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Duke and Michelle's great adventure beginning June 1st from Dillsburg, PA to Alaska with stops enroute to Rocky Mountain, Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier, Banff and Jasper National Parks. We're retired - no timetable!!
Click on the points on the map to see what we did at each location.
Just another one of the beautiful views of the mountains.
Staying at one of our freebie campgrounds. Nice site. Arrived on the 3rd and pretty much crashed as we drove 500+ miles each day since Friday morning. Stayed at a Flying J truck stop on Friday night, a Walmart on Saturday night and arrived here on Sunday afternoon. Today we took a road trip to Arapaho Basin, Keystone and Breckenridge ski slopes. Then we spent some time in Breckenridge. What an awesome town! Will be trying to come back some time in the next couple of years to visit again. Visited with our friend, Tim Shane and his son, Bryan in Fairplay, CO. Back to the campground a different route. Unbelievable mountains. Saw antelope, and many mule deer.
We went on a 5.5 mile hike today outside Palmer Lake, CO. Increase in elevation was 690 feet. We went up the steep side and once at the top, saw some beautiful views of the area. After that came back to the campground and relaxed!
This is the view from our campsite in the Elk Creek Campground, Grand Lake, CO. I just can't believe we are here.
We had just come back from getting groceries in Grand Lake, CO and as we were getting ready to pull into our campsite, we saw this Moose and her baby in the campsite right across from ours. We got so excited, we forgot to put the food in the refrigerator before leaving to drive through Rocky Mountain National Park. We did discover and put into our cooler before it went bad.
This is a peak that Duke would really like to climb. We took about a 2 mile hike on it but that's nothing. He visited this area in the 70's with his friend, Bob Kale, in the 70's and was trying to remember where they had gone in comparison to today. He will need to do this without me!
We were driving back from our trip across Trail Ridge Road, RMNP, and saw people stopped along the road looking at something. This time it was 3 elk bulls eating in the Timber Creek Campground. This is a national campground which has no hook-ups. People were extremely close to them taking pictures. There was a female and her baby near by so Duke didn't go near her.
A note I forgot to write earlier - when we left Estes Park it was 82 degrees; going towards Forest Canyon overlook it was 64 then 61 degrees; at the Vista Center it was 63 degrees. At the bottom of the mountains near Grand Lake, it was 77 degrees. There were people riding in open jeeps from Estes Park, probably freezing their buns off - LOL!
We drove the entire Trail Ridge Road from Grand Lake to Estes Park (48 miles one way) both ways today. One view after another was just spectacular. Some parts of the road made us a little nervous as there are no guard rails and it's a long way down!! This picture is at the Alpine Visitor's Center, 12,000' elevation. We had to walk up 224 steps to get to the top where this picture was taken.
Prior to reaching this, we stopped at the Continental Divide Milner Pass, Elevation 10,759'.
We have decided we are definitely coming back to Colorado!!
We were off the Trail Ridge Road and driving into Estes Park which is the eastern side of Rocky Mountain National Park. We weren't quite in town yet but in a residential area when traffic came to a stop. When traffic stops, it usually means there's animals near by. This time it was for 2 bears up off the road walking. Our first bears of the trip.
During our hike going towards the midway point along the Colorado River, we saw a moose laying in the tall grass under a tree. It didn't really pay us much mind. When we were leaving the river at the midway point, we saw 2 elk grazing near the trail. They didn't seem to mind us being there even after Duke whistled to get them to raise their heads so he could take their picture. On the way back we came to the spot where the moose had been. It (not sure of the gender) was standing up and eating. We made eye contact and it must not have liked that as it started following us. Needless to say, we really picked up the pace of our hike! It was a little bit till both of our hearts weren't racing.
Photo of Falls.
Our day started with the temperature in the camper being 46 degrees again. Turned on the heat for about an hour.
I fixed breakfast of eggs and bacon and we were walking out of the camper to sit at the picnic table when we noticed a very large moose about 50 feet from us. We waited until it moved a bit further away from our campsite. Awesome sight!
We decided to take it easy today hiking to give my muscles a rest so we went on a short hike at the Adams Falls Trail just outside of Grand Lake. We got there around 10:00 am and it was already pretty busy with tourists. Nice little hike and a pretty waterfall. Pictures will be posted later - on digital camera.
Walked around town and bought a few things and then went back to campsite. Duke decided to do a bike ride. Think he said he went around 14 miles on the Trail Ridge Road.
