Saturday, June 24, 2006
June 14 06 Yellowstone
We left the Teton’s and headed north to Yellowstone. Intended to stay at Grant Village but it doesn’t open until next week. The lady at the visitor center said it was because of too much bear activity. Directed us to Bridge Bay where we got the last large site available without reservations. We are very close to the road about 6 inches and the campground is all open. We arrived in a thunderstorm and hail. Set up quickly and came in for a hot toddy. Hot chocolate laced with Amaretto. That does the trick. After the sun came out Bob managed to get the dish set up and we now have internet and SATV even if we don’t have cell service. After dinner we went for a drive to see if we could find any animals. Buffalo, elk and a black bear were spotted. We also drove to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and saw both the lower and upper falls. The river was WAY high compared to what I have seen in my past visits here. It is cold and damp here. High in the 50’s and low was 34. On our drive it even spitted snow.
Thursday we drove ½ of the lower loop which includes all the hot spots. We first stopped at Grant Basin where it rained while we were out on walk thru all the hot pools. The steam was really something to see and we loved to stand in it and warm up as it was only about 42 at the time. Glad we had our umbrellas. We then drove over the continental divide and saw a small pond that actually drains into both oceans. On over to Old Faithful. The first one was disappointing as we were on the steam side of it and couldn’t see the burst of water. So we took a walk around the loop seeing a lot more geysers. At the end of the walk we were back at Old Faithful just in time to watch it a second time and from a better vantage point. We continued on seeing more hot spots and geysers on the western side of the lower loop. We again had rain so came back to the campground around supper. Our new neighbors were our old neighbors from the Teton’s who were from Alberta. They invited us over for an after dinner drink and had another lovely visit with them. Our wildlife sightings were elk, baby elk, deer and a black bear.
Friday was iffy for the weather but it turned out great. Even got to 65 in our travels. We headed over the eastern road toward Cody. Not far from Fishing Bridge we came upon a traffic stop. Always a wildlife sighting sign. There we encountered a grizzly bear who was romping thru the brush and actually stood up several times and charged for the cars. Awesome. We drove all the way to Sylvan Pass where the construction area is and turned around. We saw some pretty scenery including a drive up a side road to an overlook where we could see the entire Yellowstone Lake. Back at Fishing Bridge we headed north toward the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. We came across a huge herd of elk just before getting there. This time we did the north rim and hiked down to the lower falls overlook. We headed up the east side of the upper loop. Over top of Washburn Mountain. Along the way we saw a brown bear come down to a lake for a bath. We also saw a moose at another lake. Stopped at Tower Falls then drove out the Lamar Valley toward the northeast entrance. Saw huge herds of buffalo, several antelope and several sandhill cranes. We stopped where the guide in 1999 told me the wolves have a den. Didn’t see any. We headed back about 8 pm and stopped at Canyon Village for supper. It was after dark when we headed back to the rv and just before getting home wouldn’t you know a wolf ran across the road in front of us. What a day….
Saturday we decided to go on a hike. On the way we had to pass Old Faithful so we went in and watched it do it’s thing for the 3rd time. Stopped at one of the stores and shared a Moose Tracks ice cream then on to the hike’s trailhead. We hiked 6 miles round trip to Fairy Falls and then on to Imperial Geyser. We were the only ones at the geyser and stayed for about 40 minutes. Had our own personal geyser erupting about ever 4-5 minutes. We had our picnic lunch there. Better than the fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The waterfalls was good too.
Sunday we drove up the east side of the lower loop, crossed over the center of the park then walked around the Norris Geyser Basin. Beautiful and different geysers. Everyone is so different in size, color and what it does. If it weren’t for all these hot spots YNP would probably have blown thousands of years ago as it still a volcanic area. We headed west after that to West Yellowstone for dinner and some shopping. On the way home stopped briefly to see a pair of nesting bald eagles and the Black Sands Basin near Old Faithful.
Monday we started the day by going for the breakfast buffet at the Lake Lodge. A huge old wooden lodge completed in the 1920’s. As we were waiting to be seated another couple walked up. The hostess thought we were together so we decided to all sit together. It made for a very pleasant conversation. They were former rver’s from Ft. Lauderdale Fl.
We then proceed up the east side and out Lamar Valley for the second time. We saw another wolf. I had my binoculars out looking to see what the cars were stopped for when across my field of vision walked this wolf. Bob jumped out of the truck and immediately got a picture of it. We returned to the main loop and went to Mammoth Hot Springs. We did the complete outer circle of the park today stopping at two more geyser basins. Saw the largest hot springs with the rainbow colors from the north side that we had seen on our hike several days before. Our only disappointment on this trip is that Old Faithful Inn is closed for renovation. It is a beautiful inn and the center rises 4 stories with a massive fireplace. So we went on to Grant Village to the boat house restaurant there for a gourmet meal with dessert.