“Hey, hey, Boo-Boo, let’s get one o’ them pick-a-nick baskets!” We made it to Yellowstone! We are on “Yogi watch” status. We weren’t real thrilled with the great state of Idaho’s Department of Transportation road repairing skills. To get here we came over Hwy 93 to Hwy 43 and into Montana. The road/pass through the Bitterroot Mountains was good but the Idaho parts of Hwy. 93 and Hwy. 43 left a lot to be desired as far as the cheesy pavement repairs Idaho made. They threw loose oily asphalt over damaged areas but I guess they never heard of rolling the repairs. The rocks and tar kicked up and assailed our toad Jeep, making an extreme mess requiring tedious and time consuming laborious efforts to clean up. It still left dings in the paint. We immediately ordered a Roadmaster Guardian protective shield for towed cars. Not happy with Idaho DOT.
Yellowstone is an awesome National Park. We have been here for a 10 day visit, we stayed just outside the North entrance at Yellowstone RV Park in Gardiner, MT. The RV park is right on the Yellowstone River and the majority of the spaces are occupied by Yellowstone Park employees. It is a bit pricey, base nightly rate of $52 minus Good Sam discount. It does, however, have numerous large sites, both back-in and pull-thru, which more than accomodate big coaches.
Home in Yellowstone RV Park
From the RV park you can see the arch entrance to Yellowstone Park
The weather during our stay has been erratic at best. We’ve been rained on, thunder and lightening’ed on, serious wind blown, clear sun some days, and it has just kept us guessing as to what way to dress for each day. One night it got sooooooo windy we feared for the safety of our slide toppers, so we pulled in all 4 slide-outs. And, a majority of our time here was spent in very cool weather. “I AM TIRED OF BEING COLD!”
Yellowstone Park is a large expanse of real estate, with basically a figure 8 for roads through the park which covers more than a couple hundred miles, plus entrance/exit roads to the 5 entrances of the park. We spent 7 days inside the park, I was focused on the different geological sights whereas Jeanne was INTENSELY focused on seeing critters of the large variety! She was not disappointed, we got to see coyotes, mule deer, bighorn sheep, bull elk, grizzly and black bears, buffalo, and pronghorn antelope. About the only critters we did not get to see were moose and wolves. We spent one early evening out in Lamar Valley, popular for critter watching, and one early morning. Herds and herds of buffalo and elk…
Mrs. Elk, having a snack in downtown Mammoth Hot Springs Village
Wile E. Coyote looking for the Roadrunner.
Mr. Bear, hitchhiking on the highway.
Everyone in the Mrs. Elk family having snacks in the village.
Mrs. Bear and her two cubs, one playing like he is an acrobat on the fallen log.
The whole herd of Tatanka! (Lamar Valley)
When Jeanne yelled out “Horns!”, I had no clue what she was caterwauling about.
The geological sights here are spectacular. Prior to coming, I had no clue about such things other than Old Faithful. But there are lots of other features to be seen, the most awesome, in my opinion, being the Grand Prismatic Springs which is near Old Faithful. The colors are overwhelming. There are many geysers, springs, waterfalls, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, and Mammoth Hot Springs, all very scenic experiences. There are many trails throughout the park, unfortunately for you dog owners, dogs are not allowed more than 100’ off any roadway and not allowed on trails or boardwalks. Another downer for the park is the construction they are doing in certain areas. Even though we were here early in the season, traffic became problematic with road closures and flagged traffic areas, especially between Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris.
The Grand Prismatic Springs
Grand Prismatic Springs from another viewpoint.
Excelsior Geyser’s crater, at Grand Prismatic Springs. Gives new meaning to the phrase “deep blue”!
Dragon’s Mouth Spring, very noisy while it belches forth hot water
Mud Volcano, in it’s earlier days it would spew mud into the treetops
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, just below Lower Falls
Palette Spring at Mammoth Hot Springs
Minerva Terrace at Mammoth Hot Springs
Clepsydra Geyser. This one just kept spewing…
My suggestion for anyone new to Yellowstone, DRIVE CAREFULLY! You never know when coming around a curve if you might encounter a stopped traffic jam. Some folks are clueless about driving two lane roads with no shoulder area and will stop dead in the middle, even after a deep curve, just to see a critter. But there are many long straight-aways where you will be able to see traffic stopped and lots of folks spread out along the shoulder with high powered spotting scopes and cameras. That would be what we will call “a clue” that maybe a large critter would be visible nearby.
Our only regret is that we never brought the kids here when they were young to see the awesome beauty, power, and variety that nature has to offer. Suggestion number 2: if you have young kids, bring ‘em here if you have the means and opportunity!
Now, it will be off to the Grand Tetons for a spell. TTFN…