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Friday, June 24, 2011

You’ll wonder where the traffic went……

Well, we finally figured out a solution to the traffic problem at Yellowstone and it really worked.  Since the west road in is the most popular and that is also where the large herds of bison are easily seen, all you need to do is to come at a time when there aren’t many cars coming into the park.  For us, it meant getting up early and going through the park gate at 8:35.  We arrived 20 minutes later at Madison Junction, way past all the previous traffic snarls.  So if you are planning to come here, don’t enter between about 9:30 and 11:30 or you will be stuck, at least during May and June when the bison are out.

So we went in today and took the northern loop in a clockwise direction.

map

We entered from the bottom left and went from Norris to Mammoth Hot Springs to the Lamar Valley then to Roosevelt and Canyon and then back to Norris and from there back to the RV.  All together probably 100 miles or so.

While in Mammoth Hot Springs, we went to the visitor center which is an old army fort.  The army cared for Yellowstone NP until there was a National Park Service.  There were many elk roaming the grounds.

This elk seemed to really enjoy the grass

After that we went on a short hike around the hot springs.  The ones we saw were interesting but dry.  They randomly get deluged with spring water but are totally unpredictable.  This area had not had the deluge for several years.

This is Liberty Cap, an interesting rock formation

After leaving Mammoth, we stopped at several of the roadside spots for the various views.  At one, I was able to zoom in quite a distance to capture these yellow wild flowers.



Also as we were driving, we came upon a coyote on the hunt.  Can’t tell what he was after, but he was stalking and totally oblivious to us.

Later we saw another coyote out in the grass hunting

At one of the roadside stops, we hiked in to see the canyon views and saw bighorn sheep on the opposite wall.

These two were munching on the plants.

This appeared to be a young sheep crossing over to mommy.

From there we drove to some waterfalls.  There were several waterfalls along the way here, but this one was the best.

We went onto Canyon and briefly checked out the visitor center.  I liked this one the best because they had one of those table top relief maps in 3D that showed the whole park.  Others had just their sections shown.  Seeing the full park gives you a great sense of just how big this place is.

From there, we went on to the Norris area and visited the thermal region there.  It was a bit daunting for us.  Too hilly, too high and too long.  Wish we were 10 years younger and we probably would have done more than we did.

View from the Norris Museum down towards one of the pool areas.

Emerald Pool at Norris


Which brings up a slightly different topic.  If you have been saying that you’d like to go to Yellowstone, but just haven’t got around to it.  You had better do it while you can enjoy it.  Soon enough, age will catch up with you and the altitude will become a barrier.  So don’t put it off.  I’m so glad we came when we did, but now I wish we had done it years ago. 

From Norris, we drove back towards Madison Junction.  On the way we made one final stop at Artists Paintpots.  Here there was a small geyser erupting continuously.

Tomorrow we plan to sleep in a bit and maybe do some things outside the park. 

Last night was also a great sleeping night.  No problems at all to report.

1 comment:

Donna K said...

Thanks for more great pictures. You visited some places today that we have never been to. Hope you have a pleasant day tomorrow and see some other sights in the area.