Sunday, June 27, 2010

Yellowstone, last minute

So I spent the last week in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Totally spur of the moment. My good friend and frequent camping partner, Mike, called me up a couple weekends ago, told me he was taking this trip, and invited me. I said no, initially, thinking there was no way I could get time off work last minute, but it turned out that this was actually a perfect week to take vacation. So off we went.

We left the Bay Area on Friday afternoon and drove straight through. Took us about 17.5 hours. Drovee across the Nevada desert in the dark, taking turns at the wheel while the other drove. Stopped sometime in the middle of the night for coffee at a McDonalds in Lovelock, Nevada (creepy, creepy, creepy), where we went through the drive through behind a couple of meth-head girls getting a huge bag of food, on foot. Had breakfast at 5 AM at a tiny diner with a super-friendly waitress in Twin Falls Idaho. And washed up in West Yellowstone somewhere around 11 AM Saturday. I can't say I recommend the driving straight through thing -- I was pretty beat all day on Saturday. The good thing about is that we didn't actually have to see Nevada because it was so dark. Mike says I'm exaggerating, but I think pretty much the entire state of Nevada is creepy as all hell. It's utterly beyond me why anyone would want to live there (sorry Amy, if you're reading this).

Since the whole thing was very last minute, we didn't do much planning. I was a bit nervous about getting campsites last-minute in the park, and we were prepared to camp on National Forest land outside the park (like Yosemite, Yellowstone is surrounded on all sides by National Forests). But it turns out that we were there just before the busy season, so it wasn't an issue. We camped in either Yellowstone or Grand Teton every night except our last, including one night backpacking in the Yellowstone backcountry. Spent 4 days in Yellowstone, 2.5 in Grand Teton / Jackson Hole. Did lots and lots of hiking, animal-viewing, photo-taking, and, yes, driving. Had a lovely time.

Anyway, over the next couple of weeks, I plan to post pictures of the trip a bit at a time. I took over 2000 photos (!), most with the amazing DSLR camera my very generous family gave me for Christmas last year. But it's gonna take me a while to sort through them. Stay tuned.

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