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Motor Coach Tour 2011
Friday, May 27th
Yellowstone National Park
Jackson, Wyoming

Today we retrace our steps going south over much of the road we covered yesterday heading north. Here is the Yellowstone part of the map. It will look a lot like yesterdays only goes a bit further south to the South Entrance.

Yellowstone Map May 26th

Today we start out in Mammoth Hot Springs at the top right of the map and head south.

We stopped briefly at Roaring Mountain which is labelled in very small purple letters just north of Norris.

Our morning rest stop was near Madison, a rest stop for the third day, and then south out of the park via the South Entrance or in our case Exit. That is the green line running straight across near the bottom of the map. The South Entrance to Jackson is 64 miles or 103 kilometres.

Once out of the park you go through a forest and then into Grand Teton National Park and just south of that and not on this map Jackson, Wyoming.

A note here about elevations, that probably should have been noted before now. On the map you can hopefully see a meandering light purple line that encloses an area near the centre of the map. The eastern section is off this map. This area is labelled as the Caldera Boundary. This portion of the park is the geothermally active part and sits on (may be in) the top of a volcanic crater (caldera). This section is anywhere between 1000 and 1500 feet (approximately 300 to 460 metres) higher than the area around it. This height difference affects the weather as you will see in the pictures that follow.

One other elevation issue, in the lower central part of the map you will see a meandering light brown line. It crosses the southern eastbound road in two places and the South Entrance Road in one spot. This is the Continental Divide. To the north and east of this line all of the water flow is to either the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean through various river systems. On the west and south of this line all the water ends up in the Pacific Ocean through various western and southwestern flowing rivers. These are also some of the highest altitudes we reached on this trip. The three places we crossed it are, in order, 8762 feet or 2518 metres, 8391 feet or 2558 metres and 7988 ft or 2435 metres. Most of the pictures with the high snowbanks by the road below are in these areas.

The weather was still cold and there had been a light dusting of snow overnight that melted away quite quickly in the Mammoth area. It looked like a very nice day by the time (8:30 I think it was) we were to leave. But there was a problem, the road to the south was closed for reasons that were not, and never really became, entirely clear. There were other ways out but they required major rerouting which no one wanted to do. So we waited. Somewhere between 60 and 90 minutes later the road was finally opened and off we started.

The first group of pictures below show what the weather was like in Mammoth. Since we are into elevations on this page Mammoth is 6239 feet or 1902 metres above mean or average sea level.

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Coach Mammoth Dinning Building
The main entrance of the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel with our coach awaiting our departure in front. The dining building taken from the same spot. The dining room was at this end and the Terrace Grill at the other end.
Mammoth Weather 1 Bird Picture
Does not look like any weather issues here.
What is the big holdup????
This bird was just about at my feet when this picture was taken. I had to take it in a hurry so it is not the best.

Shortly before 10:00 Tour Director Jack found out that the road had just been opened so we all jumped on the coach and headed out. Here is what it looked like as we worked our way from Mammoth to our first quick stop at Roaring Mountain.

Driving Scene 1 Driving Scene 2
Does not look too bad here. There was snow overnight in much of the park.
Driving Scene 3 Driving Scene 4
A rather rough river bed. This may be the same river just a bit further along.
Driving Scene 5 Driving Scene 6
Well this might explain some of the road issues. It is one scenic place, that is for sure!
Driving Scene 7 Driving Scene 8
Blowing snow in the distance. The roads were still rather sloppy.

Driving Scene 9 a Bear

A bear from the coach window.

The pictures above were taken over about a 35 minute period before arriving at Roaring Mountain which does not "roar" much any more.

Roaring Mountain 3 Roaring Mountain 1
Roaring Mountain's north end. The main part. Apparently the steam and gas action here was so active that it constantly made a roaring sound. Hence the name.

Roaring Mountain 2

This is Chris from Australia who has taken my picture a couple of times during the tour.
Roaring Mountain is just to the left of the picture.

So we continue to head south continuing to increase in altitude as we do. Here are some more pictures as we head towards our rest stop near Madison.

Driving Scene 10 Driving Scene 11
The roads are rather wet and slushy here. The white haze in the distance is blowing snow.
Driving Scene 12 Driving Scene 13
Lots of pretty winter like scenery. One would wonder if it actually was May 27th looking at this.
Driving Scene 14 Driving Scene 15
The sky is clearing, not that it was ever "that" overcast. More winter like scenery.
Driving Scene 16 Bison Jam Driving Scene 17
Our last Bison Jam of the tour. This was a big one. Even a Park Ranger was there directing traffic (or maybe the Bison to, but they generally leave them to do their own thing). The Bison as we passed them under the direction of the ranger.
Driving Scene 18 Driving Scene 19
It certainly is a scenic part of the world. The roads have improved greatly.

So we arrived at the rest stop near Madison at around 11:15.

Madison Stop 1 Madiso Stop 2 Coach
Blowing snow at the far end of the parking lot. It does not look too bad but it was windy and cold. At the rest stop.

We were here for 10 or 15 minutes and then continued on not stopping again until we were in Grand Teton National Park. Here are some pictures that cover that section of the drive south.

