Yellowstone was disappointing.
Don’t get me wrong, the geysers and springs and wildlife were awesome. But the whole park felt tarnished but the number of cars and people and tourists roaming around. If I were to rate a park’s quality as inversely proportional to the number of people walking around with cameras and tripods… then Yellowstone would be at the bottom of the parks’ list.
I get it’s a huge area and you have to drive through it and it was the founding National Park; but even still getting stuck behind cars as they stop in the middle of the road for a bison or two (granted sometimes the bison were stopped in the middle of the road…).
I guess what it really is, the whole place felt like a tourist trap. You have bison and extremophiles and geysers, but the feeling of the park wasn’t that people were there to enjoy it, but that people were there because it’s the place where you’re supposed to go. Kind of like the Mystery Spot or Disneyland. It really wasn’t what I was looking for at the time . My last day there I did find a little spot that would be safe to run on, moderately trafficked, but a good little trail to Fairy Waterfall.
Now the Tetons are connected right to the the south entrance of Yellowstone, which I didn’t quite realize, until driving out of one park and into the other. But there it was. On a recommendation from a friend, I got up early and did the Cascade Canyon hike. I started off at the ranger station on a ranger led hike to Moose Lake…where it lived up to its name with a moose wallowing around the riparian area. I continued on that hike around Jenny’s Lake, as we’re walking down, a group was coming up—”There’s a moose on the trail.” ok a moose, just saw one, sweet. — “No. Turn around and get off the trail, the moose is ON the trail” Quickly scurried up the trail and lo and behold a moose just cruising up this single track trail.
After that adventure I was up the canyon. It started off pretty ok; single track, steep switchbacks, some shrubs and trees; but before I knew it I was hiking along a river in the middle of the canyon. You could see some of the smaller glacier/snow fed streams with lush foliage growing on the mountainside. It was amazing—my words and pictures can’t describe how beautiful it was to hike up this area.