Grand Prismatic

Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone, Wyoming, U.S.A

The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park is the largest hot spring in the United States, and the third largest in the world, after Frying Pan Lake in New Zealand and Boiling Lake in Dominica. It is located in the Midway Geyser Basin. (Wikipedia)

While the Old Faithful geyser may be more famous, the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring is the most photographed thermal feature in Yellowstone. It has unique colors combined with its own steam clouds over a large area.

What Makes the Grand Prismatic so Grand?

Deeper than a 10-Story Building
Extremely hot water travels 121 feet from a crack in the Earth to reach the surface of the spring.

Football Field on Steroids
The third largest spring in the world, the Grand Prismatic is bigger than a football field at 370 feet in diameter. A gridiron is 360 feet long and 160 feet wide.

Rainbow of Colors
The hot spring has bright bands of orange, yellow, and green ring the deep blue waters in the spring. The multicolored layers get their hues from different species of thermophile (heat-loving) bacteria living in the progressively cooler water around the spring. And the deep blue center? That’s because water scatters the blue wavelengths of light more than others, reflecting blues back to our eyes.

A Living Thermometer
What living thing in Yellowstone has helped investigators solve crimes and NASA search for extraterrestrial life on seemingly inhospitable planets? Heat-loving microbes living in the Yellowstone’s thermal pools. In 1968, researcher Thomas Brock discovered a microbe living in one of Yellowstone’s extremely hot springs. In the years since, research on Yellowstone’s microbes has led to major medical and scientific advances, including the sequencing of the entire human genome.  Check out yellowstonepark.com for more information and images.  https://www.yellowstonepark.com/things-to-do/grand-prismatic-midway-geyser-basin

Below is a neat YouTube video that provides an elevated view of the spring.

AMAZING PLACES ON OUR PLANET
The Beauty of Our World Without Words
by Milosh Kitchovitch

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Ranchers and Jackson Hole

Cabin on Mormon Row, Grand Teton National Park

I wondered what type of ranches developed in Wyoming even before the Grand Teton National Park was established in the early 1900s.  Upon research, it is interesting how people traveled from the eastern side of the U.S. to explore and settle in the western U.S. 

Barn on Mormon Row, Grand Teton National Park

Land Opportunity

The Homestead Act of 1862 established by President Abraham Lincoln was apparently a key piece of legislation that would entice easterners to move west. 

Historical barns with newer ranch house on Mormon Row, Grand Teton National Park

The Homestead act created a public land management system that allowed individuals traveling to the west to acquire land for free.  Sign me up, right?  However, the land no doubt was taken years ago. 

Cabin on Mormon Row, Grand Teton National Park

A homesteader was an individual 21 years of age or older, the head of a household and someone who had never taken up arms against the U.S. government.  When the act was signed, the U.S. had just finished its first year following the end of the Civil War. 

Homesteaders were individuals who used legal means to acquire virtually free ownership of their land.  https://jacksonholehistory.org/homesteading-in-jackson-hole/

Historical ranch house on Snake River at Grand Teton National Park

It appears Jackson Hole, Wyoming, was a central location that supported ranchers throughout the Teton Range, including the establishment of “dude ranches.”  For instance, experienced dudes, Struthers Burt and Dr. Horace Carncross opened Jackson Hole’s second dude ranch in 1912, the Bar BC Ranch. Burt described dude ranching as cattle ranching modified to care for “dudes”—visitors willing to pay handsomely for a quaint cowboy experience.

Wanna-be Ranchers

During its peak years, as many as 50 dudes could stay at a monthly rate of $300 each. These rustic destinations copied the layout of working cattle ranches. Only six dudes stayed the first summer, but the Bar BC soon became Jackson Hole’s most famous dude ranch. More information and images are also located at https://www.nps.gov/grte/learn/historyculture/bcran.htm and https://jacksonholehistory.org/sky-ranch/.

