After leaving Idaho, we decided to boondock on our way to the Grand Tetons. Boondocking is when you camp with no hookups in your RV, usually for free on government land managed by the USDA Forestry Service or Bureau of Land Management. To successfully boondock, your fresh water tank should be filled and both waste tanks empty. You also need a means to recharge the RV batteries, either a gas-powered generator or solar panels. We were not sure how often we would be boondocking when we started our adventure so didn’t invest too heavily in solar. We have a 160-amp solar panel. It turned out to be sufficient for our initial foray into boondocking but we may beef up the solar panels at some point.
We learned of a boondocking spot with awesome views in the Bridger Teton national forest and headed that way. However, there was still quite a bit of snow on the ground and the road was closed. There was another clearing on the way that was available so we found a spot and settled in. Two other Airstreams were parked in the clearing so our initial boondocking experience turned into an Airstream Rally! We spent a couple of fun evenings around the campfire with three other full-time Airstream families.
After two nights, we made our way to Grand Teton National Park. After setting up our campsite we headed into Jackson for supplies. To our surprise and delight, we found Liberty Burger, our favorite Dallas burger restaurant! It was nice to have a little taste of home!
I have been wanting to see the Grand Tetons after seeing a screensaver photograph of the mountains many years ago. Being there and seeing the mountains with my own eyes did not disappoint. Our campsite was near Jackson Lake.
We took a few hikes. Although most of the trails were still snow covered, the temperature was very pleasant during the day. We didn’t encounter any bears although we were told that three grizzlies and a black bear were seen in the area near the campground.
We were stalked by a bird for about half a mile (grouse or pheasant?).
It was cold when we headed to Yellowstone which is to the north of Grand Teton National Park. The forecast predicted snow which I didn’t believe. I mean, snow in mid May, that doesn’t happen where we’re from! Well, we aren’t in Texas anymore and we got about 8 inches of snow! That’s about the equivalent of five years’ worth of snow in Dallas! When there’s that much snow in the park, all the entrances are closed and access to most of the attractions is restricted. We didn’t let the snow stop us from getting out. We drove to the Lake Yellowstone Hotel for lunch, visited a few hydrothermal features, saw bison in the snow, and caught a glimpse of a wolf (he was too quick for the camera).
Because of the weather, the water was shut off and we lost power! Fortunately, it wasn’t snowy our second day and out came the solar panel to charge the batteries.
Most of the new snow melted within 24 hours and the day was clear and warmer. We ventured out to see Old Faithful and the other springs and geysers close by. Old Faithful’s eruptions are determined by the force and timing of the last eruption. We only had to wait about 10 – 15 minutes. Adele was fairly patient, although at one point she proclaimed that it must be broken because it would sputter and spit steam and hot water halfheartedly. Craig suggested she call maintenance for repairs! She was so delighted by the eruption, that she nicknamed herself Little Geyser!
We drove 2 hours to Mammoth Hot Springs which was the site of Fort Yellowstone.
We saw the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone where the Yellowstone River descends into falls.
Hiked around the Mud Volcano, Dragon’s Mouth, and Black Cauldron.
We had a bear encounter from the safety of our car. But those people, what were they thinking!! Yikes!!
Yellowstone is such a vast park it isn’t possible to see everything in the short time we were there. Craig and I both agree, though, that Yellowstone is at its most beautiful in the snow. We had the opportunity a few years ago to ride into the park on snow mobiles. I highly recommend doing that if you ever get a chance.
Now on to Glacier National Park in Montana!