Wednesday, Sept 26, 2012 (Day 11) Enjoying my last day in Yellowstone

Kepler Cascades in the photo above

My goal today was to see the three largest geysers that the park service tracks and makes predictions as to eruption times.  They are Great Fountain, Grand and Riverside.

It was a very, very foggy morning.  It was about 45 degrees when I was at Great Fountain this morning.  The prediction was between 11:15am and 11:45am and it went off at 11:27am.  It goes for about 40 minutes.  Unfortunately the fog this morning made viewing it difficult.

I drove down to West Thumb and came back to make the 3:20 prediction for Grand.  I walked the trail to Grand (almost 1 mile) and got there a few minutes before 3:20 and it had already gone off about 30 minutes early!!

I then walked another 1/2 mile down the trail to watch Riverside Geyser predicted for 4:20.  I waited and waited and waited and about 4:15pm there was a loud noise that started and then a lot of clouds of steam coming from a few yards up the trail.  We all went to check it out and and an incredible set of three geysers was going off…Mortar, Fan and Spiteful.  They only go off every 4-8 days and cannot be predicted.  I was lucky to see it.  Then I went back to watch for Riverside and it finally went off about 4:45pm.  It was lovely and the sun came out that had not been seen for most of the day and a little rainbow could be seen in the spray of the geyser.  I thought that was a great thing for my last geyser of the trip.  Then I walked the 1.4 miles back to the Old Faithful visitor center where I was parked and just before I got back to the center, Old Faithful went off…a perfect ending.

When I got back to West Yellowstone I stopped to buy my required magnet and Christmas ornament.  To those that don’t know…I don’t buy a lot of “stuff” when I travel but for years I have a tradition of buying a magnet for my refrigerator and a Christmas ornament.  I really prefer that they are dated the year of my visit but it is difficult to find that sometimes.  I did find a 2012 Yellowstone ornament but could not find a dated magnet. I did find one that had my favorite spot in the park (Kepler Cascades) so that was good.

When I got back to the RV park about 7:00, I hooked the trailer up to the Toyota so that I only have to unhook the RV park hookups and I am on the road.

1. Great Fountain Geyser

2. Mortar, Fan and Spiteful Geysers

3. Riverside Geyser – Can you see the rainbow?

4. Old Faithful

 

Tuesday, Sept 25, 2012 (Day 10) Hot Springs Terraces, Another Waterfall, More Bison & Elk

Today I drove up to Mammoth Hot Springs to see the travertine terraces.  The day was pretty nice today, not as warm as the last few days but still good for this time of year here.  Had a shower about 3:30pm.  It started showering again about 7:00pm and it is still showering now.

Monday, Sept 24, 2012 (Day 9) Bison, Waterfalls, Geysers, More Bison, More Waterfalls

This morning I went into the little bank across the street from the RV park to change a $100 bill for five $20’s.  The bank had a double door entrance with a foyer.  In the foyer they had a pop machine.  That was different.  Once you went thru the second set of doors on the right was a giant mounted bear.  All four walls in the lobby had large mounted animals…elk, moose, deer, etc, etc.  The teller line had three stations.  One of the three was a sit down station.  All I could think about was “oh my…some customers would be there all day if they could sit down while a teller assisted them”.  A teller did assist me but it sure felt pretty cold in there and no one looked like they enjoyed their job.

Today I drove from West Yellowstone to Madison, Norris, Canyon Village and Fishing Bridge.  126 miles total.  It was another lovely day here.

It rained some this evening while I was watching “Dancing With the Stars”.

Sunday, Sept 23, 2012 (Day 8) Viewing geysers at Yellowstone National Park

Above is Sapphire Pool Geyser

Today I focused on viewing geysers.  Yellowstone has about 500 active geysers of all sizes.  I started with the famous “Old Faithful”.  It erupts about every 90 minutes.  I saw geysers of all sizes, depths, colors, some calm, some bubbling, most steaming and they all smell like sulphur.  Thankfully the smell was not as bad as I expected.

Above is Old Faithful

The day was warm and beautiful until about 2:00pm.  Then the sun went away, the wind picked up dramatically and the temperature starting dropping.  All signs pointed to a storm but we only got a few sprinkles and eventually the wind died back down.

Excelsior Geyser Crater

I saw bison and elk today.

It is smoky here but I am enjoying it much more than Grand Teton National Park.  Beautiful rivers, forests and geysers to see.

I cannot imagine what it must be like here in the summer.  The scenic stop parking areas are not that big and many of them are full now at the end of the season.  It must be chaos in the summer.

I cannot believe how some people act.  I have seen people climb down rocky hillsides and stand on the side of highways to take photos.  I also cannot believe that people ride bikes in the park.  The roads are all two lane with very little extra space on the side full of distracted drivers, large RV’s/trailers and many, many rental RV’s probably being driven by people that have never driven one before on twisty roads with very few side rails on steep hills.  Yesterday when I drove in there were literally hundreds of bikers.  Most of them seemed like pretty serious bikers but I also saw regular people including kids riding in traffic.  So dangerous.

Saturday, Sept 22, 2012 (Day 7) Moving to West Yellowstone, MT

Left Grand Teton National Park RV park about 10:00am this morning.  Drove north entering Yellowstone National Park thru the south entrance.  Drove to the west entrance/exit of the park.  The Wyoming/Montana border is actually 2 miles inside the park.

West Yellowstone, MT is a very, very small town that is literally 1/2 mile from the Yellowstone west entrance.  The town is just motels, rv parks, maybe five chain restaurants, a lot of independent restaurants and about 25 gift/tshirt/sourvenir stores.

I loved this sign – “Hey Kids! Scream Till Daddy Stops” that is on a tiny Dairy Queen on the main drag

I am staying at Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park and it is fabulous!  There is actually one trailer smaller than mine here.

After getting unhitched and settled (I am getting faster and faster at it) I had some lunch and went thru about 15 gift shops.  I spent a little time in my lounge chair this afternoon as it was another beautiful, sunny day here.

I will be spending the next four days exploring the park.  Yellowstone National Park has more than 2.2 million acres.