Day 63 – August 7, 2001 – We woke up early for breakfast and started out for an area called the Mud Volcano Trail. These mud pots are primarily clustered around the same area and make a thunderous noise to go along with the sulfurous smell. The early explorers could hear the booming from the Yellowstone River. They thought they must have found Hell. When they came back telling about their find, the newspapers branded them as drunkards or mad. The pits look like bubbling cauldrons, with a crusty irregular edges and gray or brownish mud splattering upward.
Some old friends from Bryan, TX, now live in Bozeman, Montana, and they came to meet us for lunch. Pete and Kandy Rose drove in with a trunk full of steak sandwiches and fresh fruit. What a delicious lunch and it was a pleasure to see them again. After lunch, we all went to see the waterfalls on the Yellowstone. The Yellowstone River comes from Lake Yellowstone, wanders through the valley where the buffalo roam, and then comes crashing down an upper series of waterfalls before it cascades 300 feet over the lower falls and into a ravine called the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. From Artist’s Point, you have a spectacular view of the Lower Falls and the Canyon. Ross and Bruce, Jennifer and Ginger all climbed down a 600 ft. trail to the top of the Lower Falls (and, even more impressively, climbed up). Ben and Nancy stayed with the Pete and Kandy Rose at the top, watching other tourists taking pictures of our cars and listening to the comments. One man who had carefully inspected all four cars, drove passed us and said, “They may be crazy but they’ve got grit!” We just smiled and waved.
We checked into horseback riding but all the trail rides were full so we went back to the cabins to relax, fiddle with the cars (those famous adjustments), and do laundry. There are no phones in the cabins, no TVs, no air conditioning (“this is a national park; of course, we don’t have air conditioning). I understand that the economics of park management may preclude adding many amenities but these “cabins” were more like those portable buildings you see surrounding schoolhouses these days. They weren’t made of logs. They didn’t have porches. The walls were pretty thin. But, as I said, our standards have been considerably reduced. The sheets were clean and there was enough hot water for showers. That will do.