Additional images of the Teton history may be viewed at  https://www.nps.gov/media/photo/gallery.htm?pg=1952309&id=FCF8CFA1-155D-451F-67A5268A72280213.

Historical ranch barns remain on Mormon Row, Grand Teton National park

Mormons Build Community

In addition to those traveling from the east to establish land ownership, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, sent parties from the Salt Lake Valley to establish new communities and support their expanding population.

Historical barn on Mormon Row, Grand Teton National Park

Mormon homesteaders, who settled east of Blacktail Butte near the turn of the 19-century, clustered their farms to share labor and community, a stark contrast with the isolation typical of many western homesteads. These settlers first arrived in the 1890s from Idaho establishing a community (named Grovont by the U.S. Post Office), and known today as “Mormon Row.” https://www.nps.gov/grte/learn/historyculture/mormon.htm

Mormon Row At Grand Teton National Park

The area surrounding Jackson Hole still reminds travelers of the western life and the open terrain of the Teton Range.  When we visited the town of Jackson, it had the feel of a tourist attraction with many shops and restaurants.  It is a nice place to shop and explore though, and it still has a lot of history to examine. 

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Watch out for Mama Bear

Grizzly and her cub along U.S. 26/287 in Shoshone National Forest

Seeing a Grizzly beside U.S. 26/287 was a big surprise as we traveled from Dubois, Wyoming toward Grand Teton National Park.  We enjoyed the ride through the Shoshone National Forest, Togwotee Mountain, Bridger-Teton National Forest, past Lava Mountain,  another crossing of the continental divide, and finally entering the Grand Teton National Park. 

Electronic and posted signs warn humans when bear, moose or elk are near the highway. Actually, expect to see them at any time. You never know.

We hoped to see Grizzly bears, from a safe environment, and just happened to drive slowly by the mother and her cub.   Occupants in the vehicles that began stopping stayed inside their protective cages.  That’s a good thing.  These are the wildlife you wouldn’t walk up to and pet – even if we desire it. Everyone is cautioned to not become friendly with all wildlife. That’s why they are called “wild.”

I never suspected that this encounter with the Grizzly would be the only sight of one during our time in Wyoming. 

Dash cam view of Shoshone National Forest

The drive toward Grand Teton was exquisite and fun.  I really appreciate the Shoshone National Forest that showcased its beauty as much as its ruggedness.  The forest offers superb scenery and endless recreational opportunities! It was set aside in 1891 as part of the Yellowstone Timberland Reserve, making the Shoshone the first national forest in the United States.

The forest has 2.4 million acres of varied terrain ranging from sagebrush flats to rugged mountains. The higher mountains are snow-clad most of the year.

Immense areas of exposed rock are interspersed with meadows and forests. With Yellowstone National Park on its western border, the Shoshone encompasses the area from the Montana state line south to Lander, Wyoming, and includes portions of the Absaroka, Wind River and Beartooth Mountains.   https://www.fs.usda.gov/shoshone/

Grand Teton National Park view from Togwotee Mountain

I could readily notice the escalating splendor as we approached the Grand Teton.  I’ll highlight this spectacular place in the next few posts. 

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Travel eats

The Cowboy Cafe is a welcome spot in downtown Dubois, Wyoming

One of the challenges in traveling distances is scheduling places to eat, especially when one is trying to cover some ground while driving hundreds of miles.  What’s a person to do? 

I don’t necessary want fast food, nor do I want to spend much time in a sit-down restaurant with servers.  I enjoy protein bars, fruit, or plain snacks to intervene when I begin having slight hunger urges.  Sometimes though, I snack too much just to compensate for the boredom and driving fatigue. 

Ideally, I don’t like to travel more than four to six hours a day.  That provides time for me to not rush, locate eateries and maybe take a side road somewhere, trying to find that little nugget of awesomeness. 

