Yellowstone: Passing Thru

by kfrego

Linda and I looked forward to visiting Yellowstone National Park on our way from New Hampshire to Idaho. All Jamie and Dori wanted was out of the car. With nearly two thousand miles behind them they were ready to stop anytime. We spent a little while in Cody, Wyoming and looked over Buffalo Bill Dam on the way to the east entrance of the park. The winds were up and blowing hard down the east slopes of the Rockies as we stood on the overlook at the dam. The winds subsided as we entered the park and descended to the shores of Yellowstone Lake. We were quite a ways into the park before we encountered our first bear begging on the side of the road. He was an old timer and consumed every snack we flipped through the partially opened window. The kids were delighted watching the bear.We spent a considerable amount of time at Old Faithful. The kids enjoyed walking the elevated board sidewalks through the areas of hot mud pots, hot springs, steam vents, and geysers. It doesn’t matter your age or how often you have seen Old Faithful erupt in it’s surge of steam and water, it’s always impressive. You have to be standing near when the geyser erupts to feel the vibrations of good old mother earth trembling under your feet as she builds enough pressure for the timely eruptions. Not far from Old Faithful the scenery is breath taking as the river winds downstream through the alpine meadows with lush vegetation and occasional hot springs. Deer, elk, buffalo, and moose are in abundance.

Yellowstone Falls is also a very scenic and picturesque site to see. The mists and thunderous noise keep you from getting too close. It’s amazing to think you would ever find a place where high waterfalls, a huge beautiful lake, and numerous geysers were so close together. Mammoth Hot Springs are between the falls and the north gate. There is a large hotel adjacent to the springs. The springs trickle up through a huge mound of mineral deposits created from the cooling water as it hits the surface of the earth. There were numerous walkways and scenic paths in the area. The smell of sulfur permeates the area around the hot springs. You soon learn to pay attention to which way the breeze is blowing so you don’t get caught downwind of the springs.As the highway winds from Mammoth Hot Springs down to Gardiner, Montana there were several high rock ledges adjacent to the road. Bighorn sheep on the ledges could be observed up close from your car if you watched for them and utilized the turnouts for parking. From Gardiner the highway followed the Yellowstone River north about forty miles to intersect with Interstate 94 at Livingston, MT. The wind blows forever along the river canyon and at Livingston. The interstate highway had airport style windsocks to show trucks, trailers, etc the wind speed and direction. The interstate was littered with debris from tipped trucks and trailers.

If I could fulfill a wish everybody in the USA would get to visit Yellowstone National Park……..even the politicians.