Our Chalet Truck Camper

Our Chalet Truck Camper

Sunday, June 08, 2008

June 8 - Yellowstone

June 8th - Snow again with a mix of rain and sleet but another day in Yellowstone was worth wearing the winter parka. At least we had parkas with us and not just t-shirts and flip flops like a lot of folks we saw today.

Today was a water day and not just from the ski. We left West Yellowstone and travel led back into the park via the NorthWest entrance. Our goal today was to see some of the incredible waterfalls in the park. Everyone who has seen the park before has commented on how green and lush the flora is this year due to the rain. Usually this part of the park is not green and the rivers are much smaller and crystal clear rather than the raging torrents they are now.

We started at Canyon Village and went to the Upper and Lower Falls which is a stretch known as the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

It's a bit of a hike to get to where you can see the falls especially the long view but worth every wet and slippery step. I've never seen the Grand Canyon (yet) but this will sure act as a preview. The canyon walls are many vivid colors from the leaching of the chemicals through the rocks. A lot of early American paint artists have done this scene in famous paintings - but nothing matches seeing it for yourself.

We just missed a pack of wolves chasing an elk. The ranger said they had crossed the road maybe five minutes before we got there. This was a whole day of five minutes late as you will see later. Buffalo here are as common as songbirds in Maine and are just about every where you look. The rangers call the tourists looking at the bison "buffalo jams" as people just come to a dead stop in the middle of the road to
take photos. At Canyon Village we had watched an introductory film about the Park in which they showed what happened when you got too close to a bison. Child got tossed about pretty good when she approached a bull bison. Not killed but pretty ugly to see in film. Funny were the pictures of an full antlered elk charging into stopped cars. Bet that was fun to explain to an insurance company on how the damage to the car got there.

We next stopped at the mud pots area to see bubbling fields of mud spattering everywhere. These did not have the sulfur smell from the steam vents yesterday but would be pretty torturous to any animal that wandered in.

For lunch we stopped at Yellowstone Lake at a rest stop and raided the fridge. Pretty good to travel with your own kitchen isn't it. Lake had whitecaps on it today as, in addition the rain and snow, there was a pretty stiff wind. We found a sheltered spot on a little path at West Thumb. Nice to have a vehicle that will go just about anywhere.

Won't bore everyone with photos of Old Faithful. Beside we missed the blow by five minutes and didn't want to hand around for another 2 +/- hours to see it. Pretty cold driving rain then so we went over to the Old Faithful Lodge to dry off and enjoy the old building. It really is a marvel of early building engineering as it is at least four stories tall with an inner lobby with open balconies built out of logs. Very dark inside so no photos came out.

We stopped at the midway geyser basin and walked what seemed like miles of boardwalks out into the basin. Buffalo scat is everywhere and it was a balancing act to stay on the boardwalk and not slide through the scat!

Finally back at the campground to spend the evening with FlyFisher. He leaves tomorrow to head even further on his trip to Alaska. We shared supper and he gave us some more tips on places within the park to go tomorrow on our way down to the Tetons. We wish him great adventure on his travels.

So tomorrow we head south towards the Tetons not even having scratched a millimeter of what there is to see in Yellowstone. I know we will be back for longer next time.

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