I’ve teamed up once again with Ivana of Black Hummus Diaries in a fresh Chicken Fried scramble of Americana adventure.
This time, we tackle Grand Teton and the illustrious Yellowstone National Park.
But first; some baby goats from our trip up to Colorado’s Mt. Evans.
I visited Grand Teton and Yellowstone for the first time three summers ago. I was traveling with my rural country farm friend from Denmark, and I wanted to give him the biggest and baddest that America had to offer. This was his first time out of Europe, so whatever I showed had to be good. I had to choose between the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, both equally amazing but both in opposite directions. Alas, America can hardly even fit into America, and there is never enough time to see everything that our wanderlusting souls desire.
I had mixed feelings on Yellowstone after visiting. It’s the land of all superlatives, a land embodying the fire and steam of the country it sits snuggly in. As a result, Yellowstone felt a bit like the Disneyland of National Parks. Filled parking lots, busses of tourists, angry Southern mothers smoking cheap cigarettes while slathering their albino children in SPF as they would a turkey in butter. It all looked a bit too familiar to a family redneck vacation to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
But the question arose when Ivana came for a visit this July. Where to go, what to do with so little time? I thought back on my travels several years ago and decided that Teton and Yellowstone deserved another crack. This time, we would try to do it a bit more off the radar. With that, we were out and onto I-25 for the long stretch into the wind streaked prairies of Wyoming.
Wyoming is the perfect American highway experience: a black barracuda barreling on dust-pressed straights hunting for a cheese-filled parrot fish down a rusty coral reef. The sumptuous moist of an over-excited Eisenhower cuts through dust long trod upon by wiser souls than I.
(Photo cred to Ivana)
The barracuda arrives upon a rainy Teton. Grand Teton was and still is one of my favorite National Parks in America. It is far less touristy than Yellowstone and still offers undeveloped places to camp away from the crowds. When I came here three years ago, we camped off the road in a relatively unknown area with a perfect view of Pachamama’s salaciousness. This is still, in my opinion, the best place to camp. I hesitate to say where it is for fear of crowding, but true campers will know that the best place to camp is in the shadow beneath the mount.
Here as well, is the best place for some long exposure experiments accompanied by a bottle of Whiskey.
Grand Teton does have some fantastic hikes, but summer they can be a bit crowded. We took the loop around Two Ocean Lake and Emma Matilda Lake and only saw a few other solitude seekers.
(photocreds to Ivana)
I like using Grand Teton as a base because the camping is free (if you know where to look) and it’s just an hour from Yellowstone and thirty minutes from grocery stores and civilization in Jackson.
As well, the views are always spectacular.
We eventually make it to Old Faithful for the classic bit of Yellowstone tourism.
Of course, this part is pretty Disneylandy. But a walk along to the other nearby geyser’s is less touristy and perhaps (dare I say) more interesting. Here is Castle Geyser, which goes off far less reliably and goes for a good twenty minutes.
Along with the many lakes and lagoons and bubbling muck, we encountered a beautiful gorge and waterfall along the less-traveled eastern side part of the park. Here they have the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, well worth a visit.
Yellowstone has a bit of everything, and it certainly can be done in a way that satisfies the solitude seeker. Mainly because it’s huge. This time, I left Yellowstone a lot happier than I did the first time. Yes, it was still crowded but I managed it a lot better this time around. Next, I want to visit in Winter or Fall for snowy bison and even steamier geysers.
America’s too big to take in one go. Ivana unfortunately only came for two weeks, and we only saw Yellowstone and a good 1/10 of Colorado. I can not imagine seeing all of this beautiful country, but I am glad to have experienced all that I have so far. There is still so much to see for all of us, so get out and get rambling!
Thank you all for reading! I hope that you see the beauty of this crazy place one day. As always, feel free to comment if somethings on your mind and like if you had a good time while you were here. Thanks!