Monday, July 28, 2008

Wyoming, part III

Sunday, July 20, 2008
We drove to Yellowstone and put the rig in site 32 at Indian Creek CG. In the late afternoon we went up to Mammoth and viewed the Travertine Terraces and watched the elk lounge on the grass in the middle of the village.

We have made it to the land of the hordes and teaming masses. Do we look as bad as these people? Plenty of Europeans and Asians. Gawd, do we hate that the Fed let the dollar sink so low.

Monday, July 21, 2008
Up at 6 and off at 7:15 to Old Faithful. About 7:45 I recalled that I had forgotten to bring the information on where to meet for the ranger led hike. Too late to turn around and it did not matter anyway, since we did not get to Old Faithful until 8:26 and found the place we needed to be at 8:30 was a 15 minute walk and we did not even know which direction to walk. And so it goes. We are way too far away from Old Faithful to make the early morning ranger walks.

So we amused ourselves with walking around Old Faithful and seeing the dozen other geysers in the area. One even popped off for us. We waited a few minutes and Old Faithful was faithful, tho it is not a very good display.

We drove north and toured Biscuit and Midway Geyser Basins, the Firehole Lake Drive, where Great Fountain went off just as we were pulling up. On north to Firehole Canyon Drive. By this time, we were exhausted and found a pull off, had lunch by the river, then put our chairs in the river and soaked our feet.

We had to wait through two elk jams on the way back. Yahoo’s who stop on the road and pursue elk into the meadows. We hoped the elk would charge, that would have been exciting.

Tuesday, July 22, – Saturday, July 26, 2008
We have been rambling around Yellowstone seeing the sights that we missed in 2006. We went on three ranger walks, one on the Travertine Terraces, one at the Paint Pots and the last was a rim walk along the Yellowstone River. Interpretive rangers are in short supply this year.

Yellowstone is enormous! You will burn up lots of gasoline and time seeing it all. We like it best in the early morning from 6 to 8. I would not know how to photograph the delicate tones at that time. I think it could only be faithfully rendered in paint.

The waterfalls are spectacular this year because of the heavy winter snowfall. For us, the Yellowstone River and it’s falls are the single most impressive feature in the park. The drive through the Lamar Valley was our favorite landscape.

This trip we broke down and went to the well-liked Old Faithful. It was not very impressive - more steam than water. There are thermals galore in this area; geysers, hot springs, bubbling pools of mud etc. We happened on one cone geyser that went off just as we drove up. [see pictures] Like most geysers, it does not erupt on any sort of schedule.

We had planned to stay in Yellowstone for 4 or 5 days. As it worked out we spent a week, as we do not like to move on weekends. We have a good campsite, a corner one. I did not notice it was a corner site when we pulled in, but it has worked out excellent, as we are “protected” from the continual traffic looking for a camp site. Most people only stay one or two nights. They come after 5 and leave by 8.

Sunday, July 27, 2008
We drove through the Lamar Valley to the northeast entrance with the intention of maybe staying at Pebble CG, but it was full. We continued on through the tacky hamlets of Silver City and Cooke City intending to stay at one of the FS CG’s east of Yellowstone. Four of four were closed. When US212 went south back into Wyoming we changed national forests and entered Shoshone NF. We went into the first CG we saw, liked it and made camp. We wanted to dump, but we got a fine site next to a babbling river with electricity for $10. This breaks our 27 day stretch wo hookups.

We took an afternoon drive east on the Beartooth Highway. Charles Kuralt called it the best drive in the US. I cannot disagree with him, it is incomparable. We located more CG’s higher up that are open and numerous mountain lakes to dip the yaks in. We now want to stay a few days, so we may drive into Cody tomorrow to re-provision and dump. The afternoon temperature “on top” at nearly 11,000 feet was 66. Down in the CG, at 7,000 it was 83.

The only down side is that the weather system is bringing smoke up the Snake River corridor from California. Also there is a fire north of here.

We had cocktails by the river with Dennis and Carolyn of Florida. Super people.

Monday, July 28, 2008
We drove into Cody, only 57 miles, but it takes almost two hours, as you go DOWN, UP and DOWN on the Chief Joseph Highway. It’s almost as good as the Beartooth Highway. We bought groceries at Wal-Mart, dumped, gassed up for only $4.17, we have seen $4.70 and updated the blog. Back up the Beartooth Highway tomorrow and then we will reverse course to the west side of Yellowstone. We expect to enter Idaho in a week or so.

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