Am now in the TV/Rec room getting up-to-date on my postings. Tomorrow will be a long driving day - about 8-9 hours to go to Jackson Hole, WY.
Finally arrived in Jackson, WY. The last portion of the drive had great views of the Wind River Range and then the Tetons. Jackson is at 6209' elevation. Really nice town and I can't wait to walk aronnd it. We went checked into our camp ground, Jackson Hole Campground, and got set up. We have a magpie that seems to like our site. Beautiful bird.
Then went into Jackson to get groceries. Was expecting outrageous prices but they were comparable to home. Went to K-Mart to purchase another blanket as the temperature for the morning is predicted for 29 degrees.
Took the long way back to the campground to do a little sightseeing and Duke took this picture of the Tetons on the same road as the campground is located, but about 5 miles away. Can't wait to check it all out in the morning!
The first part of Wyoming we drove through (sorry don't know my geography very well) was relatively flat with an occasional ranch. Lots of cattle grazing in open land. Seemed kind of desolate to me. Would not want to live there. I couldn't get over the speed limits - anywhere from 65 to 80 mph. I think the fastest we could go with the camper was 75 and that was fast enough for me.
Stopped at a marker that talked about the Oregon Trail. Was at Sand Springs. In the attached picture you can actually see the trail.
Today was a long travel day - approximately 9 hours. It was 37 degrees outside when we left at 5:50 am. Right after we left Grand Lake, Duke took this picture of Lake Granby. Just beautiful!
Decided not to take the Trail Ridge Road through the Rocky Mountains. Took Route 125 N through the Arapaho National Forest and Routt National Forest. Passed very few cars. These national forests (and I'm sure many others) have "access" roads/sites. We saw many campers "boondocking" along the river.
Boondocking is when you have no hook-ups. We hope to do some of that in Canada and Alaska. You can find awesome places to camp and you don't have to pay for it.
We went over another Continental Divide point - this time at Willow Creek Pass, 9673' in elevation.
Saw lots of prairie dogs, prong horn antelopes and magpies.
While driving to Jenny Lake, we had wet snowflakes coming down. Temperature was 55 degrees. Jenny Lake was beautiful. I know I keep saying that of everything, but it's true!
We woke up today with it being 50 degrees in the camper and 40 degrees outside. It was overcast so we decided to drive through the park.
Had to take my laptop into a computer repair store as it was losing time and date. Thought it was cmos battery. We'll see.
We stopped at the Teton Fault which includes the Cathedral Group. Included are Teewinot (12,325'), Grand Teton (13,770'), and Mt. Owen (12,928').
We were on our way back to the campsite when we saw a lot of people on the side of the road which means wildlife. They were all looking at several buffalo. We got out and took some pictures of them. Hadn't seen any other wildlife that day.
Before we saw the buffalo, we had stopped at Colter Bay Campground. The part that had utilities was completely full. We had wanted to camp there but waited too long to make reservations. They start taking them in January. Had a nice gift shop/grocery store but prices were a bit high.
At the end of the day, the mileage from Dillsburg to our campground was 2,395.8 miles.
We saw a side road called Summit Overlook and decided to take it. We went up 4 miles to the top of that mountain and saw the Snake River, wildflowers, the valley below and from another view, the Tetons.
The tram took us up to the higher mountain where skiers could take a double black diamond trail plus other ones. Elevation was 10,450'. Very windy and 36 degrees.
In 1976, Duke had been to the Tetons with his friend, Bob Kale. They stopped and took a picture of themselves in front of the Grand Teton. We decided to take a picture of us too at the same place.
Went into Jackson to check out the town which has some really nice shops, etc. Someone took our picture in front of the Antler Arch for us.
Found out that my laptop that I thought only needed a cmos battery actually needed a whole system battery. $90 plus it had to be ordered and trucked to the store. As we are leaving for West Yellowstone tomorrow, that wasn't an option. Bought another laptop and had everything transferred over.
When we got up this morning it was 45 degrees in the camper, pretty much the norm it seems. Takes about 2 ½ hours to get to West Yellowstone. Leaving Jackson Hole, the road first took us up a mountain with a 10% grade. The tundra did good!
We entered into Idaho with a view of the other side of the Tetons. The road following were mostly fields and more fields and not many houses.