We ate at a few restaurants while staying a a number of days in Dubois, Wyoming.  That was nice and relaxing.  Two of my favorite places are Cowboy Café and Lone Buffalo Steak House.  They have outstanding food, excellent service with a friendly smile and the western feel.    

Cowboy Café is more of a quaint place and sometimes one gets to sit a little closer to neighbors.  That’s okay.  Everyone is friendly. Plus, there was a really neat Water Wheel Gift Shop next door that had unique items at a good value.

One of our interesting conversations occurred while sitting with three young men from Texas.  They had been hiking and camping in the mountains and were having their last meal in Dubois while heading back home.  They had an almost-close encounter with a grizzly bear when they found themselves between the mother and her cub.  That’s not good.

The polite young men said they had never been so scared before.  They had their bear spray but decided to quietly back away, before using the spray.  Apparently, the mother bear had not seen them (since their eyesight isn’t very good) and had not received their scent.  They were very happy to remove themselves from that environment. 

The Lone Buffalo Steak House, across the street from the Cowboy Café, was new since the building was recently renovated.  The dining area is spacious. and the atmosphere is inviting, as well as the food.  Their steak is some of the best I’ve eaten.  It’s worth a stop if you go through Dubois. 

Now to the fitness center, right?

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Dubois

The Dubois, Wyoming Horse Creek Station reminds one of a place to hitch a horse still today

Dubois — say it like “cowboys.” It’s one of the last real, old West towns — a charming hidden gem with the authentic feel of the frontier. Expedia calls Dubois the best place for an escape in Wyoming.

Barely an hour from Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park over a smooth, scenic highway, it’s peaceful here in the Wind River Valley. But there are so many things to do! https://duboiswyoming.org/

Dubois is touted as the one real western town located in the crossroads of the original American West. Here migration routes of early Native Americans forged the trails, later followed by mountain men and explorers. Homesteaders and cowboys mingled here.

Loggers hand-cut the ties for railroads that joined the nation. It is one of the best, real cowboy towns still around. Cowboys drive cattle here and compete in the Dubois rodeo. (Dubois website)

Wood plank walkway in Dubois, Wyoming

As I walked along on the wooden plank walkways, I thought of the old western movies when you would hear the cowboy (or cowgirl) boots striking the planks with an echo in each step.  Dubois provides an excellent feel of the old West, and yet with some modern-day food arrangements; although local eateries and lodging facilities are not national name brands.

Wooden structures still display the frontier spirit if Dubois. Artists become very creative such as the moose antler carvings at the Horse Creek Art Gallery.

Now, I’m glad the roads are paved; however, if they were still dirt then it would sure be interesting. I definitely would need my all-wheel drive there and be able to do more dirt exploring. Jesssayin’ as a friend says.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Sun resemblance, Badlands

Cut tree makes one think of the sun?

Don’t forget the simple things when you happen to drive by. This cut tree trunk instantly reminded be of the sun with associated rays expanding around it’s circumference.

Cut tree trunk beside old bridge in Dubois, Wyoming
Old bridge over Wind River in Dubois, Wyoming

Hidden beauty beyond the bridge

The red rock of the Badlands on one side of Dubois, Wyoming are amazing. The saying is that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid traveled these mountains and stated these are some bad lands.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Majestically simple

View of Badlands, Rockies, deer grazing at Dubois, Wyoming

As I pause to reflect back on this image, my first thoughts were – Wow! How majestic are the snow-capped mountains, red rock mixed with gray, brown and white, showing years-and-years of strife. 

Puffy clouds dance gracefully between the endless sky and the one who would behold.  Deer mingle in the open, among the grace, enjoying the growth of sun and rain, living peacefully on the land. 

Inhabitants move about – lives sheltered in wood or stone, some in the open plain; maybe they observe like we do, maybe they don’t. 

How majestic can majestically be?  How simple can simplicity be?  It’s up to us to decide – first we have to see. 

