I traveled through Yellowstone NP in the mid 60's on a weekend jaunt from Denver, Colorado; a very fast trip in a small 'bug eyed' Austin Healey Sprite. I was lucky enough see it again on a motorcycle in the mid 70's. Both trips were fast and the motorcycle trip was in snow, so when Dorothy said she really wanted to see this park, we decided to make this our turning point. We basically drove westerly from Florida until we enjoyed the park, then we would head north to Canada.
The little sports car/top down, was a fabulous way to see the park. So too was a motorcycle, breathing the different fragrances and sensing the temperature and moisture conditions-being so aware of your surroundings! However, I add as an equal, traveling in a motor home. The comforts we now enjoyed in our vehicle allowed us to relax. We could now travel at any pace we wished as food, bathroom, sleeping accommodations were all present in our vehicle. So relax we did and we took our time to view this amazing national treasure.
Leaving Cody Wyoming mid day, we continued west towards the Park as we knew there were a good number of government parks just off the road before entering Yellowstone. We choose Park Service, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Corps. of Engineer campgrounds whenever possible as these are usually the most natural. Built up to a hundred years ago, they had options for the best sites and were done in a primitive manner, leaving 'nature' as their focal point, not some man made accommodation like putt putt golf, swimming pools, snack store, etc. Also, since they were paid for so long ago, they are paid for and cost little to maintain. Volunteers often are caretakers during seasons they are open. This keeps the cost to visit or stay overnight at one of these park campgrounds very reasonable. We checked out a couple of these campgrounds leading west into the NP and the third one we chose looked ideal.
We were parked alongside a large stream with gentle rapids. The setting sun illuminated a rugged ridge across the valley in a pallet of color. Not yet in Yellowstone, but life was good.
Streams and rivers abound and of course that means rapids and water falls. We stopped often, camera in hand to capture the scene and to just relax and enjoy what we were apart of.
|THE WATERFALLS WERE EVERYWHERE AND ALWAYS SPECTACULAR IN THEIR OWN WAY.|
Stopping often at the offered 'pull off's' we found several wonderful thermal areas with pools of clear water, most quite hot, and some showing signs of chemical and biological action coloring the water with beauty and possible danger.
Yellowstone NP made geysers famous. Old Faithful is probably the most know. It seems to erupt about every hour to hour and a half, continuously.
Beyond a mountain near Old Faithful we could see a large thunderstorm heading our way. In the opposite direction we saw the smoke from a forest fire that had just started. Things were getting interesting.
We dried off inside the motor home and donned dry clothes before heading off. As we drove south, we noticed the fire increase in size and a few days later, returning to the park from Jackson Hole we came across the damage done. The fire seemed to start at a picnic area on the north side of a large lake.
A marina on the lake made for a good stop. None of the boats were particularly large but some were classic.
Note too, the next fire off behind the mountain.... sigh.
All in all, it was an exhausting day.......................