Yellowstone National Park Part II

May 28, 2009 2:57 pm

Day 10 – Yellowstone National Park Part II

Today we awoke at 8am for day two at Yellowstone. We mention the time, 8am, because Ben has developed an eerie internal alarm clock that wakes him, and everyone else, up at precisely 8am. At first we thought it was a fluke but after the third or fourth time it happened we’re pretty sure it’s not. So anyways, we got on the road shortly thereafter to travel the northern loop of the park. The first part of the trip took us over another mountain, lending more spectacular views of Yellowstone and the surrounding landscape (at this point we’ve kind of gotten spoiled by so many amazing sights.)

Old Faithful

Old Faithful

 

Serious Snow Blower

Serious Snow Blower

The farther north we ventured, the lower we got in elevation. This meant less snow, more meadows, and a variety of different animals. Our first major stop was a beautiful waterfall that cascaded down and joined with another river to form a fairly intense river. We made it down to a small beach area at river’s edge and wandered around for a while.

Waterfall

Waterfall

Canyon where we saw goats

Canyon where we saw goats

We couldn’t go on every road we wanted to…

We couldn’t go on every road we wanted to…

From there the next major stop was Mammoth Springs. This is Yellowstone National Park headquarters. It was where the army was stationed in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Many of the army barracks and other military buildings are still standing today.

Historic Military Building

Historic Military Building

Mammoth Springs is so named for hot springs that have formed massive hills of rock. They were similar to the springs of yesterday but much larger and actually a lot drier at this particular time.

Mammoth Hot Springs

Mammoth Hot Springs

Huge Piles of Minerals

Huge Piles of Minerals

 

After Mammoth Springs we headed back south. Within a few miles we had the unique privilege of watching a herd of buffalo cross literally right in front of our car. At one point a buffalo walked within arm’s length of Matt’s passenger window. These beasts are enormous. We felt that our car would not stand a chance against one of these monsters should one decide to swing its head our way.

Buffalo Crossing

Buffalo Crossing

Our last memorable stop before returning to the campsite was a place called Sheepeater Cliff. We didn’t stay long at the cliff, though, as we decided to take a hike through the woods. We followed the edge of the cliffs which overlooked a river for about a mile.

Gorge with lots of water racing through it.

Gorge with lots of water racing through it.

Ben and Matt got the urge to do some rock climbing and decided to descend the cliffs. Going down was easy, only about 20 feet. However, Ben decided to take the hard way back up and nearly got stuck. The major problem was that all the rocks were loose and didn’t provide any good hand holds. Fortunately he managed to make the top without any significant harm befalling him. Matt and Peter were a little wiser, taking easier ways back up.

Rock Climbing

Rock Climbing

We made it back to the campsite around 5pm and hung out until dinner. After dinner we went down to the marsh to watch the sunset, which was absolutely beautiful. And we also invented a new game called Obstacle Frisbee which entails us trying to throw the Frisbee to each other through a maze of trees. Needless to say the Frisbee is slightly deformed after smashing into many trees.

 

Matt decided to make a crazy fire castle. Peter made Matt be a man and light his castle with flint and steel, instead of “cheating” and using the lighter.

 

Meanwhile Ben decided to carve NH, his name, and “Official Poker” into a stick that we have been using to poke the fire and also to retrieve pots of water. The hope is that we will leave the poker for other campers, who will respect its role as Official Fire Poker.

 

This was our last night in Yellowstone and we will be sad to see it go. But tomorrow we head off to Glacier National Park for what we expect to be more spectacular views.

 

P.S. – For those of you that have been wondering, we now have pictures of 43 out of 50 state licenses. Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Mississippi, West Virginia, Delaware, and North Dakota still elude us.

Also, our car passed 4,000 miles for the trip today! Still chugs like a charm.

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