Thursday, August 31, 2017

20017, August 24 - Trip #1 to Yellowstone National Park via the East Gate

The day was beautiful and it was not expected to rain, so we took another little trip (though not so little as it was about 257 miles) to Yellowstone NP, passing through the Shoshoni National Forest and entering through the EAST gate of Yellowstone; from Cody on Hwy 14/16 to Fishing Bridge (78 miles); then on Hwy 20 to West Thumb (along the West border of Yellowstone Lake, which is HUGE... 21 miles); then on Hwy 191 to Old Faithful (19 miles) where we had a picnic lunch from the back of the pickup truck and got to watch Old Faithful spewing at around 1:09pm; then we drove up to Madison (18 miles); then we took Hwy 89 on to Norris (14 miles); where we took Firehole Canyon Road (which is closed in winter... 12 miles); then back to Fishing Village (17 miles) and back to Cody via the East gate (78 miles). When we got back we were both exhausted though Mary did most of the driving. Now that we have such a nice new vehicle, Bill seldom gets a chance to drive it. Well, Bill got to be the major photographer on this trip.

The scenery was spectacular. A picture (or photo) may paint a thousand words but unfortunately it will never truly portray the image with the same magnificence as it was captured by the photographers or beholders.  We realize that overwhelming a post with photos will make it much more difficult for our readers to be able to view them, yet with so much beauty all around us, it is difficult to curb our photographic enthusiasm, and as this BLOG is intended to be also a sort of photographic album for ourselves, for the years ahead, so we can revisited the many wonderful trip we have taken, we hope you can just give the photos a chance to open to see them, so you can enjoy them as we have. So, we hope that you can benefit somewhat from these photos that we want to share with you.

This building is called The Smith Mansion. It sits on a hill above the Green Creek Inn & RV Park on Hwy 14/16 halfway between Cody and the East Gate of Yellowstone.

This is what happens when one is driving forward but looking for critters to the sides and not paying attention to the traffic ahead that suddenly stopped to photograph something. Ooops!

Bill took this one, for his friend Larry Ermer (because he was thinking of renting an RV)... Really! What other reason could there be. ;-)

  We are confused about this bird. It is the size of an eagle or large hawk, has the beak of an eagle or hawk and the yellow eyes of an eagle, but its coloring is not really that of an eagle. It was flying around near where we did see an American Eagle (flying), but we could not focus on him to get a photo of that one. This one however was perched on a tree, and then we saw its nest with another one in it. Bill suggested an Osprey, though it idoes not really look like a Florida Osprey, and Mary suggested a fledgling Eagle.
Does anyone know what it is?

Further on we came upon a river, which overflowed into the Firehole Falls...

And beyond the falls... the Firehole Swimming Hole where people would be swimming and rafting on inner tubes. We can't even imagine what the temperature of the water might have been... But it looked cold.

And further on.... several rapids

 Whether rivers or water falls or swimming holes or rapids, or ponds
and lakes, water is abundant everywhere in Yellowstone.

 And more waterfalls...

 Then apparently the Corvette Auto Club decided to go out for a spin in Yellowstone. We counted 17 Corvettes in a row. The yellow one must have had point.
 Then we spotted this little guy hiding in the trees. They must feel pretty safe around people because he did not seem upset by our or anyone's presence.  
More thermal features. These sulfuric gases just come up out of the ground from the volcano below, and change their location as earthquakes plug some up and they find other new means of escape. They smell horrible though.

Bill with Old Faithful behind him.However its timetable is not always accurate and can vary by as much as +/- 10  mins. Still, compared to some of the others, which vary by +/- 2-3 hours, every  +/- 10  mins. is accurate enough; hence 'Old Faithful'.  We got there just as one eruption was finishing, so a lot of people went  to their cars and left the parking lot, , giving us a perfect spot next to the viewing area. So, since we had to wait about 45 minutes to the next eruption Mary prepared a picnic lunch from the cooler, which we had right there.

Bill was attacked by a tree branch that gave him a boo-boo. However, shortly there after we were driving along and noticed that the roadway was blocked, so we were suspecting another accident like the one we saw by the side of the road earlier; then... Bear... BEAR!!!   GRIZZLY!!! There was a Grizzly Bear on the side of the road, running back and forth rather upset, because he wanted to cross the road and there was a solid line of cars in BOTH directions blocking his path. Bill opened the door and stepped on the running board to get a better angle on the bear, and Mary rolled down the window and both started to click away. What a treat!!! For us, not for the bear. We were not sure if it was a Brown Bear or a Grizzly, so we asked a Park Ranger later on, who confirmed it was a Grizzly at t hat is their territory, between Canyon Village and Fishing Bridge, along the Yellowstone River Flats.  

Few people get to see a bear without a long-range spotting scope, let alone photograph one this close up. Therefore we felt very privileged.

To this point we still have not seen any Elk (in the wild)
so here's Bill's impersonation of a bull Elk.
 On the way back to Cody, with the sun going down the views are even more
improved as the shadows play on the rocks and the sun glimmers on the water.

Pahaska Tepee just 2 miles outside the East Gate of Yellowstone, and 50 miles west of the city of cody in Wyoming, sits at an elevation of 6,675 feet. It was the hunting lodge and hotel of William "Buffalo Bill" Cody. The Sioux Indians had adopted Buffalo Bill in friendship and it was they that gave him the name 'Pahaska', which means "long hair" in Sioux. 'Tepee' is of course the word for lodge or family dwelling. So it was known as the Pakaska Tepee. 

NEXT POST:  Yellowstone, via the Chief Joseph Scenic Drive to the Northeast Gate

Until then, Happy Trails!

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