Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Monday, August 19, 2013

Yellowstone Park July 31

We got a late start because we had a busy day yesterday, but we headed out to Yellowstone, which is only 23 miles from our campground. I never realized that the Tetons and Yellowstone shared a border. We have actually been staying closer to Yellowstone than Jackson. Yellowstone Park is a huge place, and it could take weeks to see, if you did everything. We decided to head towards Old Faithful, and get that area visited in the middle of the week, when it may not be so busy. We stopped at several  lookouts and waterfall areas on the way up US 191, and when we stopped at the Grant Village Visitors Center to look around, we found out that Old Faithful goes off about every hour and a half. If we sprinted out of the visitors center, we could make the 4pm eruption, if we didn't make it, we would sit around and wait until 5:30. So off we went. We pulled into the Old Faithful area, only to find that 25,000 ( maybe not ) people beat us to the parking spaces and to the seats that surround the geyser. We snuck the Jeep into a short little space that no one else could fit into, and made it to the right place, just as Old Faithful was beginning to warm up (no pun intended). It went off within ten minutes, and was rather short lived, and to me, boring. There was a huge geyser basin all around the area, and a pretty long boardwalk which took us to all kinds of neat geysers, pools, and other thermal features and phenomenons. We saw geysers go off that were much more thrilling than Old Faithful, and even got soaking wet when one went off as we were walking on the boardwalk, and the wind blew the water our way. I was surprised that the water was cold, not warm as I expected. We missed a few go off that I wish we would have seen, but we ended up spending the rest of the evening running back and forth between potential eruptions. I had no memory of any of the things we saw, even though I had been to Old Faithful in 1982 with Barry Fagan, a friend, and maybe once before that.  This time, Pam, Buddy and I are taking our time, and seeing everything, and walking every trail to soak everything in. When I was here before, I was always in a hurry to get somewhere else, because of limited time and other commitments.  Yellowstone was never a destination in itself. We had dinner at the smaller lodge, not the big and famous one. We couldn't eat until 9:30 at night in the main dining room, and it was pricey. The smaller lodge had no waiting and the food was excellent, so it worked out well.  The weather was perfect all day, but right as we were leaving the Old Faithful area it rained for a few minutes, but produced the best rainbow any of us had ever seen. It was a full rainbow, with both ends touching the ground! We could even see it in the trees as it touched the ground.  It was a double rainbow much of the time, and it lasted for at least a half hour. Each color band was thick and rich in color, and something we didn't know--- when there is a double rainbow, the colors are reversed. So not even rain could dampen a perfect day. We  saw a herd of elk as we left the park near sunset, so the wildlife portion of Yellowstone also came to fulfillment. We got home pretty late, and decided we were going to hit it again tomorrow and try to  see much more.

One of the many rivers in Yellowstone - note the landscape that has few trees, a result of the famous forest fire of 1988

More views of the hillsides with young trees - Buddy is at least 2 years older than these new trees!
Lovely cascade

The famous Old Faithful (that didn't impress Mike!)


Landscape at Old Faithful - many geyers!

Castle Geyser from a distance - it was going off for over an hour!
Castle Geyser

Crossing in front of Castle Geyser when the wind shifted and got us soaked!  Hence the face!

Castle Geyser still going off!

Walking on the boardwalk around the many geysers

The beautiful pools

Cool geysers - not all go off like clockwork, some haven't gone off in years!

The geyser runoff goes into this creek

The dead, white trees in the background are due to the fumes that are released from the geysers

Inside the famous lodge at Old Faithful

Our rainbow

And then the double!

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