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Yellowstone 2012

June 2012 I took a few weeks vacation so we could do a tour of Yellowstone National Park.

We started our trip by driving over the Sierra Nevadas to Reno. Stopped in Reno for a day to check out the National Automobile Museum but since I don't like to gamle the place doesn't seem to have much else to offer.

Onwards to Salt Lake City via the Bonneville Salt Flats which is quite an experience. From Salt Lake we headed North on via Jackson Hole and Grand Teton into Yellowstone.

Stayed two days in the rustic quaint Old Faithful Inn while exporing the West part of the park and another two at the Lake Hotel. Not too many people since rather early in the season ad we got lucky enough to see grizzly, brown bear, wolf, bison, elk, deer, fox and marmots. Great experience altogether except the awful food and service at the Xanterra run hotels in the park. Just goes to show that without some healthy competition quality quickly suffers.

After Yellowstone we headed west via the very cool Hell's Half Acre where we had a good hike all alone on the lava fields, one of the highlights of the trip for sure. Further down the road we made an improvised stop at the Experimental Breeder Reactor where we got a great private tour of the place from a very knowledgeable (and I'm guessing somewhat bored considering how quiet it was) guide.

Next stop along the road was the very compact and scenic Craters of the Moon National Monument before we did a pit stop for a few days in charming Boise, ID.

Once rested again we did the long leg to funky Portland, OR. Spent a few days checking out cafe's, restaurants, funky galleries and donut shops and all that Portland has to offer. We also used Portland as a base for a long day trip up to St Helens park to view the vulcano and scramble through the rugged dark Ape Cave.

After Portland we started heading homewards on the 5. We veered off before leaving Oregon to spend a night at the (pretentiosly named) Chateau at Oregon Caves so we could explore the impressive marble caves.

Our final stop along the road home was at my cousin Lena's place where we got to listen to Alan's jazz band and sample some good local beer at the Mad River Brewing Company.