Saturday, June 29, 2013

Yellowstone National Park

Good to be back online.  We had a great stay up in the mountains, but more on that in the next issue. For now, just saying,  no cell or internet for the last few days.

We had a great visit to Yellowstone National Park.We found a great campground ,on recommendation from friends, at Bakers Hole National Forest in West Yellowstone,Montana, outside the park.  Above is our site on the Madison river. We did not even try to find a site in the park, because all of the internet reports we saw indicated that they would be full with reservations a year ahead of time.
That was not necessarily true, but the main campgrounds like Madison were full every day. The grand loop around the park is 142 miles!  That does not include cutting through from Norris to Canyon Village.  A lot of miles and you need to plan on an average speed of about 30mph or less.
In spite of that, we found that we enjoyed setting out each day from outside the west entrance and taking our time for a small segment of the park.

The biggest draw always seems to be the wildlife. We saw deer, elk, and bison.  Other visitors we met saw bear and wolves.   If any were visible you knew immediately, because the traffic would stop or there would be many cars pulled over on the side.  No one minded--so different from traffic snarls in Boston.

For instance, one day headed north by Gibbons Falls we had stopped in traffic.  After a while we saw this herd of bison headed towards us.  They were being corralled by two park rangers in cars.

Not much place for them to go with steep hills on one side and the steep cliffs to the river on the other side.  They seemed okay with the traffic and the push. Sometimes the young calves would wander off, but they would come right back.

It's not often that a very large bison goes by your driver's window!

We did see pronghorn.  This picture was from Grand Tetons.  In Yellowstone, we found it more difficult to just pull off the road for a picture.  It would have been difficult even with a vehicle other than Lady Blue.

One of our favorites was visiting Old Faithful.  A very large area is set apart for Old Faithful, the Lodge, and other visitor buildings and hikes.

We were able to see geyser twice.  Each eruption was about an hour and a half apart. The schedule is posted.

This is the first time we have tried to post a small video.  Hope it works for you--don't forget the sound.  Just click on the arrow.

Yellowstone was the first national park,over 2 million acres!! established in 1872.  One of the amazing things we noticed was that such a large park had so few roads.  There are miles and miles of streams and hiking trails, but few roads except for the main 2 loops and the middle cross road.  It really is a great wilderness park, in spite of the large number of visitors.  You can get away from the crowds fairly easily on a trail.

We didn't think much beyond Old Faithful before arriving here.  We were then rather surprised to learn that Yellowstone has more geysers and hot springs than anywhere in the world.  They come in many colors, depending on the minerals and the heat.  There are many warnings about how dangerously hot some are.  Others are dangerous due to their acidic content.

Except for the steam, many look absolutely inviting.  Crystal clear.
In this one , you could see many feet down into the thermal.

Some would gurgle.  Others would burp. and some would act like small geysers, erupting up a few feet or so.

On some of the walks, you could see many areas of thermal activity.  The walks were organized on board walks for safety.  So many colors!  The minerals would create reds, yellows, greens, and blues depending on the content and the heat.

This should give you a little idea.  don't forget the sound.  Just click on the arrow.

They were all so fascinating.

It was about the third day that old Jan and Bruce realized that they needed that standard, classic shot with the entrance sign.

Big smiles now!

Sometimes, the pictures were not easy to make.

We actually had a good view of the elk.  But, with the cars parked on each side, there was no room to park Lady Blue.   So, here we have one of our famous "Drive by's"

There are many parts to Yellowstone.  Sitting on an active volcano, there are the many thermals.  Then there are all the other wonders.

This is the Lower Falls at the Yellowstone Grand Canyon.

Many good views on longer and shorter walks on the north and south rims.

Couldn't resist adding one more.  Not sure that the entire picture will show on your screen.

Click on the arrow to view


If Uncle Tom could do it, so could we.  Jan and I will freely admit that it was a challenge. 328 steps straight down at 8,000 foot elevation on a metal steep see-through staircase meant a number of stops on the way back up.  But, it was well worth the effort.

We could have stayed here a while, but other visitors were waiting for this great view.

So many reports of very high heat back in New England and out west.

But here we are watching the snow melt.

Ah, to be an RVer.

Out last day takes us out of the park via Yellowstone Lake from West Thumb intersection.

We thought this view was so wonderful, yet strange.
One of a number of thermal pools, right beside the huge Yellowstone lake.

And beyond the lake are snow covered mountains to the east.

Another clear pool.

Looking down, you could see , way below, where the thermal water would be rising.

All this, connected to the intense heat of the inner earth.

If you can get into a picnic mode, there are many, many spots in Yellowstone to unpack a picnic lunch and just enjoy nature.

This was one of many stops along Yellowstone Lake.

One picture we missed was of many fly fishermen all across Yellowstone.  On some days, the clear streams would look like a big ad from LL Bean.

The visitors center at Fishing Bridge was interesting on its own.   One of the older park buildings, the architect used the natural boulder setting and timbers to fit in with the surroundings.  Inside is a great display of birds and antlers.

Lady Blue really enjoyed her visit to Yellowstone.

She performed wonderfully on some nail biting rides up and over and down narrow mountain roads.

Most notably was the road from Norris up to Mammoth Springs.

We leave you with yet another bison traffic stop.

On our way back to camp one night in West Yellowstone.  No rangers involved in this one.

Just some bison and their young ones moving on to a better pasture.

How do you like our satellite radio in the background?  Just happened to have it on and didn't have a chance to turn it down.

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