The answer to the last question of my senses overwhelmed by campfires, pine trees, and starts is YES. What a great night we had! We weren’t able to get Monday night at the same park so we’re now off to the west side of the park, where we’ll hopefully be able to get on wifi and upload my last five days.
Yesterday’s adventures were only beginning when we entered the park. Just as we got into the park, we saw tons of cars parked along a non-pullover area, which means there’s an animal to see and photograph. It was a moose and her baby!! Of course, I got as many pics as possible and thought it was as neat as can be. Yeah, we finally saw AND took pictures of all the animals we wanted to! We went immediately to our campground to set up our tent and what do you know, Bismark the Buffalo was right by our tent site. We knew he was close since when we checked in, they told us there was a buffalo roaming around the camp area. I was surprised, to say the least, that they would be roaming around the people and tents. When we talked to the lady at checkin, I asked about how often they see bears and she was very nonchalant when she said, “Oh we haven’t seen one in a week or so” like it had been FOREVER. I just said OK and we went on our merry way, making sure we followed the bear rules. We dumped the firewood out and went ahead and set up our tent, which was difficult since it was very windy. I was already questioning our decision to camp there. The boys ate their lunch in the truck while Andy and I set the tent up, watching Bismark get closer and closer. He just grazed, then took time for a dust bath, and had a good ole’ Bismark time.
Then we were on our way to the mud volcano. That was actually pretty unimpressive, because we ended up seeing the Dragon’s Mouth Spring first. It sounded like what you would imagine a dragon sounding like when he was blowing fire. I got a video, which unfortunately only sounds like the water lapping at the sides of the little pond. The concept of the Dragon’s Mouth Spring is a cave where gas is bubbling up and causing the waves and as the waves go back into the cave, it traps the gas and then the gas escapes when the waves to back out, sounding like dragon’s breath. Very cool. The mud volcano was similar to mud pots, just an area of bubbling mud. Neat, but again, after the other thing, pretty uneventful.
Around this time, we saw that there was a HUGE plume of smoke coming from the forest. Ok, NOT a good thing. It was quite impressive how it grew so fast and high into the atmosphere. It looked fairly close to our camping area but we thought that we would hear something if it got dangerous.
After about an hour walking around the dragon and mud volcano area, we headed to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. There were several pretty points along the way to the main one, so we stopped several times and got some amazing pictures of the canyon. The Yellowstone River goes through the canyon and it’s an amazing emerald color. The falls are about 310 feet and you can hear the roar of them from several thousand feet away. I thought it was neat that Andy and I got to see two Grand Canyon’s in a matter of months!
We ended up at the Canyon Village and had a yummy root beer float made with Old Faithful Root Beer. It didn’t stand a chance between the four of us!
We started our way back to the campsite, thinking it wouldn’t take long. Wrong. There was a huge traffic backup, so I’m thinking an accident, bear, or something like that. It took a good 30 minutes to get to where Bismark’s friends were meandering along the road like they owned it. It was pretty funny to see. What are we going to do, honk? I think not. I think they wanted us to be sure that THEY were in charge! It’s funny that when we first got into the park, we were sooo excited to see buffalo and by the second day, it’s no big deal. Oh, another buffalo, whupdeedo.
We saw helicopters taking water and dumping it on the forest fire, one of which filled up it’s bucket very near us in the Yellowstone Lake. It was neat to see, but sad to think about the beautiful forest being burned, especially since so much of it has already been burned in the last 22 years. The worse fire got over 50% of the park in 1988 and can see the regrowth of the trees. Some areas look like they aren’t growing anything at this point. Very sad to see, especially since a lot of it was caused by people being careless with fire.
We went through another storm, no hail this time, and got back to a damp tent. Only a few small areas on two sleeping bags got wet, so we got them out to dry. The sun came out and the wind was gone, so we were pretty happy about that. We all walked to the little store close to our camp area and to the lake where we could play in the sand a little and get our hands wet. Boy, was it cold!!!
We got a good campfire going after dusk and asked the neighboring campers if they wanted to join us for roasted marshmallows since they didn’t have a fire going. They came over when the fire died down and we had a very nice visit with them. They are from Wisconsin and had been traveling from the Tetons and through both loops of Yellowstone. They were going to head back home, which takes them a LOT longer than it takes us! They had two teenage boys and one 3 year old boy and were fun to talk to. I just don’t have any idea how they packed all their stuff into a minivan with a small luggage carrier.
Oh, we just passed a tiny little pond with lilly pads and frogs, cute!
The night went well, wasn’t windy nor did it seem exceptionally cold. I got warm so took off my extra socks and gloves. The boys slept well too. The only problem is that Andy and I both had our ears wide open and kept thinking that we heard wild animals. Who knows if we actually heard anything, but we both thought there was a wild dog in there somewhere! You can hear EVERYTHING in a campsite so that’s been an interesting adjustment when you’re used to a very quiet house.
We went to see Old Faithful again (that’s THREE times for me and Tyler) while we waited for the only building in the area with wifi to be cleared from the fire alarm.
We’re looking forward to our next adventure tonite. We have plenty of fire wood and marshmallows, so I think we’re set!
More pictures to come soon.....after we find the cord to upload them....