Sunday, May 9, 2010

Yellowstone National Park, WY

Yesterday we drove from Columbia Falls MT (near Glacier) to Boseman, MT... a long day of traveling. We stayed just one night at the Sunrise RV Park... a very nice park with the cutest, most rustic lounge I've seen! Very friendly staff and a nice RV spot.

Today we drove about 75 miles from Boseman to Gardiner, MT... about 4 blocks from the northern entrance (the oldest entrance) to Yellowstone National Park. The Rocky Mountain RV park is located on a hill, so we can look down on the town of Gardiner as well as the surrounding mountains... beautiful! Apparently, there are deer and elk that come into the park occasionally... obvious by all of the deer and elk poop on the rv sites. In all fairness to the owners, it's a lost cause to try and keep the park clear of poop. The owners are very friendly and they are going to dog sit for us tomorrow and Tuesday while we explore Yellowstone.

After we set up, we decided to see the town of Gardiner... that took all of 10 minutes! It's a cute little town that looks kind of like the old west. We stopped in the visitor's center and the woman gave us a map of Yellowstone and showed us which roads were open and which were closed. So, since it was only 1:00, we decided to take a short drive into the park. Just an aside... for those of you who can get a Senior Pass, get it! It allows you (and everyone in your car) free entrance into national parks. Yellowstone has a $25 fee per car... so we saved $75 for 3 days! We've saved literally hundreds of dollars on this trip because of Ed's senior pass!

Anyway, the short drive through Yellowstone produced great results! Aside from the gorgeous natural scenery, we saw several types of wildlife: deer, elk, big horned sheep, buffalo, and a grizzly bear!! And that was just during a 40 mile round trip! It was almost as much fun watching the people watching the animals!

Can you find the Big Horn Sheep in the picture on the right??

We also spent about 2 hours walking around the Mammoth Hot Springs...incredible! Basically, "several key ingredients combine to make the Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces: heat, water, limestone, and a rock fracture system through which hot water can reach the earth's surface." Steam rises from the streams and ponds that are created and the area smells like sulphur. Visitors have to stay on the boardwalks, due to the extreme heat of the waters and the fragile state of the surrounding areas. A lot of the pictures we took look like snow, but it's actually travertine deposits. Here's a good link that explains the process:

Tomorrow, we'll take the road that ends up at the northeast entrance in Cooke City. Supposedly, we should be able t o see lots of wolves along that drive. Then on Tuesday we'll travel down to Old Faithful and hopefully see more wildlife on the way.

Personally, the grizzly bear sighting was worth the entire trip!


Vera said...

Beautiful pictures! But I often do you get to see a grizzly bear!

Rena and Ed said...

I have to give all the credit to Ed for the pictures...I take one or two, he takes a zillion! He's become quite the photographer! Wait'll you see today's blog...mamma bear with 2 cubs!!