Arrived at Grizzly Yellowstone Campground in West Yellowstone and set up. Very nice. Would definitely stay here again.
Better picture of bull elk on road.
Woke up to 45 degrees in camper this morning. Fortunately, the heater does a great job of heating it up quickly.
Entered the Yellowstone park at 8:15 am. Already there were vehicles waiting in line to enter. Took us about 10 minutes to get to entrance. We did what I would consider the “lower loop”. Madison to Norris to Canyon Village to Fishing Bridge to West Thumb to Old faithful back to Madison where we entered.
Saw several coyotes with two of them walking in the road. Duke took picture of one of them from the truck window, about 8' away in the other lane. Also saw mule deer, buffalo, bulk elk and a red squirrel
After visiting campus, went to REI store to walk around. Were going to boondock at Walmart but decided to go to Flying J truck stop instead. Duke backed us into a site where the back looked toward the mountains. As you can see from the photo he took, great choice of spot.
Today we drove to Missoula, MT where Michelle attended the University of Montana in 1974. It was 34 degrees outside and 45 degrees inside when Michelle woke up at 6:30 am. Started packing up at 9:30 am in the rain and when we left at 10:00 am, it stopped.
Beautiful drive from West Yellowstone. Saw a bald eagle nest with her in it on top of a power pole. Unfortunately, going too fast to get a picture. Also noticed that the exits and entrances of Rte. 90 have cattle grates in the roadway entrances and exits to keep the cattle from going onto the highway.
Arrived in Missoula to 72 degree weather. Duke climbed the backdrop mountain to campus. 690' up. After that we toured the campus and bookstore. Only recognized a few buildings.
Drove along Flat Head Lake in Polson, MT. We drove 21 miles along the Rte. 35 side so you can image how large it is. Saw lots of small fruit orchards, mainly in front of homes. Think they were cherry trees as we saw two roadside stands selling them. 57 degrees.
We left Flying J Truck Stop and headed towards West Glacier National Park. Didn't leave till 11:00 am because of rain. Scenery was tough to enjoy because of the cloud cover.
We were traveling through an Indian Reservation on Rte. 93 and saw signs to different creeks and rivers, etc. that had both English and Indian names on them.
The road only goes in 16 miles as they are still blowing snow off the road past that. We hiked the Trail of the Cedars trail. Begain with a wooden walkway through very tall trees and ended with what I thought was a rough concrete trail. As it was raining pretty good still, we went back to campground.
Arrived at Glacier Campground, West Glacier, MT. 59 degrees – and this is the middle of June? Decided to go drive the Going-To-The-Sun Road – still raining a bit. Drove by Lake McDonald which was formed from a glacier melting 10,000 years ago. Depth is 472'.
Went to Hungry Horse Assembly God of church in morning. Great little church with very friendly people.
With no rain, we went back into Glacier National Park to try and do a little hiking. At the end of where we could drive, there was the Avalanche Pass Trail which we wanted to hike. A ranger was directing people to turn left off the Road to the Sun (back parking lot was full) to try and find something in alternative parking lots. We weren't fortunate enough to find a spot. We started back and decided to stop and take some pictures at the pull offs, and to see if there was any parking available at any of the other trail heads (there wasn't). A very frustrating time. A man in the camp site next to ours said that he had talked to a local who reported that in two weeks the roads going to Glacier would be bumper to bumper. The local said there were weeks when he wouldn't even venture from home because of the traffic.
Took some pictures of the mountains and water on the way back and then back to the campground.
Rain when we woke up again today. We decided to take a drive down Rte. 2 East to look for a hike to do, even in the rain. We drove for 27 miles and only found one trail to hike but we would have needed our rain pants and gaters and didn't have either with us. Just went back to camp site.
We are heading back home. My (Michelle) father had fallen 3 times shortly after we left for our trip. My sister and daughter didn't want us to know but it came out. He went to the hospital and then rehab. He was diagnosed as needing skilled care (nursing home) but wants to come home. Duke and I decided that we need to be home to help my mom as my sister works in her husband's chiropractic office and shouldn't be shouldering all this herself. Our daughter and son-in-law have been helping as well but they have 5 children, 10 and under.
God is first and family comes next. There is a lot to do with his care and paperwork should he have to go to a nursing home. My mom will also need to move.
Next year, our plans right now are to continue our trip where we left off yesterday. The trip has been awesome so far and God has blessed us with it.