many campers call ‘bear-heaven’! It is quite a complex and interesting eco-system that needs a good deal of time to truly understand. Even in the short while we were there, we could spend a fair amount of time examining and admiring different thermal features, and encountered wild-life practically everywhere. A week here with someone who knows the place well could potentially teach us more than what years of class room study could possibly introduce us to.

The beautiful fields of Yellowstone bathed in the gentle afternoon yellows one fine day in August 2010

 

Grand Prismatic spring, Yellowstone

A beautiful turquoise-coloured geyser, currently inactive

 

Beauty everywhere !

 

Loved these colors !

 

A silhouette of the great fountain geyser, Yellowstone – in black and white

 

A dreamy landscape shot at Yellowstone where red sands contrast with beautiful, often dramatic skies

 

A bridge in yellowstone

 

A skylit geyser at Yellowstone national park, overcast skies, aqua green pool

 

A geyser erupting in front of us, Yellowstone

 

Last few minutes of sunlight before a rapid drop in light… At the Upper Falls, Yellowstone

 

Upper Falls of Yellowstone in the distance

 

Loved the hues in the sky here. Btw, this bison wasn’t as close as it appears :-)

 

Past sunset at Yellowstone national park, a painted sky and yellow fields

A most beautifully designed, century-old all-wood structure.

We left Yellowstone early on September 5th. Even on our way out of the park, we saw a brilliant sunrise, and so much wildlife!

Sunrise at Yellowstone lake

Sunrise at Yellowstone lake

This is truly a treasure of all mankind, and we are grateful that the opportunity to safeguard it has been given to a country as worthy of it as the United States.

It was a good ten to eleven hours of a drive from Yellowstone to Denver. For breakfast, we stopped at a small breakfast diner in a town called ‘Cody’.  There were no free tables for two, and there were 3 couples standing in line for a table. One couple was in their 80s, the other were only in late 60s and then there was us. The owner saw us and asked us if we didn’t mind sitting together at a 6-seat round-table? All of us happily agreed.

This turned out to be one of the best random breakfasts we have had to date. Such jolly and warm people! We chatted a lot, exchanged stories & spent an hour and half over basically three slices of bread and a cup of coffee. We met as strangers but felt so much closer when we had to say goodbye!

Early that evening, we reached Denver. We washed the car, and re-packed all our luggage for the flight the next day. We rested at a lovely bed-and-breakfast, which felt amazing after all those cold nights in the tent!

Other parts of this road-trip

1. Heading to the Sand dunes of Colorado

2. Lake Powell, Rainbow Bridge and the Colorado’s horseshoe bend

3. The incredible secret canyons of Arizona – Passage, Staircase and Secret canyon

4. Visiting Canyonlands and Arches national park

5. Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks

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Uday
..is a wanna-be writer and photographer. In 2013, received the Dilbert bravery award for attempting to put together lengthy travelogues in the age of 20-sec attention spans.
  1. GoneWithaWhim September 9, 2016 at 10:33 AM - Reply

    Stumbled upon your blogpost before I set out to Yellowstone last week. Great photos and post :) Especially love the photo taken at sunrise. The weather was cloudy the whole time we were there, barely gotta see a sunrise or sunset. :( Oh well, next time!

    http://gonewithawhim.com/2016/09/yellowstone/

    • Uday September 11, 2016 at 10:21 PM - Reply

      Thanks for stopping by & glad you liked it! True, weather is always the wildcard, but hey – at least it wasn’t raining! Hope you travel there again & relish the yellow-ness of yellowstone, that Alone is worth a visit :-)

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1+
Uday
..is a wanna-be writer and photographer. In 2013, received the Dilbert bravery award for attempting to put together lengthy travelogues in the age of 20-sec attention spans.