Borrego Springs, CA

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Back to Yellowstone

I mentioned yesterday that I was going to set my alarm clock so I’d be sure to wake up early this morning, and set it I did for 6:00.  However, it decided to go off full blast at 3:56!  Ugh!  One of two things could have caused this.  Either the gremlins are at work again, or I should have worn my glasses when I set it.  I’m leaning towards gremlins, since 3 doesn’t really look like 6, and 56 definitely doesn’t look like 00, and the numbers are pretty big on this clock so I can read them in the dark. 

I was able to rouse myself once again at 6:00, and after a quick outs for Emma, we were on the road.  I had made my lunch last night, so it didn’t take too long to get ready.  I decided since there was a Mc D’s in West Yellowstone, I’d go through the drive-thru for an egg and biscuit sandwich for breakfast.  That worked well, except I wasn’t impressed with the food, as usual.  There also aren’t any $1 meal deals in this tourist town like there are in Minnesota.

Anyway, we headed into the park with the plan to take the route through Madison Junction and on past Old Faithful.
IMG_2994After we had passed the Old Faithful exit, the sun came out and just highlighted all of these geysers along the way.  It was quite a sight.  We continued through West Thumb and headed for Fishing Bridge.
IMG_2996As we drove along Yellowstone Lake, I at first thought it was enshrouded in early morning fog.  When I stepped out of the car to take this eerie shot at a pull off, it was immediately evident to me that it wasn’t fog, but was smoke from a burning fire.  You can hardly tell that the huge lake is in front of the far mountain.  I later found out that there were some prescribed burns happening in the park, but this smoke was pretty massive.  I wonder if there was a fire going on that wasn’t scripted.  Later in the day I saw a helicopter with one of those big water buckets hanging beneath it racing across the sky.  Hmmm…
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The smoke cleared some as I made my way around the lake, and I was able to get these shots of a young buck.  I had seen a grizzly bear, some elk, and a bald eagle on the way in, but none presented themselves close enough for a good picture.

I turned right at Fishing Bridge and began the drive to Sylvan Pass and the East Entrance.  As I got to the pass, I turned around and headed back.  It had taken over 100 miles to get this far.
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On the way back to Fishing Bridge, I took a side road up to the Lake Butte look out.  At the top you are at an elevation of 8348 ft. (2544 m)  What a view!  On the left, is the view South over Yellowstone Lake.  If you click to enlarge, you will see the smoke haze still hanging over the lake, and just to the left of center near the top are the very distant Grand Tetons.  That’s 40 – 50 miles from this spot as the crow flies.  You sure can see a long way out here.  :)  On the right is the view to the West.  Much clearer air that direction, so you can easily make out steamboat rock.
IMG_3011The drive up to the Butte is a stark reminder of the fires of 1988.  Remember what Smokey, the Bear, always says.  :)

As I made the return trip along Yellowstone Lake, I had to pull off the road as I thought I saw a new bird for me.  :)
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Sure enough, there was a small raft of Barrow’s Goldeneyes fairly near the shore.  These guys are into their eclipse plumage right now as they go through their summer molt.  It’s kind of like how we look a little different when we get a haircut.  :)

After we got back to Fishing Bridge, I decided to head north towards Canyon Village so we wouldn’t be retracing this morning’s route.  I have never seen so many bison in the Hayden Valley as there were today.  The valley was covered with them.  It reminded me of seeing the bison scenes in Dances with Wolves.  (I hope you notice that I’m now properly calling them bison instead of buffalo :))  Tatonka!!

As we neared Norris, I decided to take the Virginia Cascade road once again so I could stop at a picnic area along that road.  What a mistake in judgment that was!  As I sat down at the picnic table and got my lunch out of the cooler, I noticed a few mosquitoes.  Ha!  A few is a gross understatement.  It only took two minutes for them to attack from all angles.  I wolfed down half my sandwich, and ran back to the car.  I couldn’t get inside fast enough!  I was wearing shorts, and I bet I took twenty bites on the legs in mere minutes.  Talk about itchy!  Even Emma was rolling in the dirt to try to keep them at bay.  Needless to say, I did not take a photo of our scenic lunch stop today.  :(  We beat a hasty retreat the rest of the way back to the rig, with me bent over scratching away at my legs.  It was not pleasant.