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Dubois arrival

Respite along the trail, The Longhorn Ranch cabins are a welcomed sight. A base from which to travel, Over here, there – mostly while there is light.

Traveled over the Rockies, Reach Teton and Yellowstone, Daily commute, snow-capped peaks, grizzly with cub, Buffalo, and many more before we’re done. 

Traveled to hearts content, Camera in hand; Take a deep breath, behold the beauty, Trying not to hurry, seeing God’s great land.

For now, the journey westward complete, It’s rest for the mind, Interpreting, writing, sharing my journey, Don’t want to leave anyone behind.

I realized I couldn’t keep up with the posts while traveling since there is so much to share.  I’m now home in Florida – safely and thankfully.  We will continue the journey – virtually – recalling our days and sights. 

I’m glad you are still with me as we recap Teton, Yellowstone, Deadwood, Mount Rushmore and more.  It will take some time. 

Do you enjoy the little pieces of the journey along the way or do you prefer longer posts?

We stayed a number of nights at The Longhorn Ranch Resort in Dubois, Wyoming, a natural, western-style lodging.  It was a distance to travel each day to see Teton and Yellowstone.  Below are more images of our approach to stay in Dubois, and our lodging. The area was very relaxing and enjoyable. 

Travel toward Dubois, Wyoming.

Dubois, Wyoming and The Longhorn Ranch Resort tout their locations as a gateway to Jackson, Teton and Yellowstone in Wyoming.    “You are in for a vacation to remember at the Longhorn Ranch Resort – Formerly the home of a small longhorn cattle herd, and now a beautiful RV Park, Campground and Hotel facility located in Dubois Wyoming, along the scenic Togwotee Trail to Yellowstone. Whether you choose to stay in our comfortable hotel rooms, one of our cozy cabins, or bring your own RV with you, you will always feel welcome here.  Located just three miles east of Downtown Dubois, Wyoming and a perfect home-base for your trips to Jackson Hole, Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park!  Dubois and The Longhorn Ranch Resort will be the best stop on your Northwest Wyoming National Park tour!” http://www.thelonghornranch.com/

The Wind River’s headwaters are at Wind River Lake in the Rocky Mountains, near the summit of Togwotee Pass (pronounced toe-go-tee).  It gathers water from several forks along the northeast side of the Wind River Range in west central Wyoming. It flows southeastward, across the Wind River Basin and the Wind River Indian Reservation.  Wikipedia

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Enjoy the journey

Snow-capped mountains near the Grand Tetons from afar

So, you can’t wait to finish the journey,

Your travels bear down and create the stress,

Keep aware of life all around without worry,

Realize what we have and how we are blessed.

Clouds cap the Wyoming mountains and the lake reflects the light

The clouds along the way, always with sun above,

The snow so lovely like icing on a cake;

Yet so cold but warms the heart,

When we realize the beauty – it’s real and not fake.

Small mountains, prairies, rock, trees and lakes are part of Wyoming’s landscape

Thank you for going along on our journey through Wyoming and eventually in South Dakota.

Blessings and love along the Way!

Ron

Aged or broken

Aged structures still adorn the Wyoming landscape

The lively abode was useful, once upon a time;

What happened, did it just collapse from years of struggle?

Did the cold, snow, sun, wind take their toll?

Maybe no one will know. 

The remains stand the course of time,

Awaiting the one to take an interest, to resurrect.

But do we just pass it by,

Saying it’s no use, it served it purpose, let it rest?

It is a reminder though, to each passer-by

The beauty of what was, and is and will be,

Remain, until the time it collapses, or maybe abide.

Horse, old truck, new truck along Wyoming’s landscape

The horse, the rust from what was, the new,

Exist as reminders of past, present and future.

Is one more important than the other?

They stand the test of time, waiting for the day,

For someone to decide, you remain worthy, serve as you may.

Ranch along the Wyoming landscape

Blessings along the Way!

Ron