Monday, July 19, 2010

Day Three- Yellowstone Park Loop

First I must tell you that Ted was up just after five and out on his mountain bike before even the animals were up today! He discovered lots of trails and returned with a big smile on his face. Breakfast was eaten, our lunches were ordered, picked up and put on ice, then we headed for Yellowstone Park. Park passes took a few minutes to be purchased, but we are now set for the entire trip (in fact until the end of July next year!)
Dave informed us that construction delays were an issue and we were mentally prepared for that. What delayed us truly, was the wildlife, or rather, the tourists stopping on the road to observe the wildlife. The first holdup was long - all for a quick glimpse of a mangy coyote. Goodness, the Canadian coyotes are twice as big, and fluffier, but we did see him in hunting mode – Al thought he had got a whiff of somebody’s poodle in the parking lot!

On we went for a little bit more then encountered another delay- much longer this time. Ted and I got a full view of the culprit: a bull bison walking in the middle of the road. I guess Ted got caught riding “Tail” this time! Luckily there was a turn out and we were able to get around him . . . . scary as we could see him watching us out of the corner of his eye!

THEN we hit the construction! It must have been our lucky day, for no sooner had we undressed and got ready to have a gab session, then the line started moving and we were on our way again. Rumor said the waiting times were 30-45 minutes. Not for us!

Group One then turned off for a potty break at Sheepeater Cliff, a very interesting rock formation right by the river. Beautiful, and I’ll add here that we‘re enjoying wonderful weather today! Not to mention the riding! Enough corners and hairpin turns to keep me happy for ages! We lost Group Two at this point, but they found us not long after at Mammoth Hot Springs. The whole group parked in the bus parking lane, then decided to hit the road after the Ranger came and reprimanded us! Gee Whiz!

We are climbing very high in the Park today – 8920ft at the highest point, so the terrain is fascinating; the Ride spectacular! No traffic ahead of us so our Wings go like the wind around those curves, over the hills and down again! Too much fun!
Lunch stop was in Canyon picnic area. Not many people here while we broke open our packed lunches and ooh’ed and ahh’ed over the thrilling ride that has amazed us so far. Soon after lunch, we had another bison delay: this time the herd was crossing the road (to get to the other side). Good to see that bison are thriving in the Park.

All the rivers appear to be full right to the top banks and the wild flowers cover the hillsides and ditches like a yellow and purple afghan. Gorgeous! The Yellowstone Lake was an awesome sight and seemed to go on forever. We passed a small marina so obviously boats and boating is allowed here.

Next stop was Old Faithful herself, and as luck would have it, we were right on time to see the geyser put on her show. There was another smaller geyser in the background who seemed to be saying, “but look at me, look at me!!!!” Both were entertaining, only lasting a few minutes. A thirsty Group One met at one of the many caf├ęs on site. Ice cream was the order of the day and really hit the spot. Time had marched along to 4:30pm and it was time to head back. We did however, stop for a quick look at the Fountain Paint Pots on the way. West Yellowstone was only 30 miles away so we managed to slide into home by 6pm.