Thursday, June 26, 2008

Yellowstone day 1...

We moved from Pocatello to Henrys Lake State park in Idaho on Tuesday. Only 152 miles so had lots of time to set up and walk and ride our bikes around the campground area. Mountains all around and some still with lots of snow. We have water and power but have to move to dump tanks. No problem as we can last over the 4 days we plan on being here and can dump on the way out.

We got up early yesterday morning (6:30 AM) had breakfast, fixed a lunch and headed off to “day 1 at Yellowstone”. It took us 11 hours to drive about 170 miles around the North loop, so only saw a very small part of the 2.2 million acre park. Must have got in and out of the truck 100 times to walk the river, trails and boardwalks and take pictures.

What an unbelievable park! The scenery was spectacular, the wild animals abundant and lots and lots of people. We did find some side roads that we kept to ourselves. Seems like most people just get on the road and when they see an animal they stop and stick their cameras out the window and take a quick picture. We even saw a man drive by a hot springs with his video camera stuck out the window. There are times that the road is blocked both ways because people have decided to abandon their cars and walk to the side of the road to see what is in the woods(and take pictures).

The park is so immense and you only get to see a very small portion of that. If we went back every day for a week we might get to see most of what is available via the roads. I had to laugh when a man asked the Ranger “I only have an hour to spend here so what should I see?”. The Ranger did a good job, but I could see she wanted to roll her eyes and chuckle. I wanted to tell him just walk across the road and sit in one spot for an hour and you will be amazed at what you can see. But for a change I kept my mouth shut. (This is Dick speaking.)

Following are just a few of the 70 pictures that were taken and we still have the long loop to go. We got back to a thunderstorm at the camp but there was a bright spot; see the last picture. We are going to go to another area on Thursday and then back to the park on Friday.

These first two pictures are quite interesting. Shortly after arriving at the park, we took a side road to view the river. The first thing I(Dick) noticed was some of the damage from the 1988 fire so I wanted to document and share it. After taking the picture of the river and hillside, Jackie noticed something on the other side of the river. If you blow up the picture you will see 3 elk on the other side. The second picture was taken after Jackie noticed them. Close to the end of this Blog are more pictures of the devastation.

We took another side road and next to the river was this buffalo, so being handy with my camera I got what I thought was a good shot.

We saw lots of these big critters all over the park but on the way out we ran across these two and...
I got a little close to this one to get his close up. Smile please!
When taking the picture of the first Buffalo there was a fisherman standing next to me and he told me to turn around and walking just behind me was this Elk with her baby. Wow what a sight.

This is a picture that is used on the cover of one of the free books about Yellowstone, except they forgot to include Jackie and CC in their copy!

The park is full of falls and we stopped at many but here are pictures of just 2 of them.

The whole park is full of geological abnormalities or geysers. I think the park is leaking all over the place. This is the first one we stopped at, you can see a small portion of the the boardwalk across a large area full of steam vents and sulphur smelling water bubbling out.
Depending on the temperature of the water determines the type of growth that takes place. Here is a small stream with temperatures below boiling and all the growth is very distinct green. Other areas are red or brown.

Another view of the acres of vents.
This is an area called Mammoth hot springs and there must be over a mile of boardwalks with an elevation change of close to 500 feet. It is constantly changing both in size and color.
Another corner of the above area is this build up of deposits that has taken place over the years and continues today . The flow is now close to the top and it's location has changed over the years.

This is just one valley that must extend a hundred miles. It was hazy in the afternoon but this picture still needed to be taken.
This little guy, or gal, was told to stay put and not to move, and she did a good job. I am sure she thought no one could see her off in the woods under a tree. Actually it was only about 15 feet from the boardwalk overlooking the river. As other pointed her/him out to us, we had to do the same for the next folks. What a treat!

As I said earlier that the devastation from the wildfire in 1988 was apparent all over the park, but after climbing to about 9000 feet elevation this is what we could see of the timber loss as the fire raced up the mountainside. I do have to say that all the areas of fire damage are now full of new growth of trees. There is a lot of green but the big old dead trees sure stand out.

On the way back home we ran through a heavy thunder shower but when we got back to the 5th wheel here is what greeted us. See, our Big Sky is really at the end of the rainbow! Of course we had left our chairs outside, so everything was soaked. Hopefully it will dry quickly.
We will be back there Friday so stay tuned... (Oh, and we have some pictures of the scenes we saw today (Thursday), too. More wildflowers and waterfalls to come! And a field for Daisy.


michelle said...

so glad to see some pictures with you guys in them. And that last one needs to be sent into the Montana people. Way cool pic!!!

Guy said...

Hi guys keep up the wonderful pictures and descriptions.
take care the OM and his bride

Anonymous said...

Yellowstone looks beautiful. Love the animal pics and the end of the rainbow. Looks lik a really crowded campground --

Debbie said...

you are so right Dad/Jackie. There is so much to see at the Park! I love our national parks for that reason. Loved the photo of the baby deer (or maybe it was an elk?). Rich and I hiked at Mt. Rainier today and at one point, we noticed a deer right next to us, just off the trail. She/he was munching away. A moment later a baby deer about the size of the one in your photo pranced down the hill to join her. They were no more than 5 feet from us and just kept doing their thing. It was amazing. We are lucky people to see those sorts of things. Love you both!