Friday, October 1, 2010

Good-Bye Yellowstone

It was time to leave Yellowstone Park.  Some of you readers may be saying "good riddance," for it has taken up several blogs but there is so much to see in the park that it is impossible to cover it all in just a couple entries. Be patient it will take a couple more.  We stayed two nights and three days in Yellowstone, and that was not nearly enough to see it all.  It would be nice to stay a week so that there would be time to take some of he hikes, sit and watch a couple sunsets, and maybe see a bear.  For us, though, the time is over.
We left at sunrise after taking a last look at some of the thermal springs around Old Faithful, we got comfortable in the van and started driving to see what visions would appear today.
Steam leaking from breaks in the earth mixed with fog in a clouds that added to the mystery of the morning. So far we were among very few people on the road.  We have tried to avoid crowds along our trip but at Yellowstone that is hard to do of you want to see the main attractions in just three days.
September is the last week that much of the park is open. Summer workers leave before October 1st, the stores close, all the lodges but one close and the campgrounds close.Maintenance crews were busy putting up tall poles along the side of the roads for the snow plow driver to use as a guide.
Here near the end of September there were few enough people that we had no trouble getting into sites or spotting wildlife, one on the more exciting things to being a first-time visitor.
We weren't disappointed this morning. It wasn't long before we saw elk along a creek. . .

and buffalo grazing in the meadow.
I never grew tired of seeing the buffalo. I still can't get over the size of their enormous heads.  Their size must give them confidence because none of the buffalo seemed very bothered by us.
But there was much more than animals to see today.  We made it to Devil's Cauldren . . .

and Mud Volcano.  
Remember that Yellowstone is an active volcano.  It last erupted 240,000 years ago. The thermal pool area is actually the caldera of the volcano where heat from the earth's core come to the surface through cracks and fissures in its surface. Yellowstone's wooden boardwalks around boiling springs are actually built within the rim of the volcano.  Once you realize that, it changes your view of the landscape.  We could see how the mountains around us were actually the edges of a giant bowl inside which we were driving and walking around.
Even waiting road construction was interesting. The road was lined with steam leaking up around us and boiling water flowing through the streams.
As we headed north and toward the northeast entrance, we left the caldera and drove into the mountains which surround Yellowstone. An older, narrower road, this loop is less traveled and also less developed. It is here that the wolf pack travels, the grizzlies forage and to where the buffalo migrate. We were interested to see what it would hold for us.

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