In July 2009, we flew from Huntsville to Denver to Jackson Hole and drove from there. The airport in Jackson Hole is spectacular – it’s in a field directly in front of the Tetons! We stopped off for a little while to walk around in Jackson Hole. We ate at some cool burger place called Billy’s Hamburgers that we definitely recommend if you happen to be in the area.
Here is a link to the Yellowstone Map that you can use to follow along.
Our first night was at a campsite between Tetons and Yellowstone called Lizard Creek. We set up our tent and drove up to the Yellowstone entrance to take the required Langley photographs. We didn’t really do anything else that night other than cook in the rain.
The next morning we broke camp and drove into Yellowstone. We stopped off at Lake Yellowstone for breakfast and some pictures. We didn’t eat at the Lake Yellowstone Hotel (the big yellow one) but ate at the lodge instead. It was nice to be able to look out at the lake while we ate breakfast.
The sky was clear and there was a definite blue cast to everything, partially due to the Velvia film. I converted some of the shots to a monotone, since the blue dominated them anyway.
There is a large meadow in front of the lodge, and I was able to catch this guy having breakfast as well:
We left Yellowstone Lake and drove through Hayden Valley toward Canyon. This was our first encounter with Buffalo. I had some impression before the trip that we may see a few, but there were tons of them!
Here’s an idea of what happens to the traffic when the buffalo are around:
This was mid-day and the sun was much to harsh for slide film, so B&W was my only option. Even with the B&W, I had to blow out the highlights in order to get any detail in the buffalo. This guy was sitting by the road to enjoy the parade of tourists:
This guy was using the scratching post (former road sign) to get some relief:
Here is another group of buffalo near the road. We rarely encountered a single buffalo:
We made it to our second stop of the trip at Canyon Village where we were able to get another campsite. The park was pretty full, and we had to look pretty hard to find an empty campsite. This would become a theme through the rest of the trip. Canyon Village is very near the Upper and Lower Falls on the Yellowstone River.
Above is a shot on B&W made during mid-day. It’s the best shot that I could get without doing some type of multiple exposure with blending for an HDR. It was also difficult because of the number of people crowded into the park. The shot below is on Velvia 50 slide film as the sun was setting. The waterfall is back-lit and difficult to capture without a split filter. If we ever get back to Yellowstone, I’ll be at this spot at sunrise rather than sunset.
The Canyon Village also has a nice shopping area with a place to get food, as well as the best hot showers in the park. We also did a few day hikes around this area to see Tower Falls, and the Hellroaring Trail. The Tower Falls was pretty cool, but there was no position to get a good shot of it – here’s the best that I could do:
The Hellroaring Trail was rather rewarding. We only hiked about a mile in to get to the suspension bridge over the Yellowstone River. I got some pictures of the bridge and then we started back to the trail head as the weather started to get rough. On the way out, I got a shot of the storm clouds rolling through the valley.
Above is a shot of the suspension bridge over the Yellowstone River, and below is a shot of the storm rolling over the Hellroaring Creek. Notice the fly-fisherman in the lower left corner.
After we left Canyon Village, we drove up to Slough Creek and found a good campsite. This area is popular with fly-fishermen, so it may be difficult to find spots around here. We did a day hike in Lamar Valley, over to the Lamar River. We had planned to stop and eat lunch near the river, but started back as the weather started looking bad again.
The next day we went into Mammoth Hot Springs and saw the Elk for the first time hanging out by the buildings. Mammoth was one of the most interesting places in the park with all of the hot springs and colorful pools. I didn’t get any good shots here – mostly because of the people and because the hot springs were usually covered with steam.
We found a campsite at Indian Creek campground and went to see Old Faithful. We went into the Old Faithful Inn and asked if they had any cancellations or rooms available. We actually got a room at Old Faithful Inn with a walk-up reservation! This is one of the coolest places that I have ever stayed.
The next day we did a day hike of Bunsen Peak. It was one heck of a climb, but the view from the top was AMAZING. Here are some shots that I took on the way up the trail:
Our only back country hike of the trip was an over night trip to Shoshone Lake. This is the largest lake in the US with no road access. It was amazingly peaceful and quiet, but also very windy.
Above is a shot of a small tree on the shore of Shoshone Lake, originally in Velvia, converted to B&W. Below is a shot from the same location made with Velvia in the late afternoon. This image actually makes a great background for a computer desktop.
Here is a shot that is my favorite from the whole trip. I call it “Moon Over Shoshone”.
We hiked out of Shoshone Lake around to the road again. We had called the park before planning the trip to ask about getting a shuttle service back to the car. The ranger told us that he didn’t know about any shuttle service and that he had never waited longer than 15 minutes to hitch a ride.
After waiting for over an hour trying to hitch a ride, I left April at a picnic area and started walking toward the Continental Divide parking lot. I found a nice couple who had stopped there to take pictures to give me a ride back to the car and then went and picked up April.
Next, we drove out of the park and back to Tetons National Park. We hoped to get a campsite at Signal Mountain, but again – everything was packed. We wound up with a site at Colter Bay. Our last day was spent around Jackson Hole and Tetons to check out the park.
Here is a shot across Jackson Lake:
The shot below is another of my favorites. I was walking down the sidewalk and looked up to see this view. I was able to stand on a bench and brace the camera against a building column to get this. I call it “All American”.