Okay, so this is like, my 3rd version of this post. I have three versions of this post because I don’t want to lose any progress on them. I may want to edit and change some of the two previous posts- most likely not- but if I do, it’s good to be prepared. My first version was mainly a summary of our itinerary. I didn’t really include any opinions or any thoughts I had besides, “Old Faithful was a disappointment,” or “The Porcelain Basin was okay.” My second one is similar to this one, but with information about differences between a National and State Park. And hopefully, this third one will be somewhat-not really- a mix of both. So, let’s see how it goes.
We took a 7-day vacation to the western side of America- Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana- and visited 3ish specific locations. Yellowstone National Park, The Grand Tetons, and the Salt Flats/Arches National Park. I want to share my most favorite moments during the break, and give some of my opinions.
Hiking in Grand Tetons
We spent our entire day- 3rd day- in Jackson Hole and, it was just magnificent there. We followed the Earth Trekkers
schedule to plan our day, and it went really well. Starting from driving early morning to Schwabacher’s Landing, to Oxbow Bend, to Signal Mountain, to hiking up to Hidden Falls. My favorite two places were Oxbow Bend and Hidden Falls.
Even though you had to hike about 0.5 miles up to Hidden Falls up a mountain, it was worth it. (I was slightly out of breath when I reached due to my quarantine adventures.) I think the only thing that would have made the experience better if there were fewer people. That way you can hear the sounds of nature more clearly, and watch the rapid falls while only hearing that.
|My mom took a picture of me taking a picture of my dad
Oxbow Bend was also my favorite because of the view. It’s nothing fancy, but the location and view of the mountains are just indescribable. ( Also because of how peaceful it was. Despite there being a few other groups of tourists, it was pretty quiet.) The water from Snake River is so clear you can see the reflections of the mountains and landscape in it. It was just stunning.
|My solo picture at Oxbow Bend
|Family Picture at Oxbow Bend
Along the way to Jackson Hole, we stopped by a campsite to rest. Near the campsite was this hike to a bridge that was naturally formed. The trail to the bridge was so long, that whenever someone who was coming back showed up, we would promptly ask them whether there is one or not. There is one, and it is just wow. It was also higher up so, we had to do some more hiking, except up a mountain. Totally worth the exhaustion though. I and my dad crossed the bridge and got a view of the scene below us. I was, honestly, a bit nervous when crossing, but, upon hearing my dad’s shrill voice scream, “WE MADE IT!” I felt better.
|Natural Bridge from below
|Me and my dad on Natural Bridge
The main reason I really enjoyed the Salt Flats was because of the Salt Flats themselves. Usually when we think of something formed naturally we think of weathering and erosion and images of canyons or mountains come to mind. Even though the salt flats aren’t “naturally formed” they are an act of the weather cycle. The evaporated water from the ancient lake Lake Bonneville left behind the salt that is called, Salt Flats. What’s intriguing, is how so much salt is piled up and is left behind to create this flat, solid, white structure. It’s really unbelievable. What’s also fascinating is how solid the salt is. I personally was surprised at how easy it was to walk normally on the salt. It felt really weird- like a more solid version of sand.
Arches National Park
I’ve always seen pictures in class or online or even on one of my collected quarters of the Arches. I’ve never thought much of them or really have been THAT fascinated about them. But, after I saw them in real life for the first time, I was impressed. There were about 10, I think, arches and rock formations that we saw that day out of 2,000 arches in total. ( The 10 that were on the tour guides and were able to be visited.) The most common Arch is the Delicate Arch. That is the common Arch you see in pictures and stuff. And, yeah we saw it…from the overlook because there’s no way on Earth we would hike that much up a steep hill when the sun is high and it’s burning outside. Plus, I was already exhausted and drained from the 1.6-mile round hike to Landscape Arch.
One very interesting thing, for me, about the Arches was “Fallen Arches”. I was reading online and in the newspaper, they give you about fallen arches and I was really fascinated. When you look at these Arches your mind wonders about the formation of these Arches and how they came to this form over millions and millions of years. You almost think that they’re invincible and they won’t break- especially for Balanced Rock or even Landscape Arch- but they can break. Landscape Arch had a trail that went up to the Arch in the past, but after a slab on the right side of the Arch fell off while hikers were resting there, it was closed off. ( The Arch has been stable after that, but there is a dilemma about whether it is stable to let hikers hike up there again, or whether it is stable because people aren’t near it.) Another Arch that is believed to have previously been 2 arches- connected- had fallen. There is also Wall Arch
, which is more common. It just proves, things created over a long period of time can be destroyed in less. The power of nature truly is incredible. ( Now, I can’t help but wonder when Balanced Rock will fall…)
|Can you see Delicate Arch in the distance?
( I can only see my extremely tired self)
|Family Portrait in front of Pine Tree Arch
|Balanced Rock…from a distance
Great Fountain Geyser
So, this geyser actually erupts every 12-15 hours and we just so happened to be lucky to find out about the geyser that day, and be there to see it. And, it was worth it. The most common geyser and well-known one is Old Faithful, and that mainly is because it is the only geyser that erupts on a predictable pattern. The geyser erupts about 20 times a day and because of that, more people can visit and experience a geyser. However, in my opinion, Old Faithful isn’t that great. Compared to the Great Fountain Geyser, Old Faithful looked kinda weak. Old Faithful does/can erupt higher than Great Fountain Geyser, but eruptions usually last about 1.5-3 minutes long. Great Fountain Geyser erupted for about 10 minutes. Plus, Great Fountain Geyser has more of a before-show performance where the pools start to overflow before it bursts.
After some research, I have come to find out that Old Faithful is kind of not as faithful as it used to be. Really depends on what you mean by faithful. Before the 1959 earthquake, Old Faithful used to erupt 21 times a day. Now it erupts 20 times. Not that huge of a difference, but, it is a significant decrease.
|Me and dad in front of a hot spring in
|Just enjoying the view~
|Another hot spring
|Picture of Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
|A non-edited picture of the scenery
( It looked so majestic *sobs*)
|Full view of the Teton range
( And us)
|A mammoth (right) and an elephant (left)
|Hiked up to Landscape Arch very tired,
hiked down from Landscape Arch very tired