Sunday, June 17, 2012

Great Western Adventure: Days 13 and 14

Having crammed as much of Yellowstone as we could into 5 days, we left and drove to the Grand Canyon!

Interested in what we did before we left Yellowstone?

Day 13: Driving to the Grand Canyon, Part I

Before we left Yellowstone, we took a tour of the historic Old Faithful Inn. On our way from our cabin to the Inn, we saw this little guy posing on the boardwalk.

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It was August 25th and we just happened to be there for their Christmas in August celebrations.

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Apparently on August 25th in the early 1900s, Yellowstone had an unseasonable blizzard, snowing in the guests at the Old Faithful Inn. Ever since then, the park has celebrated Christmas on August 25th, having all of the staff dress up in reindeer antlers and Santa hats, and the stores play Christmas music and sell Christmas-related goods. It was pretty fun to happen upon such a celebration.

The Old Faithful Inn is like a giant treehouse, complete with a mini treehouse near the roof inside!

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You can see the treehouse in the upper right-hand corner.

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Our tour guide told us a whole bunch of fun facts about the history of the Inn. The weirdly shaped pieces of wood that make up the railings are all limbs from diseased trees. The architect drew a picture of the shape of limbs that he wanted for the railings on the back of a shingle and sent the workers out into the woods to gather similarly shaped limbs. It was the first rustic style lodge built in a National Park. The famous El Tovar and Bright Angel at the Grand Canyon, which we later visited, were inspired by its design. I highly recommend taking a tour if you ever go to the park.

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From there we started our two-day drive to the Grand Canyon. On the way out of the Old Faithful area, we dropped our postcards in their tiny post office, complete with this hilarious sign.

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As we drove through Jackson, Wyoming, we saw this arch made of shed elk antlers.

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There is an elk refuge there that has a great advertisement on an AM radio station. You MUST listen to it if you're driving through.

We also started to see a change in the landscape as we got more into Utah.

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At some point during the drive, we came across this sign, which was super helpful because we thought we were on 89. It turned out that to stay on 89, you had to take a left at a stoplight less than a mile before this sign is posted. We had missed it because we were trying to find somewhere to eat!

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After a long day of driving and dinner in Salt Lake City, we crashed at a hotel for the night.

Day 14: Driving to the Grand Canyon Part II

After a quick continental breakfast (isn't it the best), we got back on the road to finish our drive to the Grand Canyon. On the way we had to dodge cell phone dead zones and make arrangements with my parents at home who were preparing for a hurricane. First an earthquake and now a hurricane! They got some seriously strange weather while we were away. When we stopped for lunch we heard on the news that they were evacuating NYC and shutting down public transportation. I started to get a bad feeling about being away while poor little Flick was home alone!

On our drive through Utah and into Arizona we passed by the Red Hills, Bryce Canyon, and Navajo Nation, although we didn't stop because we wanted to get to the Grand Canyon before dark.

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We arrived at our cabin just before dusk and were able to take in our first views of the Grand Canyon (although the picture below was taken the next day).

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If you've ever been there, you'll know what I mean when I say it is indescribably big, which is an obvious statement, but an accurate one. We spent the last few minutes of daylight taking in the canyon while we waited to be seated at dinner.


Up Next: A Fossil Walk and a huge lightning storm

4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Ginger! It was hard to only pick a few, we have so many good ones! Although after we leave the Grand Canyon the good stuff trails off a bit.

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  2. Wow, it looks like you had such a grand time! I'm such a city gal but I enjoyed seeing all of your photos of the wilderness!

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    1. I definitely recommend this trip! Yellowstone is great because all of the thermal features are right on the side of the road and most have boardwalks that wind around the areas. Plus there are trails of varying difficulty if you're into hiking.

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