09/10/2021 (Please note that this is super condensed. I was all over the place and took lots of photos. These are some of the highlights. I can’t fit all of the stories into one post and have already moved on. Maybe a book!)
Hayden Valley – best views for bison
Lamar Valley – best views for : bears, bison and wolves
Mammoth Springs – best views for elk, however, there were elk hanging out for most of the summer in our residential area and by the stores. How fun to see them everyday! The males make a bugling sound during mating season and it’s amazing to listen to. They’re also very aggressive, so stay out of their way.
Canyon – Upper and Lower Falls, great hiking trails on the north and south rims, Crystal Falls is a hidden gem, got a ride on the OLLI electric self driven shuttle. Good shopping for outdoor wear at the Adventure Store. The General Store was always packed.
Lower Geyser Basin – where most of the great geysers are, including Old Faithful. Also Old Faithfull Inn. I discovered some new ones at Fountain Paint Pots, too.
Waterfalls – Mystic Falls, Crystal Falls, LeHardy rapids, Kebler Cascade, Firehole Falls, Ousel Falls (Big Sky, MT). There are 45 major waterfalls in the park. I’ll post some pictures later.
Hiking – I did not hike very much this year for a couple of reasons. First, there aren’t any trails within walking distance at Grant Village. You have to drive to them. Second, I was very tired after work and didn’t feel like doing anything. So no weight loss this year 😦 . Most of the hikes were easy and it was fun going on new trails. I also hiked a couple of trails in the Grand Tetons and it’s beautiful there! If it weren’t for bears, I probably would have done more hiking, but solo hiking is discouraged in the parks. Fortunately, I met people on the trails or went with someone, and it worked out fine.
I also found a great spot on Lake Yellowstone to put my chair down and read under a tree. That was the most relaxing afternoon I’ve had.
I met and made a lot of friends here this year, and am happy to know them! A lot of us will be wintering in Florida this year, and I look forward to seeing them again. I’ll keep in touch with everyone else. This is why I chose this lifestyle, to travel and meet people from all over the country, and I have accomplished that.
Grand Tetons is on the way to Jackson, WY and is a great place for photography and hiking. I think that it’s much prettier that Yellowstone, because the mountains are right there in plain view. It’s also in the middle of the Shoshone National Forest and there’s plenty of camping available as long as you have a reservation. Can’t beat that! The spot where Ansel Adams took his famous picture of the Snake River is now overgrown with trees, so you won’t be able to duplicate that shot unless you’re on a 60′ ladder… Jenny Lake was beautiful but crowded. We also hiked from String Lake to Leigh Lake and that was pretty, too, and much less crowded. It’s the only spot in the park where you can actually swim because the beaches are sandy and not rocky. I’ve been there a couple of times and would definitely go again. Mormon Row, Signal Mountain are other great photo spots.
Side trip to Big Sky, Montana – Ousel Falls. Spectacular!