Monday, July 21, 2008

Travelblog episode 10: Yellowstone at last!

Sunday morning we got up, broke down the tents, packed up and headed in to Cody for breakfast. The plan was to eat a big brunch, then just snack for lunch and have a "real" dinner (Spaghetti, salad and bread) at our camp site in Yellowstone. Based on the ads in the map the KOA people gave us we headed for a place called "Granny's." Our hopes were high as we pulled in, but we'd forgotten one crucial detail: It was Sunday morning. Which means, in addition to travelers we'd be fighting the post-church crowd. And fight them we did. The restaurant was the standard diner setup with booths and tables, but they also had an outdoor seating area. So, we said, "we'd be willing to sit outside..." to which they replied "that's fine, but we don't serve out there so you'll have to order to go." Which we did. And I must say, for not serving the outside tables, they provided pretty darn good service, carrying out our food for us and offering to pick up the garbage. Very nice, but it would have been nicer if we could have had real plates and silverware instead of eating off of styrofoam with plastic forks and knives.

Once breakfast was done it was off to Albertson to pick up food for the next couple days, then west in to Yellowstone. The drive in was beautiful, driving up into the Rockies and across Sylvan Pass where there were small snowfields down at the level of the road (and numerous tourists stopping to walk on the dirty, dirty snow). Our first stop in the park was an overlook of Lake Yellowstone at Steamboat Point. There were a couple thermals there - enough to cause some stink, but nothing exciting to look at. The view of the lake, on the other hand, was worth looking at!

The girls reading abou the
underwater thermals in the lake

Looking across the lake at
snowcapped mountains

After a brief stop at the Fishing Bridge visitor's center it was on along the Yellowstone river toward the Canyon Campground. We stopped along the road to check out the Mud Volcano and it's mud-spweing sulpher smell. Maya and I didn't walk up to the top to see the other thermals (or the bison sitting by the path), but what the heck.

Farther down the road and around a few corners we came across a herd of bison grazing, napping and drinking. So naturally we had to stop and take pictures:

Logan with the camera

A close-up shot of the adult and
baby bison relaxing by the stream

And that wasn't the end of our wildlife shooting for the day, 'cause a mile or two farther up the road we ran across this guy (well, not really across him...he was 40 yards off the road, but still...)

A black bear doing what bears do

We finally got to the Canyon campground, set up the tents, loaded all the bags in to the Sebring, and headed for Mammoth Hot Springs, by way of Tower Falls. Mammoth, if you've never been there, is weird. No geysers, just hot pools bubbling out mineral-laden water and creating these bizarre terraced hills, and the occasional tree that has been overcome by the mineral flow

Tower Falls and a dead tree

More dead trees on the hillside

Close-up of the edge of the Canary Spring

Dead tree being encrusted by the Canary Spring

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