Day 5, Jenny Lake, Gardiner

Wow – the vacation is half over!  We got up early, said goodbye to Flat Creek Inn, and headed over to Jenny Lake to catch the ferry for the hike.  The area around the dock of the western short of the lake doesn’t have much of a beach – the mountain just comes out of the water almost from the water’s edge.

The scenery on the hike itself is very beautiful, with trees and rocks and waterfalls.  The hike gains elevation pretty quickly.  There were a ton of people with us – felt a bit like going on a ride in Disneyland.  When we got the Hidden Falls waterfall in about half an hour or so, or so it seemed.  I don’t quite remember the time because it really started to rain heavily right around when we got to the falls.  So we had a picnic under a tree to somewhat shelter us from the rain and then hiked back to the dock in the rain, which was a cool experience all on its own.

We piled back into the minivan then headed north towards Yellowstone.  It would be a long day of driving since we need to go all the way across Grand Teton, then across Yellowstone and end up on the other side of the Park, next to the northern entrance in Gardiner, Montana.  For lunch, we stopped at Leek’s Marina at the pizzeria.  This is a place that Dave had recommended to us during the rafting tour yesterday.  The pizza and spaghetti we had were terrific. During the week we were in the area, this was by far the best value we had for food inside the park.  Too bad the food in the other parts of these parks can’t be as good as this pizza!

The drive north was uneventful.  It was drizzling most of the time so it was a different experience than when we were driving south.   We stopped by the Yellowstone Lake for a quick visit and bathroom break.  On the way out, we ran into Sarah’s friend Crystal from back home whose family is also vacationing in Yellowstone.  What a strange coincidence to meet someone from back home in a large park!  They are headed south to Grand Teton while we were going north.  We then continued our drive up to Gardiner via Canyon and Norris, and settled into the Best Western by the Yellowstone River.

Gardiner looks like a small town, somewhat smaller than West Yellowstone. Most of it seems to be centered along Highway 89.  Since we were so close to the park entrance, we spent the time in the evening in the park rather than exploring the town as we did at West Yellowstone.
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