Monday, July 27, 2015

Yellowstone National Park

July 21 - 23, 2015:

Lots of steam and hot water

We are packed up and out of the campground at 7:30, our earliest departure ever, for Lizzard Creek Campground on the northern end of Teton National Park.  We will stay here a few days to explore the southern part of Yellowstone National Park.  This is a first come, first served campground and you need to be there early to get a campsite.  Again, we luck out and get one, only a couple left that fit us.  Actually a really nice site, fairly private amongst trees with a wildflower meadow going down to Jackson Lake.  It is dry camping again, but we have that well under control and don’t mind doing it.

View from being our campsite

This campground enables us to go into the southern part of Yellowstone National Park although it is considerable driving.  We take off at 10:30 for Yellowstone and end up at the “Old Faithful Geyser” area.  We see the Geyser erupt two times and also walk one of the loop trails into the geyser field.  There are active thermal things all over the place and very colorful.  This area of the park is really crowded, it took us about four passes through the parking lot to find a space. 

The eruption was right on time

Everyone wants to see Old Faithful erupting

We also toured the “Old Faithful Lodge” built in 1904 that is an amazing log structure designed by Robert Reamer which is a National Historic Landmark.

Old Faithful Lodge

Our next adventure involves another long drive the West Thumb Geyser Basin area filled with Geysers, Mud Pots, Paint Pots, Cones, Springs and Pools next to and in the Yellowstone River.  It occurred to me reading the signs that we are walking on top of a ticking time bomb here that could explode at any time 100 times more powerful than the Mt. St. Helens Volcano.  There are boiling hot liquids and steam coming out of the ground everywhere with lots of warning signs to stay on the boardwalk as the crust of the soil is known to be thin.  Of course , we did see three idiots (alpha males no doubt) walking in an area right in front of a warning sign.  The experts say not to worry, but they have been wrong before ?

We then continue down the road along the huge Yellowstone Lake which is largest lake above 8,000 foot in North America.  In spite of all the thermal springs running into it the average water temperature is 45 degrees.  At the end of the lake is Fishing Bridge where the Yellowstone River exits.  We also stopped at the nearby Lake Lodge built in the late 1800’s that is another old rustic log classic lodge.  It has a great old porch with nice sturdy log rocking chairs.

Yellowstone Lake

Interior of the Lake Lodge

Twinkles enjoying the porch at Lake Lodge
The historic Fishing Bridge Museum

Twinkles favorite, the Trumpeter Swan

The traffic in Yellowstone is horrendous and made all the more worse by the road resurface work they are doing that shuts down lanes for a couple of miles resulting in 1/2 hour delays.  It seems like this work could have been scheduled for spring or early fall, not the height of the tourist season ?

We returned a second day to the “Old Faithful” area to visit the visitors center with it’s state of the art touch screens, watch the movie and have lunch at the incredible Old Faithful Lodge.  The lunch was excellent and reasonably priced, but the ambiance of the dining room was the real attraction for me.  After lunch, we wandered around on the second and third floors.  The log construction of the structure is amazing to see along with this enormous central fireplace.

Visitors Center exhibits

That's the hot spot under Yellowstone

View from the second floor

Twinkles filling out the customer survey

View of the log structure

We then walked about 2 1/2 miles of the trails that snake around the various thermal geysers, vents, mud pots and springs.  There is something going on all the time, much more action than I expected.

Next stop is West Yellowstone, Montana:
Twinkles and Slick

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