Saturday, August 08, 2009

Grand Tetons to Grand Canyon - Day Four

Day Four - Where is the tribal art after all?

This will be a rather uneventful day since our itinerary is to drive from Mammoth Hot Springs to Salt Lake City. That is to be our overnight stop on our way to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks.

I say relatively because it was not without some interesting sightings.

But first, we did breakfast again at opening time in the Mammoth Hot springs dining room. I bravely ordered the scrambled eggs again. This time they were steaming as they should be. Maybe it was a result of my earlier complaint. Or maybe it was simply because we were among the first in the dining room, assuring prompt service.

Whatever, the eggs were eggscelent.
(Yeah. I know. But could you have resisted?)

We drove south to Madison and west to the West Entrance to the park at West Yellowstone, Montana. Despite warnings about road construction between Norris and Madison, our travel was largely uninterrupted. Early morning driving almost always works out that way.

Before leaving the park we encountered a grizzly bear

It was in an adjacent field. It was our second grizzly bear sighting and our clearest look at the bear. Again, it was a Park Ranger's car parked on the side of the road that alerted us.

I recommend anyone driving through the park to slow down when they see a Park Ranger vehicle at the side of the road. Not only for safety, but also because there may be something to see that you would otherwise miss.

Not long after seeing the bear, we encountered a group of bisons

They were ambling along the side of the road, as if they owned it. Wait, maybe they do. Anyway, we slowed and got a great picture.

Not far down the road, Melissa spotted an eagle's nest in the trees, and then a eagle sitting on a nearby branch. It was the only eagle we have seen so far.

One of the unwritten rules of the road in wilderness areas is to flash your headlamps after passing wildlife on or near the road, as a warning to approaching drivers form the other direction.

Upon leaving the park, the change in ambience was stunning.

From the forest primevil to a string of stores, restaurants, motels and signs promoting them. As much of an assault on the sense that it is, I can see that it might be a welcome sight if one was leaving or approaching the park without a place to stay or eat.

From West Yellowstone it was south to Idaho Falls.

Then on Interstate 15 to Salt Lake City. As we approached Salt Lake City, in fact several miles before, we could see the northern reaches of the Great Salt Lake. It is a huge lake. One can understand how the Mormons moving west after persecutions in Illinois and on the way, would think they had found the promised land.

Otherwise, we found Salt lake City a confusing layout to get around.

It is laid out sensibly, on a square grid. But the names of the streets, and the signs that identify them, change at what seems to be a random logic. We wanted to get to Temple Square, if only as tourists to see this important site. We could not figure out how to get there. The best we could do was see the spires from our hotel room.

Incidentally, we stayed at the Howard Johnson Express Inn, largely for reasons of price and a pool. The latter was a granddaughter's requirement. The former was... well, you understand.
We dined early at Applebee's in the Gateway Center. The steak was surprisingly good. Who woulda thought?

Tomorrow, we will be up early, taking advantage of Howard Johnson's complimentary continental breakfast, and off for Bryce and Zion.

We have yet to encounter any Native American art. But we already have plenty of it. You can check it out at, and

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

I'm so surprised that you didn't visit the Colter Bay Visitor Center at the Grand Teton NP. They have a wonderful collection of Native American artifacts donated by the Rockefeller family.

I'm also sad that when you were in Yellowstone you didn't make a side trip to Cody to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. Not only do they have an one of the best collections of Plains Indian art and artifacts, they also have one of the best museum collections of art of the American West.

Plenty of tribal artifacts to see where you were; too bad you missed them.


William & Susanne Waites said...

Thank you, Elaine. You are so right.

We read about the places you mention. We didn't get to them because our mission was a National parks experience with our granddaughter. With limited time, activities oriented to that goal took priority.

So, we haven't been kvetching about it. I t was our choice. We are just reporting it.

Thank you for your comment.

Anonymous said...

Absolutly georgous photos!!! Looks like you all are having a blast out in God's Country. I have been to Zion and Bryce myself. They left an indelible mark on my memory. Did you see any of the Pinyon Jays? (the one's with black heads??)
I have a poster of Bryce in my office showing all of the geological formations that make up the region. Spectacular!! I look forward to seeing more!!! Great Grizzly shots too!! Dan Wheat - Denver