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From June 26 - July 5, 2012 we visited Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks. Our trip took us into 3 states, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. We were on mountain passes at 8859 feet above sea level. We crossed back and forth over the continental divide. Beautiful scenery, fascinating geology and abundant wildlife was everywhere. The Tetons Mountains are breathtaking. They rise up majestically from a very flat plain making for a very dramatic setting. Schwabacher's Landing and Phelps Lake were my favorite places and the Rockefeller Preserve is not to be missed.

Yellowstone is much larger and so diverse in the landscapes, geology, and wildlife that it's almost overwhelming. There is so much to explore there at every time of the day. The crowds can be overwhelming, too but we found getting up early and being in the park by 6:30 am meant we had most of the spots to ourselves and some very nice light and crisp air - fantastic! By the time everyone else flooded the roads, turnouts, geysers and hot springs we were ready for lunch and headed back to the lodge.

Along with the animals pictured here, we saw black-billed magpies, osprey, mountain and western bluebirds, white pelicans, spoonbill cranes, mountain tanagers, and a bear (sorry, he lumbered off before I could get a photo of anything but his behind!). We heard coyotes howling in the distance, too.
The wildflowers are just coming into bloom. We saw wild geranium, fireweed, arrowleaf balsamroot, heartleaf arnica, columbine, and many more! With all the flowers there were butterflies - little blue ones, tiny orange and black ones, a larger black and white variety, and numerous yellow & black tiger swallowtails.

Our country is so beautiful and diverse. Our National Parks are a treasure we should protect. To think they were almost closed to help "balance the national budget" is unfathomable.
One of the wildfires burning in SW Wyoming as we flew into Jackson on June 26th. (taken with my iPhone)Schwabacher Landing - Grand Teton National ParkPrairie Dogs?Wildlife at the Snake River Bendnear Snake River OverlookProng-horned sheepHomesteadPhelps Lake - on the LSR PreservePhelps LakeA Meditation on Phelps LakePhelps Lake OutletPhelps Lake Outlet on the Rockefeller PreserveRockefeller Preserve Center