Friday, September 14, 2012

Day 10 - The Geezers See A Geyser

Day ten dawned very chilly at the West Yellowstone KOA!  It got down to 25 degrees last night.  The campground staff warned us to disconnect the water hose and use our tanks for the night rather than risk dealing with a 50 foot icicle in the morning.  Sounded like good advice to us.  Poor Brett seemed to suffer a bit from the altitude.  He had quite a headache and felt like he couldn’t breathe during the night.  All seems well now but I guess he just prefers a place with more atmosphere.    
We had another Maniac sighting last evening.  While walking the campground I overheard somebody talking about lobsters so I asked who was from Maine.  There was a couple from York who were just returning from a trip to Alaska.  They said that it was wonderful and that most of the roads were in good shape.  RV’ing to Alaska is on my to do list and we’ll get there once it shows up on Brett’s list. 

We left here about 11 this morning.  Brett had to catch up on breathing and sleep while I made a crockpot soup.  A quick 14 mile drive got us to the Yellowstone West Gate.  A milestone!  Huzzah!  This is where it became officially known that Brett is old.  He was able to purchase an America The Beautiful lifetime pass to the national parks.  At $10 this is quite a bargain.  He will never have to pay admission to a national park again and there is a 50% savings on camping fees inside the parks.  The ranger told Brett that the pass expires when he does so he hopes that Brett gets a lot of use out of it.  This started our day off with quite a laugh.  By the way, that pass also gets everybody in the vehicle into the park for free.  

The first bit of road goes through the Madison Valley and follows the Madison River.  I saw this sign at one of our pullouts.  I’m okay with my fees being at work here.  They seem to be doing a good job. 

At the Mount Haynes lookout we wandered on the boardwalk paths and took in more of the gorgeous scenery.  Brett likes benches and Lowell always seems to go to the very end of whatever walkway there is to see what is there.  In this case it was the Madison River and an assortment of fly fisherfolk.
Brett says if he were a trout he would like to live here.   

There is a fisherman standing in the river here.  His wife accompanied him but was waiting on the shore.  She chatted with Brett for a while and then we later saw her sitting in her car reading.  “They also serve who sit and wait”.  I think that this looks like such a relaxing sport.

While sitting on the bench, we met a nice lady from North Carolina who was making her first trip to Yellowstone.  She enjoys fly fishing and has done quite a bit of it during her trip.  She told us quite a bit about fishing and was keeping a close eye on the man fishing nearby.  When we left, she was getting up to go give him some advice.  That’s what they do.

Remember that couple from Freeport that we encountered at the truck stop in Wyoming?  We were driving towards Old Faithful and spotted their Scotty trailer.  They pulled over and we chatted a bit (since we are now old friends) and I did think to take a picture but I still don’t know their names. 

The Madison Information Station was the first that we encountered on this drive so we stopped in for a visit.  Brett had a long chat with the ranger on duty.  We had a chance to see several bison and a new calf who were lounging around right outside the building.  The calf is a late one but looks healthy so they are hopeful that it will make it through the winter.
Uh, oh.  There was a bookstore as well and no Thompson gets past a bookstore without dropping a little cash.  No exception this time.  We left with Death In Yellowstone, It Happened In Yellowstone,  John Muir’s The Yellowstone National Park and Mind of The Raven.  Since we are a great fan of the parks we also joined the Yellowstone Association which got us 25% discount on purchases, a shopping bag and a DVD called Above Yellowstone.  There will certainly be plenty to read for a while.  I admit to being the one who selected Death In Yellowstone.  I also have Death in Grand Canyon and find that I take some sort of perverse comfort in learning that many people have done far clumsier and deadlier things than I. 

Our best animal sighting for today were the bison by the Madison River.  They are huge and quite nonchalant when it comes to people.  I gasped when I saw how close people got to these beasts.  There are signs all over the place reminding us that these are wild animals but anybody with a camera seems to feel invincible behind the lens and they do crazy things (hence the book Death In Yellowstone).  It is very easy to tell when there is a critter nearby.  There will be a line of cars parked along the edge of the road and people scurrying about.  There can get to be rather large traffic jams when the animals decide to stand in the road.  We had a bison walk so close to the truck that Brett could have reached out the window and touched it.  The people on the motorcycle in front of us did look a bit nervous when this particular fellow came rambling down the road.

My only real goal for the day was to see a geyser so we headed towards Old Faithful.  We first encountered the Old Faithful Inn.  Since I was reminded yesterday that it is better to keep the troops well fed we decided to have lunch here.  I was a bit nervous about it at first.  Disney modeled their Wilderness Lodge on this inn and I was expecting Disney dining prices.  But we were pleasantly surprised.  The prices were reasonable and the food was good.  I had a wild Alaskan salmon burger that was excellent.  I assume it was labeled as wild because it was not farmed rather than for the fact that it had chipotle mayonnaise on it.  The guys had bacon burgers and pronounced that good as well.  When we finished it was still not quite time for the geyser to erupt so we headed over to the Information Center.  There are a number of fascinating exhibits there that give you a lot of information about the geysers.  There was also a short film about Yellowstone.  After the film we walked to the geyser and waited along with the rest of the crowd.  There really weren’t a ton of people around but this is the most popular sight at Yellowstone so we weren’t the only ones there.  I honestly wasn’t quite sure what to expect but it did not disappoint.  Most of the time there is a bit of steam coming from the vent.  As it gets closer to erupting the volume of steam increases and then the occasional jets of water appear.  Then it erupts for several minutes.  I’d imagined there would be some sort of loud sound when this happened but it was more like the sound of water coming fast from a fairly distant hose.  No hissing or roaring.  Interestingly the crowd was very quiet during the event.  I am so glad that I’ve finally had a chance to see this.

Can you see the rainbow near the ground?  This was at the height of the eruption.
Have you ever had a day when you are so happy to be doing what you are doing that you could cry for joy?  I’m having one of those days.
We returned home to have our crock pot soup, Lowell went over to soak in the hot tub and we’ve planned our drive for tomorrow.  I’m sure that Yellowstone will continue to amaze and inspire.


1 comment:

  1. Not just another day on the road. Seems like Yellowstone is our National vent. Great commentary.