Yellowstone Tour (Day 5 of 7) : Freeloader Picnic and Elk Antlers (Grand Teton, Jackson Hole and Salt Lake City)

We were hoping that we were finally going to be able to sleep in this morning since we knew we would just be continuing our tour of Yellowstone National Park from the previous day, but Tim informed us that we had to be on the bus by 6:30am, as usual 😦  But unlike the previous mornings, we did not have to travel too far to get to our first location.

We spent about an hour on the bus before we arrived at our first stop.  On our way there I managed to take a photo of this beautiful sunrise 🙂

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We passed by lots of area with smoke coming from the ground – a sign that we were still in a highly geothermal area

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Foggy~ Ezra says it reminds her of a scene from Silent Hill

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There was a little bit of snow in some areas

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We stopped here for a quick bathroom break after an hour

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Snow~  It looks fresh and fluffy but it’s actually old snow.  Some parts were already dirty and melted.

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It still looks pretty though

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Our first stop that morning was the Yellowstone River, or more specifically, Yellowstone Falls. There are two falls that tourists usually come to see – the Upper Yellowstone Falls and the Lower Yellowstone Falls. Our tour took us to see the Lower Yellowstone Falls, which is the biggest one in the park.

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Check out those rocks. The French called this area “roche jaune”, which literally translates to “yellow stone”.

Some family photos at the falls:

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It was freezing but sunny at the same time. My body was very confused!

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We walked around a bit to take some more pictures and play with the snow, but we returned to the bus very quickly because it was extremely cold!  Some people even decided to stay in the bus because they didn’t want to face the cold.

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After this Tim took us to see more hot springs in the park.

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Ezra pretending to breathe out steam

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 It looks pretty in photos but it smelled horrible (because of the sulfur).

Next, we made our way over to Grand Teton National Park.  On our way there, we stopped along the road to take photos of this lake that was starting to freeze over:

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We found more dead trees in the area too:

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At Grand Teton National Park, we were welcomed by this little fella:

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So cute~

Grand Teton National Park is located in Wyoming (we were making our way back to our starting point).  Here you can see the major peaks of the Teton Range.  Just like Yellowstone Park, tourists enjoy going to Grand Teton National Park for hiking, camping, biking, and other outdoor activities.

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Beautiful snow capped peaks 🙂

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Our new friend followed us inside the park.  I think he liked all the attention he was getting.

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Looking handsome there little guy

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The Grand Teton Peak.

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(I removed some of the layers I was wearing because it started to get warm)

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IMG_5402a (5)After taking some photos, we got back on the bus and headed off to Jackson Hole, where we would be having lunch.

Jackson Hole is a small town in Wyoming, located near Grand Teton National Park.  It’s most famous for its Elk Antler Arches:

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Yep, those huge things are made out of hundreds of elk antlers

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Tourists from all over visit this small town to see these antler arches for themselves.

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Each arch is made of roughly about 2000 antlers, and they can weigh up to a total of 12000 pounds!

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There are four of them in the town square, one in each corner.

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If you’re wondering why animal activists haven’t shut the place down, it’s because no elks were harmed in the making of these arches. The elks shed their antlers each year and the people collect them from the ground.  You don’t have to worry about the arches collapsing because they’re reinforced and secured using steel. (It’s also a good way to prevent tourists from taking souvenirs.)

After taking some pictures with the arches, we walked around to look for a place to eat. In the middle of the park, we spotted what appeared to be a barbecue, so we figured that the people in town were selling them for the tourists. We got in line and asked for some hotdogs and burgers. But when it was time for us to pay, we were told that it was free!

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As it turned out, they weren’t selling the food. There was a town clean up that day and the residents were asked to help out. The volunteers get free food in exchange for their hard work.  Whoops~ No wonder the people gave us strange looks when we asked them for some hotdogs and burgers.  But they were very nice and understood that it was an honest mistake. When we apologized and explained that we didn’t know, they just laughed it off and told us they had plenty of food to share.  (And we later found out that we weren’t the only members of our tour group that made this mistake. We saw a few people from our group eating some hotdogs and burgers at the park too XD).  I told Ckloy this story later that evening when I called him and he laughed and said “Dumayo ka pa talaga ng ibang bansa para mamalimos XD” (translation : “You travelled all the way to another country to beg for food.”)

