Friday, September 9, 2011

Yellowstone National Park

Old Faithful
We were able to secure a campsite in Yellowstone itself, which was sweet because Yellowstone is a big park. We would have lots of driving, as it is, but it would have been even more if we were staying outside the park. We had a site at Bridge Bay, close to Fishing Bridge.  The good thing about our site?? It was not only in the park, but pretty centrally located, as well.  The not so great things??  Well, no hookups, tight, tight sites for big rigs, and generator restrictions.  You’re allowed to run your generator between 8 am & 8 pm.  Coincidentally, those are also the hours that you’re typically nowhere near your rig because you’re out sightseeing.  Yes, due to buffalo jams and a long day trip to the Tetons, we completely missed running our generator two evenings=some really cold nights where we either had no heat at all or heat only the first part of the night.  Alas, it just added to the adventure of it all, and it certainly reminded me that I was ever so grateful we weren’t camping in a tent!

We entered the park through the east entrance and wound our way to our campsite at Bridge Bay.  Even though the mileage is not necessarily big from one place to the next, the traffic, animals, and speed limits make it pretty slow-going.  Interestingly enough, at the entrance to the park, there was a sign posted saying that all lodging within the park was at full capacity.  However, upon arriving at the campground, it was obvious that the loop next to us was completely vacant & apparently closed, and within the other loops, there were plenty of vacant spots. And when Steve had booked our reservation, he was told that he had secured the last available spot.  What in the world??!?  

Notice the fires burning across Yellowstone Lake.
 These would intensify as our time here went on.
We stayed super busy here!  Day one was spent getting set up, visiting the Fishing Bridge visitor center & obtaining Junior Ranger books.  We talked to an awesome husband and wife ranger team who gave us lots of good info.  Afterwards,we went on the Pelican Creek Nature Trail.  It was a nice, easy little hike with lots of wildflowers and a pretty little beach area with lots of animal tracks.   

Day two we spent going around the south side of the loop to Old Faithful.  Not only did we see Old Faithful erupt & predict its next eruption, we spent most of the afternoon walking the boardwalk through a plethora of geysers, springs, and pools.  We were able to see the Beehive erupt, which is not a commonplace thing to see as its eruption intervals are less frequent & predictable!  We also witnessed the Anemone erupt right next to the boardwalk; Alyssa even got splashed by it & verified that it is indeed super hot!  Having never seen anything like this in real life before, it was super cool.   We also saw the awesome Grand Prismatic Spring, then stopped by the Fountain Paint Pots and got drenched in a sudden cold rain.
Beehive geyser.  This one erupts every 13 hrs.  It is much more spectacular than old faithful.

On day three we drove up to Mammoth Hot Springs.  By this time, we were starting to get a bit of an overload of sulphur smell.  The Canary Hot Springs were beautiful though!   We drove home through part of the loop that runs along the top of the park and stopped at the petrified tree and Tower falls. We got home really late due to a buffalo jam between Canyon and Fishing Bridge.  The buffalo were crossing from one side of the road to the other, with no regard for all the vehicles on the road whatsoever!   
No lack of Buffalo
 We decided to spend day four a little differently.  We had a slow start in the morning and ran our generator for a long time before leaving to explore Canyon Village.  On the way, we stopped at the Mud Volcano and Dragon Mouth Hot Springs. This is so close to Sulphur Caldron, which is sooo incredibly smelly that you smell it every time you simply drive by it.  The pH of Sulphur Caldron is close to that of battery acid & it smells so bad, that we didn’t even bother stopping to see it!

We continued on to Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River.  Soooooo beautiful! We hiked the 328 steps down to see it and back.  Since we had sleeping kids, we took turns.  Alyssa did this hike twice, once with Steve & once with me!  Amazing!

We drove to the Brink of Lower Falls & discovered it was another big hike down.  Again, we took turns, and this time, Shanan did the hike twice.  Genna was bummed about not going, but Steve knew he’d have to carry her & wasn’t thrilled about that option, and so we took turns staying back with the little ones.  Again, another spectacular view!  The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone was beautiful!  We’d definitely come visit this part of the park again.   It is by far our favorite section of Yellowstone!

In an attempt to see more wildlife, we decided to drive up to the Lamar Valley for the evening.  It seems that the wildlife hears the Zavocki’s are coming and find places to hide!  It was pretty, for sure, but it was also freezing cold!  Silly Steve had worn shorts, and we had no blankets in the truck, so we hastily ate our picnic dinner while gazing at the multitudes of buffalo in the distance, dashed back to the truck, and began a long journey back to the RV.  Thankfully we made it home without another buffalo jam.

1 comment:

Randi~Dukes and Duchesses said...


We have friends who were in Yellowstone a couple of weeks before you were and they camped in a tent ... they said it was absolutely freezing!