Friday, July 6, 2007

Day 8

Day 8
July 3

Playing in YNP & Grand Teton National Park

Started our day off with laundry and a shower! A visit to the Grant Village Visitor’s Center taught us about the importance of fire to the park. There was a lot of information about the 1988 fire which burned over 25% of the park. We learned that there was much fuel for the fire because dead lodge pole pines do not decay due to the cold temps all year in the area. Firefighters from all over the country came to fight the fire that threatened many buildings & burned greatly out of control. Winds that summer were hurricane strength on top of a series of very dry years combined for a fire of massive proportions.

Once again we were amazed at God’s plan for nature. He really has created some amazing things. The lodge pole pine trees have two distinct types of pinecones. One type is sealed with a sap that can only be melted in fire temperatures. The other type is on mature trees only in areas where there is no recent history of fire.

Next, we headed south to Grand Teton National Park. What a beautiful sight the Tetons are! We really enjoyed the view. Our first stop was the Coulter Bay Visitor’s center. We lunched here at the water’s edge—meeting the Lane family from Seattle. Luke & Rachel waded in the water. Their joy was a lovely thing to witness. Guess who fell in & got soaked…..yep, Luke. Thankfully it was a sunny day & he dried relatively quickly.

We drove on to Jenny Lake. Here we crossed the lake in a boat & climbed a mile up to Inspiration Point. Rachel made it the whole way—our nature girl. Luke needed some assistance from Daddy to make it the final half mile up the mountain. The view from the top was worth the hard climb. Luke made it down on his own & we headed back across the lake in a boat.

Our return boat driver recommended a restaurant with a spectacular view just south of the park. The restaurant was packed, but we found a seat outside. We struck up a conversation with the family at the next table. They were locals who had riden their horses to dinner! The Nichols family were very kind. Kent, a volunteer mounted policeman, and Matt traded stories. Kent told about training Secret Service agents to ride horses--Dick Cheney has a home nearby. They are neighbors with Sandra Bullock, who never comes to the homeowners association meetings but sends her dad who is very nice. Kent gave Luke & Rachel a brief ride on one of the horses! He also gave them Jackson Hole Jr. Police badges--they are feeling very powerful & important with all of their responsibilities! Diane said we needed to drive the square in Jackson. God really has placed some great people in our path on this trip.

What a fun town! Definately geared for tourists! We walked the square & decided to let Rachel ride in the stagecoach. Since we were the last ride of the night, the man let a sleeping Luke & Daddy come for free! (Luke woke up for most of the ride.) The kids thought it was big fun to ride like pioneers & wave at everyone!

The ride back to Yellowstone was dark, but pretty with the sun setting behind the Tetons. We were thankful for bright lights due to elk & bison crossing the road. We were stopped in a bison traffic jam!

Tomorrow is Fishing Bridge Visitor Center & out the East Enterance of the park to Cheyenne, WY.

Liz & family

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