The weather was really nice that day so we decided to have our free meal in the park.

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It’s been a while since we had a nice meal in nature like this

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I had a hotdog while Ezra had a burger

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It felt really nice sitting out there in the grass, watching the people run around the park

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Of course my mom had to have her coconut water with her.  (She went with a different brand this time.)

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We also had some strawberries and candy apples left, which we had for dessert

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Thank you for feeding us, kind people of Jackson Hole

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And we’re truly sorry about the misunderstanding 🙂  But we’re very grateful to have experienced your generosity firsthand.

After our meal, we made sure to clean up after ourselves and leave the area spotless.  We got free food meant for people cleaning up the town, so we might as well do our share, right?  We had about 20 minutes left before we had to get back on our bus, so we enjoyed the lovely weather by exploring the park and some parts of the town.

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Soon it was time for us to get back on the bus, Tim told us to settle in because we had 5 hours of driving ahead of us, eeek.  Our next stop was Salt Lake City in Utah.

Naturally I passed the time again by listening to music and staring out the window.  Once again my view consisted of blue skies and empty fields:

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It is lovely, but after several days of this view, I was getting pretty bored of it.  So I was super excited to see this:

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Buildings and signs of urban civilization 😀

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Welcome to Salt Lake City 😀

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Salt Lake City is the capital of Utah, and it’s beautiful.  The buildings were gorgeous, the city was very clean and they even had a great transportation system.

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Look at the details on this building!

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Their light rail system called TRAX (Transit Express)

One of the things that Salt Lake City is most famous for is Temple Square, which houses The Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Supposedly it’s the biggest LDS temple, at least in terms of area, mainly because a large number of Salt Lake City’s population are Mormons. The temple/church is off limits to tourists, but we were free to take a look around inside the compound.  In fact, they had guides available to take you around and answer questions.

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Entrance to Temple Square

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These two lovely ladies were our guides:

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The tall thing behind them is the famous Seagull Monument

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A closer look of the top part

During the tour, our guides told us the story of how seagulls saved their city.  In the 1800’s, a plague of crickets (or some similar insect) came to Salt Lake City and started eating all of their crops.  The insects consumed so much of their crops that the people were worried that they would starve to death.  They didn’t know how to stop the insects or what else to do so they started to pray. Then, out of nowhere, seagulls started appearing and ate all the insects.  They would swallow the crickets then fly over to the Great Salt Lake and spit them back out there.  And they did this continuously until all the crickets were gone.  The people of Salt Lake City believe that these seagulls were a miracle sent to save them, and so they erected this monument to honor these birds.  All over town, you will find small monuments of these seagulls (more specifically the California Gull), which is now the state bird of Utah.

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IMG_5542This is the Salt Lake Temple.  Again, we weren’t allowed to go inside so we just admired it from afar.

Our guides also took us to see the North Visitors’ Center.  They had a map there which gives a brief history of Jerusalem

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There were also some beautiful paintings inside

As well as this amazing dome painted to look like the night sky

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It’s exquisite!

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Inside the dome, at the very top, is a replica of Christus, a famous statue of Jesus Christ.

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The original Christus is located in Denmark

Aside from monuments and churches, the Temple Square also houses a great variety of beautiful flowers

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I wish our garden at home looked like this!

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Look at all the beautiful colorsIMG_5613

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When you’re having a bad day, I imagine it must be quite therapeutic to walk around this garden surrounded by all these elegant flowers

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Rare picture of my dad and me together while we waited for the rest of our tour group

After our tour of Temple Square, it was time for us to head to our hotel for the night.  But first we made a quick stop for dinner.  Our bus dropped us off at another Chinese buffet with some fast food chains nearby, but we spotted this IHOP in the next block, so we decided to have our dinner there.

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IMG_5621Ezra and I had their strawberry pancakes.  Breakfast food for dinner, yumm~ 😀

Once we were done with our meals, Tim took us to our hotel to rest for the evening.  We have just one more day left in this tour (Day 7 is just our return trip back to Los Angeles), so we made sure to get plenty of rest to prepare us for the exciting things that awaited us the following morning 🙂

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7 thoughts on “Yellowstone Tour (Day 5 of 7) : Freeloader Picnic and Elk Antlers (Grand Teton, Jackson Hole and Salt Lake City)

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