Yellowstone is an enormous Park three times the size of Rhode Island, and residing in three states: Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Left the campground at 5 a.m. to ensure timely passage to Cody, Wyoming. There was still much unseen when traveling North, then east out of the Park, which took over 2 hours.
Many were out at this early time foraging.
And some were enjoying solitude.
While the creatures were quiet, thermal activity continued very close to the road.
Traveling to the East Gate of Yellowstone there are many hair pin turns through Corkscrew Valley with spectacular views.
Gravel and rock falling from the sides of the wall are plentiful. Stopped and obtained a few on the road as a memory for my rock garden.
After my delightful visit to Montana found the Tower – Roosevelt route was closed due to falling rock. Returned by way of the previous route crossing over at Norris to Canyon Village. Here the iconic, breath-taking views of Yellowstone and more geothermic activity was seen.
Norris Geyser Basin – Norris was the second superintendent of Yellowstone. He was instrumental in park road construction as well as documenting hydrothermal geyser features. The Norris Geyser Basin is the hottest and most acidic area of the Park.
From Norris on to the iconic Yellowstone Views – be prepared for a bit of a hike, but well worth it.
More animal activity driving to Mud Volcano, here families of bison were grazing in a field at dusk.
Mud Volcano Area – this area reeks of sulphur smells, and scary activity. In 1870, explorers watched as Mud Volcano spewed mud throughout the landscape blowing itself apart.
Other active creatures in this area with their amazing colors. How vegetation can survive in the midst of these temperatures is beyond comprehension.
Prior to the creation of the National Park Service the Army supervised the National Parks. At the Parks inception there were many unruly and challenging mountain men who roamed the area. Mammoth Hot Springs was an Army base developed to contain these situations. There are placards throughout this area explaining this history.
While there are hotels and motels in this area as well as an array of shops and restaurants, this is what I found most interesting.
In 1895, Alden Rosenborough began as the mail carrier for the area. His route was 100 miles long and he leased 2 cabins along the way to complete the route. This dwelling served as the mail carrier’s for over a century. His route:
Caveat: Elk walk freely throughout Mammoth Hot Springs closely monitored by National Park Service staff. What an amazing experience to walk down the street with an elk grazing next to you, but watch with only your eyes,
After Grant Village reservations were established started my trek in an effort to see Yellowstone in one day. At the West Thumb Geyser Basin intersection went northwest for more geyser viewing. Found Biscuit Basin very colorful, and less trafficked.
Then there are the shapes..
Walkways in these areas are slightly elevated above the geysers. No animals allowed. In most cases there is nothing between you and the geyser so if bringing children monitor them closely. Geysers and their steam are really hot!
On to another site, and look what was lying on the side of the road. A Kodak moment..
While this creature was resting and allowing many visitors to take snaps as close as 10 feet away, signage throughout the Park warns not to touch. “They” can charge up to 30 mph and have the ability to kill.
Roaring Mountain The signage for this area came up quickly and had to do a u-turn to visit the site. There is no speeding in the Park, and many on the roads have large RV’s so driving with their bulk in front of you is a challenge. When other cars tailgated I often pulled off and allowed them to pass. There are frequent pull off’s on the Park roads.
This living landscape emits steam and sulfur rich gases. Many microscopic organisms are hard at work wearing away the mountain.
Then not far from this area – a site of unimaginable beauty, The Golden Gate Canyon.
After enjoying the waterfall checked my reservations for the evening. To my dismay realized I had none, an oversight. Yellowstone does not allow sleeping in parking lots, or on the roadside. Quickly attempted to access Expedia, however, Park internet is extremely limited so was unable to connect.
Next attempted a Park hotel reservation, however, no vacancy.. Was told to check out the campground, and luckily the Grant Village agent told me she had an opening. The site was quickly booked, and here it is.
In Yellowstone campgrounds there are no shower facilities. Luckily, or well planned, most campgrounds are near water. There was no electric in the campground so charged the phone in the bathroom outlet. A dumping station for trailers and RV’s is available in the Park. Daily site prices are reasonable. Lights out at 10 pm.
Caveat: Arrive before dark as it is difficult to navigate otherwise. Bring flashlights, layer, and as always enjoy..
This sign was welcomed after driving through the Grand Teton Park. Here I received a map to assist with my journey to Old Faithful. Since signage is limited at the Parks, as well as lighting, (and it gets very dark here), recommend asking for two maps or bringing tape to keep the map intact as it will be folded again and again… Also, whatever paper information the ranger offers – take.
Old Faithful Area
The area around the geyser is developed with many accommodations – hotels, restaurants, and gift shops. Lodging on the Park sites begin at over $300 per night and must be booked at least a year in advance. Those seen were lovely, but reasonable lodgings are few in this area – next blog.
There is ample parking in this area and it is a short walk to Old Faithful from the parking lot. Old Faithful rises every 30 to 45 minutes. There is an AP which gives approximate times of spewing. Around Old Faithful are many benches and the area is comfortable with visitors sharing insights so it is a pleasant experience as you wait. And there she blows..
What an impressive site and she spews much taller than this last picture, however, unable to capture the height.
Around Old Faithful is a walkway where a series of small geysers are active. Park rangers walk these areas, answer questions, and give insights. Yellowstone Park is actually one large volcano and 48% of the world’s geothermic activity is concentrated here. Many steamy geothermic spots are next to the roads as you drive. Stay clear as they are HOT.
Fascinating, but, need to depart as lodgings beckoned. Some parting shots.