Week 826-827 - Magnificent Yellowstone - 06-19-2022

Magnificent Yellowstone


Yellowstone National Park is an amazing display of God's creative handiwork. The park was designated in 1872 by congress and President Ulysses S. Grant and was the beginning of the national park system. We were honored to be here on the 150th anniversary. Being three of the almost 4 million visitors this year, we were greeted with a 20 minute gate wait at West Yellowstone, Montana.
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Then we had a 40 minute drive to go 10 miles. We thought with the heavy traffic, would this be worth it? [Note: If you click on Locate on map you can see where in the park the photo was taken. A new page is shown with the map. You can close the map page as you go, or close all the maps when you are finished viewing. The main travelogue page remains open.]
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However, throughout our stay the traffic was not heavy. This jam was because a brown bear was just across the Madison River. The literature states you shouldn't stop unless there is a pull out. But, nobody listens, including us. You are not going to miss the wildlife. Note that if the bear was on your side of the river, you are required to stay 100 yards away from the bear.
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We rarely make any RV reservations; it generally messes up our plans. However, we have visited Yellowstone three times before, always staying at Grizzly RV Park in West Yellowstone. This time we wanted to stay in the park. Reserving was tough. We needed a 64 foot site and a 51 foot site to accommodate our RVs and two cars. The sites remaining were only 40 foot and 35 foot. So, we rented a 3rd site to park the cars. A bit pricy but worth it.
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In 2008 we stayed at Grizzly RV Park. We were told that you see the most animals at daybreak. So before sunrise, we bundled up, mounted the ScooterShip and drove 30 miles into the park at 36 degrees. The sun came up and the sun went down we saw no wildlife that day. This trip was different. After setting up at Bridge Bay Campground, we just poked our heads out the window for this view.

Wanting to see more, we rose at 5:00 am and drove to Hayden Valley, a good place for animals. This time in the JeepShip, it wasn't cold as we passed by Yellowstone Lake.
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The lady Elk were plentiful and paid us no attention.
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A site you see throughout the park are the fumaroles; steam rising everywhere. These along the Yellowstone River.
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Rivers, lakes and waterfalls are plentiful in the park. Featured here is the brink of Upper Yellowstone Falls. The river has a good flow throughout the year and especially in the spring.
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Bison are seen throughout the park. They are so common that eventually you don't stop for photos. However, this one was so close to the car and posed so nicely. Thanks, Mr. Bison.

Lower Yellowstone Falls is always impressive. This image taken from Lookout Point. If you want a great hike, you can drive over the river and climb down a long stairway to be near the base of the falls.
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Downstream from the lower falls is the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. The 24 mile canyon is as deep as 1200 feet and at times up to 4000 feet across. The rich colors are created by the hot spring activity flowing over the lava rock.

Check the map and you will see that these photos come from the North Loop road. This area is very mountainous with some remaining snow and gorgeous valleys.
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A traffic jam of cars along this road led us to join blocking the traffic so Ellen could snap photos of the mama bear and two cubs. This is always the highlight of a Yellowstone visit.
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The Northwest corner of the park has the park headquarters. And the Mammoth Hot Springs. We got hundreds of great photos of the park. We limited this travelogue to 64 photos plus the maps.
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Rustic Falls on the Gardiner River on Grand Loop in just south of the Mammoth Hot Springs.
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Norris Geyser Basin is full of thermal features. It has the hottest water in the park. One scientific drill hole measured water at 459 degrees Fahrenheit at a depth of 1,087 feet. The weather was a bit drizzling, so we did not take the 1.5 miles hike in the basin. One of Norris's geysers, Steamboat Geyser, is the tallest in the world at 300 to 400 feet.
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Back to the camp so Mandy could stare down the bison out our front window.
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A trip the next day was to Lower Geyser Basin. At 11 square miles it contains Old Faithful and more than 15 other fun geysers. Morning Glory Pool is a must see, as well as other pools and features. Here we are passing by Yellowstone Lake on the way to the basin.

Old Faithful is pretty faithful. It erupts at various intervals, averaging about 90 minutes apart. Our timing was perfect as we joined the crowds just minutes before blast off. While Old Faithful is a favorite, there are more that 500 other geysers in the park.
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Another look at Old Faithful. No, not Pete or Donnalee, the geyser.

From Old Faithful you can take a 1.6 mile walk around Geyser Hill. From the hill you get a nice view of Firehole River and the Old Faithful Inn.

With 50 degrees a good wind chill, we made a quick trip around the path. Heart Spring is part of Geyser Hill. Some of the pools are just beautiful.

Other flows are colorful, but only qualify as interesting. Lion Geyser shoots up every 7 to 8 minutes.

Coming back to camp, more visitors have taken up residence.
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Upon arrival we were notified that we must evacuate the camp and the park. The Yellowstone River in a matter of hours has overflowed its banks. The North Loop of the park put visitors in severe danger. Our South Loop was okay, but out of precaution the entire park was closed. We broke camp and headed East toward Cody, just along the Yellowstone Lake. The North Fork of the Shoshone River was beautifully decorated with floating ice.
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A few waterfalls pour down the south bluffs into the river.

Along the road on the drivers side, we counted 20 waterfalls, some tiny, others quite pleasing.

The national forests you encounter heading toward Cody, Wyoming are also remarkable.
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The amount of beauty the Lord has put in this area is simply stunning! We are so blessed to be able to enjoy it.
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Not so enjoyable are the roads damaged the overflow of Yellowstone River. This is a small part of all the damage. This road is just outside the northern park boundary. We were not on this part of the road, but just a couple miles from it. We praise God that no one was killed during this flooding, and that we were able to enjoy our stay with His protection.
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Next week we visit Montana Mike; Pete and Donnalee's brother.

With love, Pete, Ellen and Mandy

Photos from Jun 2022

The Full Time Motorhome Living Guide

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