Yellowstone holiday advice sought

Started Mar 25, 2012 | Discussions thread
tex
tex
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2 weeks is ultra tight for this itinerary
In reply to IKB, Mar 28, 2012

I have family out in Jackson Hole and have visited there many times in the last 20 odd years.

This area you're talking about is vast. Just getting from place to place is going to chew up 4 days, and then there's the time transiting in and out of the airport, car rental, etc, so let's say 5 days. It is utterly unlike the Alps---Teton NP being the most Alps-like. By comparison, the Alps can be quite compact, and it's all vertical. In the US west and Rockies what you get is---- s---p---a---c---e----, in a remarkable way. Things you think are 5 or 10 miles away turn out to be 60 (or more!).

August is high season. Traveling around Teton NP won't be so bad (it's underutilized in some ways, by NP standards), but it still takes time to get around. And there's a ton to see just in this park and its immediate environs outside the park, some of which is fabulous and off the beaten track, so not very crowded. A lot of people are just transiting through on their way to YNP.

Glacier is spectacular, but more so if you can get off the roads. It is about as crowded as Teton NP, but has worse choke points imo. It's a long way north, as has been pointed out above. And it too is big.

Yellowstone is huge. But the crowds here in high season are intense. If you can't hike, you'll be with them all. And then there's the roads inside the park. First of all, they are all 2 lane, 1 one way and 1 the other. Passing is often difficult or impossible. The speed limits are low---and enforced! Add in all the crowds, and you have central London style traffic at times, at least in terms of movement. Add one final thing: the winters are harsh, and the road traffic intense, making for the need for a lot of repair work---which can only be viably done after the thaw, which in YNP could mean May.

So, in YNP, a drive that looks like it might only take a couple of hours might be double that easily, and at worst triple. The only thing you can do about this is get the earliest starts possible. And the area is so big and varies so much from north to south and east to west that you will need to move around.

As far as your kit, bring whatever you can. You've been dreaming of this trip a long time---what a shame to do it and then be missing a piece of kit. In YNP the animals can often be very close, so oddly super long lenses are often not necessary (except for the birds and maybe some bears). Resist any and all temptations to approach these animals on foot, however. The Park Service is not kidding when they talk about keeping a safe distance. They'll seem very calm one second, and then for no apparent reason they'll spook or become aggressive and charge you---you will not outrun them. And in Grizzly country---the areas around Teton NP, parts of YNP, all the surrounding national forests, and in Glacier---the one thing to remember is that you are no longer at the top of the food chain. 'Nuff said.

In Teton NP Longer lenses are much more helpful, especially for antelope if you get to see them (get out to the "flats"). Glacier's a mixed bag, sometimes the animals are right there, sometimes a good distance away.

Good luck.
--
tex_andrews

"Photography is the product of complete alienation" Marcel Proust

"I would like to see photography make people despise painting until something else will make photography unbearable." Marcel Duchamp

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