|Yellowstone...what a treasure.|
This is a little after the fact but sometimes these blogs run around in my head but I lack the discipline to sit down and put them on paper (or in this case the computer). We are in Missoula now and are headed towards Portland. John has had this destination on his list for awhile so since he's the driver, that's where we will go. I have us set up for 2 weeks at the Columbia River Resort. We read that it is easy to use public transportation to go into the city so that's our plan. I'm not complaining as it is a mecca for yarn shoppers and I love, love , love yarn shops!
|View from the Biscuit Basin Overlook|
So back to Yellowstone. It seems fitting that we visit this park, the first National Park on the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. We have been close to this park on several occasions over the last 6 years but for one reason or another we were unable to spend time here. I planned a week and really that is not enough time but the RV parks in this area are pricey and we are pushing the season a bit so a week is all we planned.
We stayed in Gardiner MT just north (as in spitting distance) of the north entrance to the park . I tried to get us into the Fishing Bridge campground in the park but they were full and I made that call 8 months in advance. Instead we paid the bucks and stayed at Rocky Mountain RV Park. It is on a hill overlooking the town and within walking distance, though up a steep hill, of the restaurants and shops, so a very convenient location. It was a well kept up park and I think we would stay here again though I believe our next visit we want to be near the Tetons and the southern portion of the park.
Mother nature was not our friend this week though and out of the seven days we really only had 2 nice days. The rest of the days were chilly and rainy on and off. Monday it snowed in the higher elevations and Thursday when we were at the Canyon Village it was spitting snow. To further complicate things there were several fires that had places closed down and on Monday they closed the road south through Norris so anywhere we wanted to go after that he had to travel the loop and over the pass.
|This fire really kicked up while we were at Old Faithful|
Even with all the frustrations we enjoyed what we got to do. On our 2 nice days we hiked Lost Lake trail that starts right behind the Roosevelt Lodge. This is a beautiful mountain hike with about 400 ft elevation change to a beautiful mountain lake. I think this was our favorite hike. The weather was beautiful and there was no one on the trail with us. That feeling of being alone in nature is such a joy and in busy national parks sometimes hard to find unless you are willing to go uphill.
Our second hike was Mystic Falls. The trail head is at the back of the Biscuit Basin area. We got to the sign and it had Mystic Falls both directions at about .7 miles one way and an Overlook area about .7 the other and the falls 1.7 mi. We decided to go to the Overlook thinking it would be a good vantage point to see the falls. What the sign didn't say was it wasn't an Overlook for the falls but for the Basin so 1 mile later and 600 ft of elevation change we had a beautiful view of the area and were exhausted. It was a climb and these slightly out-of-shape flatlanders did some huffing and puffing all the way up (and a decent amount of complaining). However it was well worth the effort as the views were stunning. The rest of the hike to the falls and back were a little easier and Mystic Falls is beautiful.
We did some other touring by car with short hikes since the weather was not great. We saw the geysers, Old Faithful, the Artist Paint Pots, Mammoth Hot springs and the Canyon area. The lower falls of the canyon are also a stunning site to see. The view from Artists Point is not to be missed, It is the most photographed point in the park and for good reason.
|Lower Falls from Artists' Point|
Our last trip into the park is when we viewed the most wildlife. Elk are plentiful and all you have to do is go to Mammoth Hot Springs and hang out at the visitors center to see a bull elk and his harem. On Thursday we saw a huge herd of Bison. They were on both sides of the road. We also got to see some Long Horned Sheep and Mule Deer. We had a couple places people sighted bears and of course the ensuing traffic jam as every one wanted to get a photo. I always wonder what the bears think of that. People just act crazy trying to get photos. The poor rangers who are trying to keep both the people and wild life safe sure have their work cut out for them.
The combination of weather and construction kept us from exploring the southern part of the park and the Tetons so we decided we'll just have to come back and explore those later. I think I will plan for us to stay in the Tetons that trip and do both from there. One of the things I like about this lifestyle is knowing I can return another time and we don't have to do it all at once. The joy of being retired.
I am so glad we finally made it to Yellowstone and I am so thankful for these Public Lands and the opportunity it gives us to explore this incredibly beautiful country we live in. So Happy Birthday to the National Parks may we protect and enjoy them for centuries to come.
|Goodbye for now Yellowstone.|