Tuesday, August 4, 2009

22 hours in Yellowstone

It was a little past 1pm when we reached the east entrance to the park. The ranger informed us it was a free weekend and gave some maps. I tried to pay since we would eventually need to, but not going to happen here so on we went.

The road climbs over a pass then descends to the Yellowstone Lake and crosses Fishing Bridge. Jenny had a plan and guided us to the Lower Falls overlook in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. We passed through a busy bison watching area on the way, but unlike seemingly everyone else, failed to need to stop in the middle of the road every hundred feet. We made two short hikes at different overlooks, the falls were incredible and by far the biggest I've seen. When the boys had enough looking we stopped at the visitor center in Canyon, Jenny for more information and the boys for the gift shop.

Since we had a campsite reserved in Grant Village we headed that way next so we could be setup before dinner. At the check in booth the lady informed us we were in bear country now and gave us a list of things not to do while camping, then she added there had been bears in the area. Maybe it's just me but I would have liked a bit more detail on that statement. "In the area" is too vague. Is the area 5 miles or in the campsite next to mine? I didn't ask because had she said they wander through the campground I might have left for a hotel.

We setup camp quickly, tent, hammock, and even our yet to be tried slackline. Dinner was two bags of Lipton noodles to keep it simple. Our campstove is a multi-fuel backpacking model from years ago when Jenny and I considered backpack camping.

After dinner we drove a couple of miles to the West Basin thermal pool area for sunset. This area turned out to be my favorite of the few we visited. As the sky darkened the mosquitoes got worse so we headed back and to bed. I slept ok but the campground was pretty loud all night. No noises that had me grabbing for the pepper spray was a relief.

Jenny and I were up early, too early really, but I wake up once it gets light so by 6:30 we had water on for coffee. Kevin was up shortly after and back to reading his book. Zack on the other hand was still out cold as I packed all the other sleeping bags and half disassembled the tent. Once we got packed it was off to Old Faithful. At least for me the cyclists we passed as they climbed over the continental divide were more impressive than the geyser. The Old Faithful area is really busy and that detracts from the impressiveness of the geysers. The water show went as promised and with the boys declining lunch we headed for Grand Teton National Park and more camping.