Thursday, June 21, 2012

Yellowstone (continued)

All in all, we spent 4 days in Yellowstone and the surrounding area of West Yellowstone. We visited the park each day and got out of the car at every stop off, look off, and easy hike.

Yeah, no. I have no idea what the hell that face (---^) is about.

So, Yellowstone = Old Faithful, right? At least, to most people it does. Well, my Yellowstone spoiler includes this tip: Old faithful is pretty damn far down the list of awesome things to witness in Yellowstone. As evidence, we went and sat in the seats surrounding Old Faithful just in time for her to spout. And when she did spout? The kids could not be torn away from picking up tiny black stones in order to look at Old Faithful, no matter how many times their Grandma tried to convince them to look at it.

I did convince Mo to smile for me in front of Old Faithful, only you would never know it since his big ol' thunder dome of a head is covering what's left of the spout.

And then, there were more hot water pools and sulphur smells and big trees and wild animals. One of my favorite moments was Friday evening, when we were leaving the park close to sunset and had to pull over on the side of the road to let some bossy bison pass. We pulled to the right and put on our hazard lights along with 2 or 3 other cards, and I got out of the car (I was on the far side with a van between the animals and me) to take some pictures. Just as they were about to pass the van, the veered very slowly and  - we can only assume - very deliberately toward the van and walked about 8-10 feet from the driver's side. By this time I was back in the car with everyone else (I had gone back in the car when the bison got about 10 yards away because I'm no fool) so we all had a good laugh at the bison getting feisty and showing us who owned the road.

Now, if you go to Yellowstone for Old Faithful and also find it fair to middlin', take yourself on the trail behind O.F. that leads you to Grand Geyser and Riverside. We never got to Riverside (it was a little too much sun and the kids were getting tired) but we did hit Grand Geyser. We weren't sure what it was or whether it was worth a wait, but coincidentally Rohan was feeling a little blah right about the time we got there, so we decided to give Grand a chance and let him rest. We happened to sit next to an older couple from Idaho who told us they are in Yellowstone sometimes every week in the early and late summer and Grand is one of their favorite spots. While we sat there, they told us all the ways to tell when Grand is ready to blow, including the easiest tip of all: wait for Geyser Watchers. I'm not even kidding....there are volunteers and park enthusiasts who pass time by staking out around the geysers and documenting their every move and change. The couple from Idaho told us, "See that old man in the red jacket? When he stands up and picks up that walkie talkie (used by the Geyser Watchers to contact each other and the park) you know the geyser is ready to blow. And they were right. And Grand was totally worth the wait to see 3 vents going at once for almost 10 straight minutes. That's not even mentioning the raven we witnessed killing a squirrel as we waited. Holy nature.

(Yep, there's still be continued again...)

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