Yellowstone National Park

Trip Start Jan 06, 2011
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Flag of United States  , Wyoming
Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011- Day o' Geysers

We slept in a little this morning and had a relaxing pancake breakfast before heading out to view the geyser areas and move to our next campground near the lake. On our way out of the campground, we stopped to get the generator checked out (there are no hook-ups at our Yellowstone campgrounds, and the generator wasn’t working).  The smart man at the auto repair shop knew about a tiny knob that we could adjust for higher altitudes.  He didn’t get it totally working, but it was great that he knew about it, so we could try to make the adjustment later.  En route, we saw some giant elk with huge antlers and lots of buffalo.  We went to the Lower Geyser Basin first, where we saw Fountain Paint Pot and another small geyser.  The paint pot areas were interesting, because the mud that was bubbling up really did look like white paint.  It was really windy, and we all wanted to wear our cowboy hats (me especially, since mine is new), so we took some times to fashion chin straps when we got back into the RV.  Next, we headed to Midway Geyser Basin, and as we got close we saw a whole field full of buffalo.    We parked at Midway and had lunch in the RV before taking the paths to see Grand Prismatic Spring and Excelsior Geyser.  The views from Midway Geyser Basin were my favorite so far.   The Firehole River runs along the geysers, and there are green grasses and trees all around.  The springs have boiling bright blue pools of water, surrounded by rings of orange, red, and white.  Add the blue skies and wildflowers, and the view seems to have every color of the rainbow.  The steam and wind were pretty crazy, so we were glad to have our hats tied down!  Our last stop for the day was Old Faithful.  This is a really busy and tourist filled part of the park, but we were able to get a good parking spot and walk around a bit.  We made our way to the Old Faithful Inn, which is a big inn built in 1904 out of 144,000 logs!  The six story lobby area was pretty cool.  There was a little bar and patio area on the second level, so we were able to get a round of beers and front row seats to watch Old Faithful to erupt from the patio.  It took a while, and was disappointing at first (we thought it wasn’t going to shoot up that high), but then it really delivered, sending water nearly 100 feet in the air.  We left that area, since we had a long drive to the lake and our next campsite.  We saw another giant elk lying by the side of the road, and we crossed the Continental Divide twice on the drive.  The lake views on the drive were gorgeous, with snow capped mountains in the distance.  We stopped at the Lake Hotel, the oldest hotel in Yellowstone, to meet up with Phil’s friend Max, who is working there for the summer.  The hotel reminded us of Dirty Dancing.  Max confirmed that it is exactly like Dirty Dancing.    Nobody puts Maxy Baby in the corner.  We went to our Bridge Bay campsite, which was nearby and has a slight view of the lake through the trees.  Jared was able to get the generator working, so we had about an hour to charge up camera and laptop batteries, which we really needed.  Jen made us a wonderful chicken dinner.  We hope to see better wildlife tomorrow- the buffalo were cool, but we want to see more bears and a moose!  

Thursday, June 30- Day of no gore!

We had a tasty breakfast and walked to the marina to check the boat rentals and pick up a few grocery items.  We decided not to rent a boat, but we got some trail information from the friendly ranger there.  We were going to hike a trail from the marina, but it was closed due to bear maintenance, so we had to drive to another hiking trail.  On our way, we stopped at the Lake Hotel to make plans with Max for diner, and Jen got a nice note with contact information from the DiDonato family, who were also staying there. Next, we stopped at the fishing bridge (on which you can no longer fish), and we didn’t see any fish.  We took the storm point trail around one side of the lake, and we had a nice picnic of wine and cheese near a marmot colony.  Towards the end of the trail, we ran into two buffalo.  Thank goodness Jen and I saw them from afar, and we didn’t get gored.  I don’t know if you know this fun fact, but over 35 people get gored by buffalo each year in Yellowstone.  We had to make our way across a muddy field to get back to the RV, because they were on the path, and were headed towards us.  We headed back to our camp to make dinner, since Max was coming over.  After chopping some wood for the fire, we had some grilled chicken, fish, and venison loin and enjoyed the campfire.  Jen headed back to the hotel with Max to visit with the DiDonatos.  We had a great view of the starry sky from the campfire before we all went to bed.
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