July 15 &16
We began our first day in Yellowstone driving the Bear Tooth Highway. This stretches from Red Lodge into Yellowstone, and climbs up almost to 11,000 feet. The highway switches back and forth across various mountains. Mom went a different way into the park, due to her fear of heights. Pat and Doug thought that they would be fine, but about halfway up Pat started to freak out, which freaked out Doug. Near the top we saw a few people coming down the mountain with their hands thrown up in the air from fear. Turns out the other side of the mountain was much more gradual and people got freaked out once they got to the top and started to drive down. We got so high up that we drove past snow banks that were higher than the car. In the middle of July!
The drive down the other side of the mountain was much less steep, and we drove down rolling hills until we got to Lamar Valley. We were told to keep an eye out for large buffalo herds. We saw a few, but they were always too far in the distance to get decent pictures.
We arrived at Roosevelt Lodge for lunch. We had planned to go on a horseback riding trip on our second day in the park, but they didn’t have enough horses for us. Instead we decided to go to the lower falls and painter’s point. Painter’s point is so named because of the multicolored clay surrounding the waterfalls. Along the way we saw a few buffalo on the side of the road. We also saw a few deer, and it was funny seeing the foreign people flocking to take pictures of them.
The next day we drove along the western part for the park. Shortly after we entered the park we found a coyote stalking his breakfast. We watched him for about 10 minutes standing still, watching a chipmunk. Unfortunately for him a loud truck came by blasting music, scaring the chipmunk away. There was also a whole herd of elk just chilling by the visitor’s center. Driving to old faithful, we came across roaring rock. The whole side of the hill steamed from the hot vents underground. We also stopped at the painter’s pots. These mud filled pits bubble from underground heat sources. The area had cool bleached petrified wood from eruptions years ago. We finally reached old faithful. We only waited a half hour or so before we saw it go off. The geyser shot over 100 feet into the air and lasted about a minute and a half. On the way back through the park we stopped at grand prismatic spring. The hot pool has rainbow colors along the edge from different bacteria growing in the pool. Finally on the way out we stopped at mammoth hot springs terraces. The entire hill is deposited calcium and bicarbonate as the spring trickles over the rock face. These hills are constantly being added to and are always changing. The dormant spring formed what is known as liberty cap.
So tomorrow we head out to my new home. I’m nervous and excited at the same time.