June 3-4, 2011. It was an outstanding day in the park! Oh, what a day…
It started with COLD; it was 21 degrees outside when I woke up. Cloudy and overcast, with snow spitting from the skies. But it was a very light snowfall, and the ground was warm enough that transportation was never impacted.
Coffee and a muffin in the Lodge, and then on the road in the park. On our first stop, we learned that it was REALLY COLD and that we were not wearing enough clothes to stay warm. The main problem was the wind; it was blowing pretty hard, and with a 32 degree temperature, I would guess the wind chill was in the low 20s if that high. So, we had to put on another layer of protection from the cold. With the extra layer, it was tolerable, although I got cold at every stop until lunchtime.
We stopped at almost every turnout or parking area and took all of the side roads, trying to see as much as we could see. Unfortunately, the steam was so dense that we couldn’t see the aquamarine blue-green waters from the springs. The color of some of the springs is just beautiful, but we could not see the water in some of them.
Lunch at the Canyon Visitor Center. A salad with soup was very good and filling. Then a little shopping before leaving for the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.
By now, the weather had moderated and the clouds were breaking up, with big patches of blue showing as the clouds danced in the skies. The wind was still blowing (as it has the entire trip), but it was comfortable outside. As the day wore on, the clouds became fewer and the sun brighter, leaving each of us with a light sunburn from its rays. It became an absolutely beautiful day outside.
Then back to the cabin. I’ll digress for a moment to describe our cabin. When I was trying to make a reservation for the trip, the only thing available was a “Frontier Cabin”, so I took it. I don’t know how old they are, but I’m sure they date back some time. Each building has 4 “cabins”, square buildings, arranged so that each cabin has its door opening in one of the 4 sides of the building. The cabin is one room with a single and a double bed, a small desk with chair, and a hand sink. There is a very small bathroom with toilet and shower. It has a heater (thank goodness) that worked well enough to keep it toasty inside. No phone. No TV. Two electrical outlets. It met our needs, but was quite spartan.
We had a good dinner in the cafeteria in the lodge and settled in for the night. I spent the night doing some maintenance on Bar’s computer, so I was too tired to write and post a blog. Hence, this one is another twofer edition. I’m actually writing this at 5:45am on Saturday, June 04, 2011, and hoping to post it tonight. It’s 19 degrees outside as I write! But today’s high should be in the 50s, which is more normal.
Today, more exploring my favorite national park.
We got up, got breakfast and coffee, and headed out to the eastern side of the park (yesterday was the western side). The weather has moderated, with the current temperature of 66 degrees (it’s about 8pm local time now). It was an absolutely beautiful day.
For the most part, the eastern side is more calm than the other side. We went to only 2 or 3 sites where the volcanic action was predominate. The most interesting was the Mud Volcano area, where the steam was bubbling up through mud, causing a different sound and throwing mud up into the air. It was something to see. And it was another significant climb to see it all there. But the scenery was worth the work.
We could not see the eastern entrance road due to snow issues. The road is open only from 8pm until 10am due to the risk of avalanches. So, we could not explore that area of the park. And the road that connects the middle of the park to the northern part is closed due to snow, so we could not see that road. The park got 200 more inches of snow than usual this winter. Beartooth Pass got over 20 FEET of snow this winter. So, they are late digging out this year.
Back to the Yellowstone Inn for a drink. I had a beer and she had a drink and we decided on some hot wings (yes, they were HOT!) and then a burger and fries for dinner. The Inn is beautiful and so unique.
From there, back to the cabin and blogging. She went shopping while I blogged.
Tomorrow we leave the park and head to Gillette WY.