This National Park gives you the feeling of what life was like long ago. To see wildlife roam free, and at times rule the road, is something that everyone should experience. As we traveled through the park over four days, I couldn’t get this song out of my head:
”Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam, and the deer and the Antelope play.”
We were unable to stay at Canyon Campground as we had hoped as they were completely full. So were most of the other campgrounds. Had we made a reservation when we checked Canyon out a week ago, we could have gotten a spot. So, we had to settle for a site at Bridge Bay Campground, which was much more open and most of their sites were lacking tree covering. Ironically, it ended up being one of our most entertaining campsites thanks to “Bruce”, our friendly camp bison.
There were signs posted everywhere to warn people to stay clear from this massive animal.
The following sign was posted at the entrance to each campsite loop.
I am sure that this sign is there because “Bruce” (as I so lovingly named him) frequently visited our site. Every time he would come around the campsite, people would gather around like the paparazzi. Here he comes as we were getting ready to take off for the day.
It is unbelievable how massive this animal is. My mouth was wide open as I watched it saunter by. His visits were regular and he always seemed to gravitate to the area next to our campsite. He was totally entertaining!
Every day as we road through the park, we would be stuck in a traffic jam. It’s frustrating until the jam is occurring in front of your car!
And another day…
We had had been to the famous geyser, Old Faithful, on our day trip to the park last week, so we decided to head up north this time to Mammoth Hot Springs.
The pictures do not go justice to the colors that sparkle in the natural sunlight. I tried to capture a sampling. After walking the path around the perimeter of a Mammoth Springs, we were on our way. We needed to get gas so we headed out of the northern entrance to the park into Gardiner, Montana. Gardiner is like an old western town with both new and original old buildings. What I found to be magnificent was the north entrance to the park. It looks like an entrance to a castle. Apparently, it was the first and only entrance at one time.
Here is a closeup of the inscription above the archway:
At this point, we were done being tourists, and found a place along the road to chill out and eat lunch.
Later on back at camp, Scott relaxes in the trailer watching our friend roll around in the dirt, most likely scratching his back.
One late afternoon while at camp, we went to a daily program given by a Park Ranger at the amphitheater. He spoke about Yellowstone’s wildlife and I was able to touch a grizzly bear. I can only hope that I will never get this close to a grizzly again!! Thanks Ranger Jim!
The next day we took a ride to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone to the see the Upper and Lower Falls which are near Canyon Campground.
On on our way back to our camp, we road along Yellowstone Lake. It is a vision of beauty but too chilly to swim in. While swimming is not prohibited, they advise against it due to the changing currents. So we just hung out near the water instead.
On our last day in Yellowstone, we took a hike to Cygnet Lake which was about 30 miles west of our campground. When we got to the parking lot, there were no cars parked there. Hmmm. Wonder why. It was an easy 4.1 mile one way hike to the lake through a forest. We were hoping to see wildlife but it actually didn’t happen, except for a few squirrels and chipmunks. We did see dense areas of forest filled with healthy green trees, followed by large areas of burnt trees, and finally evidence of regrowth. Forest fires are part of nature, but it is a sad sight to see.
We did see old footprints but are not sure if they are from a horse or elk or bison. They were big and rather deep.
Maybe the animals left when the fires erupted and haven’t returned yet. I was told by the ranger that it was a natural fire back in 2009. I would’ve guessed it was much more recent than that. The new trees are so small admist the towering bare limbed trees, but there were random sections of flowers and baby aspen trees to add a subtle beauty to the barren forest.
Even the fall foliage stood out, albeit sparse.
We finally got out of the forest to an open grassy section which would lead to Cygnet Lake. Below I am looking in the direction of the lake.
The grass was too ticklish for my bare legs, and it didn’t appear to be much of a lake worth getting tortured. (We found out later that it had mostly dried up since the 2009 fire.) So we turned around and headed out another 4.1 miles.
Now we are off to northern Utah! Goodbye Yellowstone!!