It has been a wonderful summer and we have cherished every moment we have spent here. We have made great progress in our work and have some amazing diversions when we took time off. Staying so close to Yellowstone National Park has been a blessing and something we'd like to repeat in the future. During our last few trips into the park the thought of leaving this placed loomed in our minds.
Smoke from the western fires have been pretty thick lately. The limited visibility and irritation in our throat and lungs made us very choosy about the days we explored outside. While we were disappointed on smoky days, it was a constant reminder to pray for those in harm's way.
The trips in the park the past two weeks were determined by "What have we not done yet?" and "What do we want to do one more time?"
Okay, the second question could be answered with "Everything!" but we only had two weeks! We reevaluated our hiking list and made a mental note of our favorite places and began the process of elimination.
We had our last Popup Photo Workshop with Jim Peaco the first part of the month. We met at nearby Madison Junction and learned about "Lights and Landscapes" It was another great workshop filled with new information and great reminders. Here is a small group listening to tips following the class portion.
We got a chance to say goodbye and thank Jim (and Bianca and Diane (?)) for doing such a great job. The next time you get to a national park, check out the Ranger Programs - we've really enjoyed them!
It was still pretty smoky that day, so we decided to go home after the workshop and get some work done so we could play if/when the air cleared.
Randy and Brenda, longtime friends from Austin, were visiting Teton and Yellowstone this month and we met up with them for lunch one day. We ate and visited way too long, and probably kept them from sight-seeing. It was a great visit sitting outside of the Old Faithful Lodge enjoying the view and catching up! No one pulled out a camera the entire time - I guess this confirms we are not of the Instagram generation.
On the way home, Trey pulled into the Fountain Paint Pot parking lot. This parking lot has been full all summer, but we found a place and decided to take a look around. The smoke was still pretty bad, but it made great play with the setting sun. We put some of our photo lessons to good use.
One of the highlight hikes of this trip was Fairy Falls and Imperial Geyser. We saved this one for the end because the parking lot was always full and we wanted to wait until the crowds settled down. It was a seven+ mile hike to see everything (Fairy Falls, Imperial Geyser, Spray Geyser, and the Grand Prismatic Overlook) It was a warm, but wonderful day! Unfortunately, almost all photos from this day were lost. Not sure what happened, but the transfer from one of the cameras never completed the process and the pictures on the card were deleted before we realized what had happened. Great sorrow! We did get one good snap of Imperial with our old camera.
Still tired from our previous hike, our next outing was a driving day. The wind had changed and the smoke lessened a bit, so we decided to try Beartooth Highway one last time.
We saw a little bit of color on our drive, but Fall was not fully here yet.
We stopped at another waterfall we had passed many times, not knowing it was there.
The Pass was clearer than our previous visit, but we did not remain long.
On the way home, we also stopped by the Canyon area. We pretty much took the same pictures we took last time, but it was nice to see the Canyon at sunset.
Sometimes the canyon formations remind us of cooked meringue.
Knowing we needed to get home, we watched the sunset from the road.
By the time we got to the Madison River Road, we were once again in a long line of cars, moving less than 5 miles per hour. After about 20 minutes of waiting, we decided to be courteous drivers and let someone who was waiting to cross the road. This guy didn't hold us up too long as he crossed the road to be closer to the river and his buddies.
Thursday night we pretty much watched the first winter storm move over the mountains.
It snowed almost all day and night Friday and we awoke to a snowy wonderland Saturday.
Saturday afternoon, we got a call that Trey's contacts were in. (Did we tell you Trey got contacts?) We drove to Rexburg to pick them up and ate a late lunch at Wendy's (the corndog place was closed.) Finishing up lunch, we decided to take the long way home (an additional 5 hours) and drive through Grand Teton National Park on the way home. We drive along the Snake River to get to the park. There was no rain, but we did have a nice display of clouds along our route.
There was also some color.
As we drove along the Snake River, we saw nothing but beauty.
After getting stuck behind a road marker painting truck for what seemed like forever (Please hurry, the sun is setting!),
we finally saw the Tetons.
They were shrouded in clouds on the western side, so we were grateful for this view.
The sunset played with the fresh snow ahead and painted pink on mountain tops.
We got home well after dark, but it was a great day of wonderful sights!
We leave this paradise Monday morning (before the next barrage of snow that begins Tuesday). It has been a wonderful summer of work and play. We will cherish it!