Daily Log
  Nave Album****1982 West Trip Go Back

August 22:Yellowstone

Starting trip mileage 6067 miles.

The relaxed atmosphere got to us and we had a hard time getting rolling. About 6:30 we started rolling down the beautiful Yellowstone River valley, lined with mountains. We remarked that Yellowstone Park would really have to be something to beat the drive into it.

We entered the park at the North Entrance and ate breakfast at the Mammoth Hot Springs parking area. We also drove the loop around the hot springs area - but were not too impressed and started on around the east loop to Tower Junction.

We looked at Tower Falls and then made all the circles around the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, viewing the falls and canyon from several angles. The most impressive to me was the close view of the upper falls with the rainbow in the mist.

We had come over the Mt Washburn road and it was nice, but we didnt find snow on it as I had before in August. We went through the Hayden Valley which was really lovely - I've really gotten turned on to the mountain meadows with wildflowers. A good bit of the valley runs right along the Yellowstone River - rather placid at this point in the lush green valley before it rushes over the falls.

Along the road where a marshy creek runs in we saw several people gathered with cameras and binoculars. Looking sown the creek we spotted the characteristic moose antlers - lying down in the tall grass. I parked a little further on, grabbed my 40 lb backpack of camera equipment and the boys and I headed across the meadow, reaching the water beyond and upwind from the moose - the other people were approaching from the road down the waterway. A guy and a girl came down the path right behind us. He identified himself as a park employee and cautioned me about getting too close. He said it was an old bull, and a young 2 or 3 yr old cow. When in rut the bulls sometimes charge - he said if the bull got up, I should run. I was quite agreeable to that but I was able to get close enough to get a couple of shots wit the 300mm lens. The bull and cow just lay there in the shallow water among the tall grass.

We drove on along the road and noticed another clump of people, so we pulled over. Down by the river was a beautiful herd of buffalo, about as big as the herds we had seen on the National Bison Range. That setting was actually prettier than the ones we saw on the bison range - there was the lush green valley, the Yellowstone River and the herd grazing along the opposite shore. Like the pattern at the bison range, there were three isolated bulls in wallows on the near side of the river. Several people had left the road and walked down close to photograph them - in violation of the rules of the park and the rules of common sense. We understand that in rut in August the bulls can be dangerous.

We drove on down to the lake, had a picnic lunch and then drove over to Old Faithful. The boys were keen on seeing it - and it is the most famous point. But a thundershower had come up so we put on our ponchos. We stood near the geyser in pouring rain and then it began to hail! The geyser did erupt on schedule and we could say we saw it, but it was not all that big a deal. More memorable was the fact that we stood in a driving rain ahnd hail storm waiting for it to erupt.

We didn't have time to tour the other geysers and hot springs - it would have involved at least an hour of walking anwd we had to get on the road.

We enjoyed what we saw in Yellowstone - but there is so much. To spend just one day there is to invite frustration. We didn't see one bear - to be sure, we didn't go to the main bear areas, but when I was there in '60 the place was overrun with them.

We drove south out of Yellowstone and skirted Lake Jackson in sight of the dramatic Grand Tetons. It was a different view in rain and with heavy clouds - but we looked forward to exploring them more tomorrow.

Driving to Moran Junction, we found the KOA Campground about 5 miles east of there and settled for the night. We got a beautiful view of the Tetons from the campsite. Even with all the clouds it was a nice sunset. It was wet and cold, so we used our electric blanket again.

Map for Day 22
  Nave Album****1982 West Trip Go Back