Driving Scene 22 Coyote Driving Scene 23
A coyote, I believe (or I think I was told it was). Some of the hot springs.
Driving Scene 24 Driving Scene 25
More steamy stuff. Notice, no snow! The white specks in this picture is snow falling and blowing around.
Driving Scene 26 Bird Driving Scene 27
Not to bad a picture from the coach window, eh. Unfortunately I do not know (more likely do not remember) what kind of bird this is. Going through one of the Continental Divide Passes. This is likely the last one at 7988 feet or 2435 metres.
Driving Scene 28 Driving Scene 29
We are on the South Entrance road here. I almost missed this as we went by.
Driving Scene 30 Driving Scene 31
More snow falling. Probably coming down out of the pass.
Driving Scene 32 Driving Scene 33
Still hard to believe it is May 27th with all this snow around. There will be more pictures with snow on mountains in the distance but this is the last one with snow of any amount along the side of the road.

South Entrance

The South Entrance/Exit of Yellowstone National Park.
Since we have been talking elevations on this page this is 6886 feet or 2099 metres above sea level.

Once one leaves Yellowstone via the South Entrance, one is on a section of road called the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway. Apparently Mr Rockefeller had something to do with assembling the land in this area so it could be used as a park. He was not involved in Yellowstone because it came well before him but I think he had something to do with Grand Teton National Park where we stop next.

Our first stop in Grand Teton was for lunch and was at a rather high end place called the Jackson Lake Lodge which amazingly enough happens to be on (or near) Jackson Lake. This place is so "high end" that the US Government often uses it for official functions like meetings of the US Federal Reserve Bank or the "Fed" as it is usually referred to. It is very secluded, so much so that it was virtually impossible to get a good picture of it. So I do not have an outside one but here are a few of the inside. There are some of the view out the windows but as you see the view was not working too well this day. Here are the pictures......

JLL Plaque JLL Cafeteria
The plaque marking an important place. An old style cafeteria type restaurant in the lodge where most of us had lunch. For those that are older, think Woolworth's.
JLL Outside View 1 Jll Outside View 2
Some of the Teton Mountain Range from inside. I went outside, it did not help much!
In fact, I think it looks worse!
JLL Martin 1 JLL Martin 2
A Martin, apparently. This is the full frame picture, not an enlargement the way some of the bear pictures have been. The Martin came even closer. Again a full frame image.
JLL Outside View 3 JLL Inside View 1
The Teton Range is out there somewhere. The inside of the Lodge.
JLL Inside View 2 JLL Inside View 3 Fireplace
A lounge area with, on a good day, a pretty good view. I thought this was a rather novel fireplace.

Driving Scene 35

Elk herd in a field in Grand Teton National Park.

The last place we stopped before arriving in Jackson was a lookout over the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park. In case you might be wondering how the name Grand Teton came to be, the explanation is on the information sign at this lookout. I have made this picture bigger so you can read it yourselves as you might not believe me if I told you.

GT Sign large

See "Naming the Range" at the bottom for the explanation.

Here is a view, as best as we could get, from this spot.

Grand Teton 2

If it were clear the Grand Teton Mountains would be in this picture.
Things improve tomorrow. Good things come to those who wait (and read tomorrows page!).

We arrived at the hotel in Jackson around fiveish I think it was and we were going out together to an included dinner at a place called the Bar-T-5 Covered Wagon Cookout & Show. This consists of a ride in a covered wagon up a trail in Cache Creek Canyon into the Bridger Teton Nation Forest (not the park), a meal of western cooking, and a show. I have some video but due to possible copyright issues it would be best not to use it here. So, here are some pictures.

Bat-T-5 Wagon Corral Loading wagons
The wagons waiting to take us to the cookout. Our group being loaded onto the wagons. I was in the one on the right, just behind where Tour Director Jack is standing.
On the trail 1 On the Trail 2
The wagon following the one I was in. There was a wagon in front of mine, mine, and these ones travelling to the cookout this evening.
Injuns Show
Injuns!!!! The Bar-T-5 band. The music was good.
On the Trail Back 1 On the Trail Back 2
You can see the weather had changed while we were up in the Bridger Teton National Forest. Part of the Teton Range in the distance and the lead rider as the wagons returned us to the corral.
Wagon Inside 1 Beaver House
The wagon I was in with the other wagon carrying our group ahead of us. Just for the record, the two horses pulling our wagon were named Smith and Wesson after the famous firearms manufacturer. The bump in the middle is a beaver house.

On the Trail Back 3

The weather was still cold but as you can see it was improving.

I think we got back to the hotel around 9:30 and had the rest of the evening to ourselves. The hotel was a bit different some of which were used on this tour. You will see some pictures tomorrow.

Tomorrow is an entirely free day in Jackson. Most of the group but not all, went on an optional float excursion on the Snake River. This you will see, as well as a change in the weather tomorrow.

On to May 28th.....

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Created: August 15th, 17th, and 18th, 2011
Last Updated: Thursday, August 25, 2011 5:57 PM