Last day in Yellowstone. At this point we’ve covered or are in the process of covering nearly every piece of Yellowstone National Park. Unfortunately, we were unable to see the Lamar Valley in the northeast of the park, which is a good place for wildlife sightings. Bear, wolves, and moose in particular. It couldn’t be helped. Next time. The plan for this day was to swing over past Old Faithful to see the Midway Geyser Basin area, and then on to Grand Teton National Park.
To this point, my son’s prediction of the kids’ behavior has been unfortunately prescient. Hyenas fighting over a zebra carcass exhibit more cooperation than our two children attempting to share a table made for four people. Somehow, despite constant fisticuffs, they were actually able to complete their junior ranger papers. In addition to the rest of the parks to this point, they are now official junior rangers at Yellowstone.
Loaded with park knowledge. Prepared to defend wildlife against all threats foreign and domestic.
Ixnay on the isonbay eadlockhay.
On to the Midway Geyser Basin:
You have to understand that the entire park is absolutely crawling with bison, though they do not get old.
I hope this is her mom.
Another boardwalk winds through many springs and geysers. It was incredibly windy, and we counted at least 5 hats off of the boardwalk.
One of the most photographed spots in Yellowstone is Grand Prismatic Spring.
It’s really hard to reproduce many of the shots you normally see. For one, there’s a ton of steam in your face/lens. And two, the pictures you see are normally from up in the air. Different types of bacteria create all of the colors that you can see a lot better in the aforementioned other people’s photos.
Another spring, another pair of hats.
On the way back to the parking lot, someone’s dog got loose and was running among the bison. The bison DID NOT like this, and kept charging him. I was pretty sure my kids were going to witness the stomping of someone’s beloved best friend.
Luckily, you can see that Sparky escaped unharmed. Barely.
Last official stop was Fountain Paint Pots, which is kind of a hole with bubbling mud.
On the way out you pass Lewis Lake, which has many good spots to stop along. The guidebooks say this is a good moose sighting area. We stopped at Lewis Falls. Nice, but no cigar. Or moose.
John D. Rockefeller Highway on the way to Grand Teton National Park.
As you enter the park, you get some excellent views of the mountains across Jackson Lake, which if you are from where I grew up, is WAY different than Lake Jackson.
At this point, it was getting a bit late, but we still needed to find our moose. We asked around and ended up taking a quick ride down the road to a dirt turnoff where a ranger had said that a bull moose had been hanging out. There were a lot of gigantic boulders on the road and we were very lucky to find a place to turn around. But you guessed it, no moose.
Back to our campsite at Colter Bay RV Park, we found wi-fi at the laundromat and actual voice service at a rare spot about 100 yards from our site. People were wondering what I was doing sitting in the dumpster, but hey, that’s where the signal was. A word about cell service. Both my wife and I use Virgin Mobile, which uses service from Sprint and gives us a delightful 300 anytime voice minutes (who uses those anyway?) and unlimited data for $25. This is fantastic where we live, but we hadn’t had service since the middle of Kansas. The wife was unhappy with the cell phone’s performance over those many days. I tried to suggest that “Aw, nobody gets service here way out west”, but even 10 year olds were talking on their phones at Old Faithful. My old Sprint phone would at least offer a roaming option, but I think the fine folks at Virgin Mobile assume that if you are the cheap bastard who only pays $25 a month, you probably aren’t going to be interested in paying 69 cents a minute to roam. So it is not an option. I figured as long as we could make it for a few more days without needing to report a mauling by Grizzly, all would be forgiven.
We were just in time for a ranger talk (which I highly recommend whenever possible). Lots of great information, stories, and … well, usually they manage to stay awake.
Even the bald eagles fly in to learn something new. America, [heck] yeah!
Here is a comparison of claws between black bear and brown bear. I choose neither.
For the first time in a long time, we returned to our campsite with everyone awake. We even were able to cook some dinner and string up some camp lights.