May 18 - Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Finally flipped a propane tank before we refilled it so propaned up plus fresh water. Off and on again rain and then brilliant sunshine on route 287 south out of Townsend. We never realized how much wheat is grown in Montana. The fields stretch endlessly to the horizon with irrigation being the source of the riches. The other major crop is alfalfa/hay for the cattle in the winter. You often see huge barns filled to the rafters with baled hay.
All along Route 287 we saw abandoned buildings. You can't help but wonder who lived there and what happened to them.
Fishing season has just opened and in every good sized stream we saw fishermen. Hope they had on thermal, waterproof gear because that water is still snow melt and cold. On the Madison river, we saw fishermen in wooden batteaus rowing so there must be a no engine edict on that river.
We kept seeing billboards for Wheat Montana, a bakery and deli and figured we were safe since Wheat wasn't showing up on our maps. Turned out to be the name of a company and yes we stopped for a morning muffin. At Grayling we switched over to Route 191 and into the National Forest Campground called Baker's Hole in the Gallatin National Forest just outside of West Yellowstone. This sign greets you as you enter.
We met up with Paul and Sue Schultes, truck camper friends, who had moved to Montana from upper NY State. We took the TC off the truck and drove the four of us into Yellowstone for some animal sightings and a view of Old Faithful.
First stop was at Fountain Paint Pots area with fascinating geology and active bubbling pools of mud. They exploded with big bursts of bubbles and the steam spray smelled like sulfur. There are boardwalks out into this active area.
Once again we missed Old Faithful by minutes and didn't really feel like waiting around 90 minutes of so for a repeat. The elk and bison were everywhere particularly on one stretch of canyon like road where the two bison were walking down the middle and yielded to no one. Fun to watch them snort and walk past stopped cars and give you that "dare you" look.
If you haven't seen a bison up close, they are enormous beasts who I doubt tolerate much. They are still dropping their winter coats so look quite shaggy. This visit we only saw one calf but it was running and bucking like any youngster.
Hard cold rain tonight so we have all had supper and retired to our respective campers, warm and snug. We did put the camper back on the truck so ready for tomorrow's adventures.