I am a fairly slow eater, but today I set a personal record for fast food consumption.  It reminded me of my daughter, Robyn.  As a child, she was always a picky eater, and took forever to get through her meal.  That is until she went through basic training in the Army.  Her first meal after basic training she fairly inhaled!  Goes to show you, under duress, anything is possible.  :)

For tomorrow, I’m debating where to take myself out to eat for my birthday.  I usually like to do a Red Lobster, or fancy seafood place on the coasts if that’s where I’m at.  But, I’m in Island Park, Idaho right now, and I’m not sure they’ve heard of a lobster.  :)

Thanks for stopping by….talk to you later,  Judy


  1. I hate it when those "gremlins" do that to us. Once I got up took my shower and was half dressed for work when I realized it was only 3:00AM, back to bed I went.

    Glad you had a good trip into Yellowstone today other than the pesty mosquitoes.

  2. Thank you for the very beautiful pictures. I just can't wait to get my chance to see Yellowstone and the Tetons.

    And a big happy birthday to you! Maybe you should dine on prime bison steak.

  3. Yellowstone and the Tetons are such an incredible place, your pics do a great justice to what you saw. Sorry the grizzly was too far away for a pic.
    A big Happy Birthday to you... Maybe a local Bison Burger would be in order considering where you are!
    Take care and be safe in that great area you are in.
    Mike & Gerri

  4. Happy Birthday to you and may the mosquito's give you a day off

  5. Happy Birthday!! Thanks for posting all the great photos! I don't think I'd want to get close enough to a Grizzly to take a picture, thanks!!

  6. Happy Birthday Judy!! Your knowledge of birds is amazing. Thanks for always giving us such great pics, especially of those birds.

    Enjoy your birthday.

  7. Well, if you can't find a lobster for your Birthday there is always, Captain Hyliner's fish sticks or do they still make them. My fav!! I sure envy you being out there in Yellowstone Park surrounded by all that beautiful scenery & wildlife. My 1992 memories of Yellowstone & the Grand Tetons are so old now I can hardly remember them. Sure wished we could get away earlier in the fall & head out that way again.

  8. Maybe some fresh trout would hold off the birthday lobster craving until you get to the west coast.

    Happy Birthday.

  9. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUDY Thanks for the great tour..

  10. Happy Birthday Judy, so far we have been lucky this trip, very few bugs,Rigg's is like Emma and doesn't care for them either. He will snap and catch one in mid flight and then swallow it.a fitting end. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna..

  11. Happy Birthday Judy--you should have camped inside Yellowstone for a while although I hate their dog rules! My Mom and her husband work at Canyon and are camped in the employee campground in a motorhome. No, I wouldn't try lobster in Island Park!

    We hope you have a great Birthday and hope those mesquitos run into a spiders web!

  13. Happy Birthday to you! Hope you have a wonderful meal, and don't forget dessert. Definitely order something scrumptious to celebrate your special day!! ... :-)

    Kerri in AL :-)

  14. Happy Birthday! Your pictures are making us rethink our plan to bypass Yellowstone this summer.

  15. Ack! So now I understand how you can relate to our biting midges situation here in Missouri! Quick! Run back inside!!

  16. Well, Happy Birthday...lose any teeth today? hehe! I loved your comment on my blog today :)

    Thanks for the Yellowstone pics! It's my favorite place in the whole world.


  17. Judy:
    There are about 1250 units at the rally this year. I understand that is less than in previous years. Max units is around 1600.

    It was a lot of fun and I would recommend it.

  18. Those are such wonderful shots of Yellowstone! Thanks for taking us along on your journey---

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard