Joe and Nancy

Joe and Nancy
Our Home on Wheels (Click on image above for our web albums.)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Yellowstone National Park, Day 2

On the way to Mammoth Hot Springs area, we came upon this neat waterfall, just north of the Madison area.  Our Day 1 adventures took us from the west entrance at West Yellowstone to Madison, and on up to the Old Faithful Lodge area.  This is a distance of about 35 miles one way.
A little further down the road to Mammoth, we took a little side road to Sheepeater Cliff.
We arrived at the Mammoth area about noon, and about 50 miles from West Yellowstone.  This park is so big, that you just don't realize until you start going to these areas, how big it really is.  That's why one should plan at least two weeks to see everything and feel like you're not being rushed.  Of course, most folks don't have that kind of time to just relax.
Above is the visitor's center. Most of the older buildings here are what used to Fort Yellowstone.  The fort was built and manned solely for the protection of the park's national treasures and wildlife.  It was in operation for about 40 years and was choice duty.  The fort closed in 1926 I believe when the National Park Service was created.  An example would be folks "lifting" the Obsidian from the base of the volcanic mountains while another would be the prevention of the extinction of the beaver.  The beaver was nearly extinct from trappers in the early 1900's.
Some of the barracks and officer's quarters.
Above is the old Corps of Engineers office building.
Right outside the little deli where we ate lunch was this elk lunching on the plush lawn.
The geothermal extravaganza at Mammoth is just unbelievable.  After lunch we walked around a little, but the wind had kicked up and the temp was around 46, so we didn't get to go to the upper terrace of the awsome mineral flows.  But, here are a few pics we managed from the lower area.  The first is a dome of a dormant geyser, about 30 feet tall.
Now, imagine with the wind blowing like it was you are down wind of these geothermals and the sulpher-laced steam is coming directly at you.  We didn't hang around very long.  Here are a few more pics of the Mammoth area.
On the way back to West Yellowstone, we stopped by one of the turnouts and wouldn't you know it:  Here were three elk just enjoying the evening sun and the show the tourists were putting on with there shiny cars and clicking cameras.
Notice the radio collar?  They are tracked year-round to study their migratory habits.
Then, right after we left that turnout, wham!  A traffic jam!  Why?  You guessed it.  GRIZZLY!  Our second encounter with thee elusive bears.  Yesterday a mother and her two year-old cubs, and today, a very excitable big bruin.  On the loose and hungry.  And there must have been 35 vehicles all over the highway, and 100 people out and snapping pics, including me.  Well, the 10 rangers there implored everyone to please walk (don't run) quickly to their cars and get out of here.  They even had there guns at the ready.  Folks just don't know had mean and fast these big bruins can be.  On on the heels of a grizzly mauling a few days before, the rangers are a little testy, for good reason.  He actually charged the road a couple times in an attempt to scare people off.  Scary!
Idiot!
The bear had just charged a few steps and the guy left in a hurry.  :-)
Closer to West Yellowstone along the Madison River we saw these three mature elk across the river.
And I also noticed this elk carcuss from a winter kill or natural death over the harsh winter.
I turned around from the edge of the river and snapped a pic of Nancy in the Jeep.
And a little further down the river this Trumpeter Swan was diving for a late afternoon snack.
And this old buffalo was just relaxing chewing his cud.
And here are in front of the Madison Falls.
These signs were everywhere.  So, these geo's must really be dangerous.  We believed them.
These geo's were from the Norris Geyser Basin, above and below.
Well, a few more pics and I'll quit.  I must tell you, I have just been blown away the past two days here in the Park.  I can't imagine what I'd do if I spent two weeks here.  Nancy enjoyed herself as well, but we could've used a little warmer temps.
So, Friday morning we're off to Jackson Hole for a day or two and then on to eastern Wyoming and western S Dakota.  Well, I woke up Friday and didn't feel well.  We went to the clinic in town, and did an EKG and were directed to a hospital in Idaho Falls, a hundred miles away to have some blood work done.  Everything turned out ok but it was too late to move on, so we spent the night at the Walmart. 

Saturday morning we went into Bish's RV about two miles away and had our water pump replaced.  So, now we can head to Jackson.  Not so fast.  The main highway to Jackson is closed because of a gigantic mudslide, that is still sliding.  It has slid for two days.  So, a slight detour.  And the detour took us over a 10000 foot pass with downhill grades of 10% for nine miles.  WOW!  That was fun. Disconnected the Jeep at the summit before going down though.  Taking no chances!  Well, our next blog will be about Grand Teton NP and Jackson Hole.  Till then, RVing Beach Bums.