|North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park|
I just got back from a week in Wyoming, first at Grand Teton National Park for a couple of days, and the next five at Yellowstone National Park. As this was a family vacation (including my dad), I didn't get to do nearly as much running as I normally would've. But I wasn't about to pass up the opportunity to get in some miles in national parks!
First, we stayed at Colter Bay Village in Grand Teton, which sits at 6800 feet above sea level. Between flying from the Pacific Northwest to having to ride the shuttle into Jackson Hole to pick our rental car to taking the scenic way into the park, it was well into the evening when I had a free moment, and the possibility of encountering a bear was enough to deter me from trying to run. I guess I could've run with bear spray (we bought a cannister) but I forgot to bring a headlamp. Instead, I did some easy bodyweight exercises: squats, lunges, and push-ups.
The next morning, I got up early and went for a short run. It seemed cool enough that I put on my Brooks lightweight running shell, but in retrospect, I didn't need it. I felt adventurous enough that I didn't stay in the camp village; I had, after all, come prepared with trail running shoes. I quickly discovered that the combination of hills and high altitude make for tough conditions! I was, however, rewarded with fantastic views of the geography, including this picture that I captured of part of Jackson Lake.
|A view from the trails around Colter Bay, Grand Teton Nat'l Park.|
I managed 4.4 miles at just under a 9:30 pace and decided to call it a day. Those squats from the night before made themselves known! Plus I knew that we were going on a 3-mile ranger-led hike that afternoon.
|An elk having breakfast just as we headed toward our breakfast.|
After two days in Grand Teton, we moved on to Yellowstone. (Just in time, as it turned out: maybe a couple of hours after we crossed parks, a tour bus flipped on the road and shut both lanes of the John D. Rockefeller Memorial Highway, which links the parks. The visitor center at Grant Village, where we were staying, was crowded with stranded travelers whose options were (1) wait for the road to re-open; or (2) take a 4 1/2 hour detour through Idaho!)
|Female elk welcoming us to Grant Village|
While the kids and my dad sat down for a game of Monopoly Deal and my wife organized, etc., I went "exploring" the area. Remember how Colter Bay is at an altitude of 6800 feet? Well, Grant Village is about a thousand feet higher! Plus, instead of its being in the morning, this was mid-afternoon. I had Columbia Sportswear Omni-Freeze gear (visor and tech shirt) with me, but it was still kind of brutal, except in the shade.
|I'm a sucker for running across suspension bridges|
Of course, no visit to Yellowstone is complete without seeing the thermal activity-driven springs:
|Thar she blows!|
|Doe and calf welcoming us to Canyon Village|
It's called Canyon Village because it's right by the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Again, while everyone else played Monopoly Deal, I went exploring (although my run ended up being so short that I was able to shower and still have to wait to get in on a second game). Why is it the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone? Take a look:
|I'm not a big fan of heights, so I stayed far from the edge of the trail|
Anyway, coming back to the camp village, I saw this bison on the road in front of me:
|This dude lives around here apparently|
|We wouldn't have spotted him at all but for the crowd of people staring at him|
|Lucky shot, catching the sheep looking straight at the camera|
We spent our last night in Gardiner, which is actually in Montana. (Yellowstone is nearly all in Wyoming, but little strips of it are located in Montana and Idaho.) I hadn't run in two days, although we'd done hiking most days of the trip, so I got up at 6:30 a.m. local time and ran 5.8 miles all around town. Considering that the town has a population of well under a thousand, 5.8 miles was enough to see just about everything Gardiner had to offer.
All in all, it was a reasonably productive trip from the running standpoint. I didn't get nearly as many miles in as I normally would, but did get to see lots of cool stuff, and plus, I've now added Wyoming and Montana to the list of states I've gone running in. (The full list is now Alaska*, California, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Nebraska, Oregon, Washington, and as a bonus, British Columbia.)
* This was on a cruise ship in the inside passage, which is technically Alaska, but I suppose I should keep the asterisk until I run on the land.