Last night after a 10 hour drive, we made it to Madison Campground, in Yellowstone National Park. We took 3 minutes to pitch the tent and then were off to check out the Artists Paintpots and Norris Geyser Basin. We saw the Steamboat geyser (world’s tallest when she blows – around 300 – 400 feet) and of course we smelled the sulfur coming from the various pools of rock, mud, heat, steam and archaebacteria. When I was in University my microbiology prof use to go on and on about the amazing bacteria of Yellowstone and I pretty much ignored him. Not that he is reading this, but he definitely gets an “I told you so” moment. The park was amazing. The geographic wonders cannot adequately be expressed with words or pictures.
This morning we got up to see the bulk of our Yellowstone wish list. Lower and midway geysers basins, the amazing grand prismatic spring, the black sands basin, mud volcano, fountain paint pots and, of course, old faithful were all on the list. I’d have to say the sunset pool was tied with grand prismatic spring for my favorite geographic wonder. Ray couldn’t get over the never ending pockets of steam rising from the land. If you didn’t know better you would have assumed Yellowstone was on fire. If you were a photo enthusiast and a geography nerd, this park would be heaven (yes Chris, we spent much of the day thinking how much you would have enjoyed this). We also visited the grand canyon of Yellowstone, complete with waterfalls.
However, though the volcanic geographic wonders of Yellowstone exceeded expectation (its not often things live up to the hype) our favorite moment was by far the bison. When we began our trip through the southern loop I was hoping to see “A” bison. Singular. About 3 minutes after leaving our campsite we saw a few cars on the side of the road. Ray exclaimed “I see a bison.” As we got closer and pulled the car over we noticed it was not one, but a whole herd, grazing in the field. I got out to take some pictures, but they started moving. So I started moving. They crossed, parents and calves, through a river. I was blocked in by a fumarole, so I ran back to the car and we drove down the road – in their direction. Sure enough the whole herd came towards us. I counted about 80, though there may have been more. We we about 30 feet away from them when we finally turned around and kept on our way. They are large majestic creatures and I loved every minute of it.
(this also spawned a conversation on the nature of plural. What if there was 1 s for every item. This would make it bisonssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss or so. Glad those in charge of grammar thought differently).
So now we are in Cody Wyoming, enjoying a relaxing evening. Tomorrow we are off to explore the Bighorn Medicine Wheel, Devil’s Tower, and then off to South Dakota to meet up with Kate and Aaron. Going to another glorious, and HOT (today reached 90) day.