Finally, the Spring 2018 semester is over!
I can’t believe how busy this past semester was with starting my thesis track in my major and serving on the executive board of our chapter at TSU of Alpha Phi Omega. To celebrate the successful culmination of the academic year, several of my friends decided to take a road trip Yellowstone and Teton National Park before going our separate ways for the summer.
Since Yellowstone is over one thousand miles from our college town, we had to break up our trip into smaller adventures. Our first day involved driving to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and exploring the historic pioneer town. Visiting the Big Boy Steam Engine was our first stop in Cheyenne. The steam engine was built to pull trains from Cheyenne to Utah through steep mountain grades. Big Boy was, unfortunately, undergoing reconstruction and was covered in a tarp, so we were unable to adequately see the locomotive. However, the site of Big Boy included little blurbs that gave us some cool facts about steam locomotives. One of my friends was particularly interested in trains, so she loved this portion of our trip.
Our next stop in Cheyenne was to the Cheyenne Depot Museum, and to the downtown region itself. For some reason, the four of us thought that Cheyenne was a bustling metropolis with lively shops. Much to our surprise, we found only one shop, The Wrangler, to actually be open––possibly because it was a Sunday? The Wrangler sells western apparel and decor. We were fascinated by the sheer amount of cowboy boots and hats sold in one place!
The next day, we woke up wildly early to catch a train that would take us into Colorado to see (and feed!) bison at Terry’s Bison Ranch. This was absolutely my favorite part of the trip! We met two bison, Dave (top) and Gene (middle). Dave and Gene love when tourists come on the train to visit them because the visitors feed them cake (the pellets in the bottom photo). Our train conductor and tour guide gave us a ton of bison facts, including how to identify the two male bison on the ranch. Identification of the two bison is easiest when they’re eating. For example, Gene primarily uses his tongue to grab the cake (and sort of looks like Gene Simmons from KISS in the process), while Dave just opens his mouth and hopes that the visitors will shovel the cake into his open mouth. Rivetting, I know. Beyond going on the bison tour at Terry’s, we continued our drive to Jackson, Wyoming, where we stayed for the next two nights.
To say that I loved Jackson would be an understatement. The small town was filled to the brim with adorable boutiques, cafes, and shops, which were all surrounded by the picturesque Teton mountains. We went to Persephone’s Bakery for breakfast, and I had a chocolate croissant and an iced coffee. Eating the croissant was a surreal experience because it was just so tasty. Eventually, we had to leave Persephone’s and head toward the Tetons and Yellowstone.
My favorite spot in Teton National Park was Jenny Lake. The lake itself was backdropped by gorgeous mountain views that could be seen from the many hiking trails that surround the lake. We didn’t have time to fully hike a trail, but we did walk around a bit so we could fully take the scenery in before we continued driving to Yellowstone.
The closer we got to Yellowstone National Park the more snow that we started to see on the sides of the road. Even though it was May, I guess it hadn’t been warm enough for the snow to melt in its entirety yet. In Missouri, we don’t get anywhere near that much snow so my brain was constantly like dang, that’s so much snow over and over again. As we got closer to Old Faithful and the Grand Prismatic Pool the snow disappeared and was replaced by steam emerging from the ground. We waited around for Old Faithful to erupt, and it was cool, but I thought that the Prismatic Pool and the Paint Pots were far more interesting.