Day 62 – August 6, 2001 – We stopped for gas in West Yellowstone before breakfast and created quite a stir with the crowd in the station. When we stopped a few minutes later, I realized I had left my purse at the gas station. Ben and I rushed back (as much as you can rush in a Model T) and when I went in, they had it at the counter. A biker who had been chatting with Ginger noticed it after we left and brought it in. He was still in the store so I was able to thank him. Once again, these guys have been so nice to us. These are not Hell’s Angels kind of guys, although they are in leather and many have tattoos. They think what we are doing is great and appreciate the desire to do something a little different than most people.
If you have never been to Yellowstone, stop reading now and make reservations to come! This is a wonderful park and a beautiful place. There is an incredible variety in landscape in the park, starting with the concept that the park itself is about 7,000 feet above sea level. There are mountain passes, wonderful rivers, huge lakes surrounded by trees, desert-like thermal areas with bubbling hot springs, the famous and not-so-famous-but-actually-better geysers. The center of the park is a caldera, the bowl of an ancient volcano that has filled in over hundreds of thousands of years. You could be here for a week and not see everything that you can see without walking very far. We have about a day and a half.
We headed first to Old Faithful, stopping along the way at several of the hot springs areas. These are not the nice kind of hot springs where you soak away your troubles; these are the kind that would take the skin off your bones. They bubble up everywhere in the thermal areas, including a fairly new one that appeared under a parking lot in 1999. We’ve read the book, “Death in Yellowstone,” and take the warning signs seriously that tell you to stay on the boardwalk but are amazed at the footprints we see in the wet soil around the pools. They have had several deaths and serious injuries here this summer due to visitor carelessness.
Old Faithful is famous because it blows so regularly and is pretty impressive to watch. Unfortunately, it has a Disney sort of exposure, with bleachers set in a semi-circle for the spectators. We watched it and then set off on the geyser trail (two very hot miles) where there are several more spectacular but less predictable geysers. We got to see several of them but most would require a wait that could have been hours so we didn’t stay.
We had cabins (and I use the term loosely because Yellowstone does) at Canyon Village, a central area in the park near the “Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone” which we are going to see tomorrow. By the time we had shopped, eaten, and walked all around the Old Faithful area and they driven another 60 miles on around to our motel, the day was over. The cabins were not wonderful but the day was pretty great so it was ok. The sheets were clean and the shower was hot – that has been our criteria for this trip.
Be prepared; there are lots of pictures!