Sorry for being so late with this post. I have made some new traveling friends in New Mexico and have ignored updating the blog. Will try to catch up ASAP.
Anyway, we drove into Yellowstone the day after Labor Day, hoping to avoid the summer crowds, but before it got too cold. I was hoping to camp in Norris Campground, since it is pretty central and my friend Dwight was camping there on his annual trip. We stopped to see Lewis Lake, Lewis River, and Lewis Falls. Then to Grant Village on Yellowstone Lake. I had heard there was internet and phone signal there – I had been without for 3 days. The lake is really huge, from what I could see. I was walking Riley, but couldn’t go too close. Dogs are not allowed on the boardwalks that go along the geysers, which are all over in Yellowstone. Probably should have put him back in the RV and gone back out to the lake for a good picture, but didn’t think of it.
We went up and over the Continental Divide a couple of times, then to Old Faithful. The next eruption was about an hour away. I started to wander around and wait, but decided it would be too long, so bagged it. Needed to get to Norris by early afternoon to get a decent campsite. Stopped at Midway Geyser Basin to view the Excelsior Geyser and Grand Prismatic Spring. The hot geyser water drains into the Firehole River (more pictures in the slide show at the end).
One thing I wasn’t adequately prepared for is how big Yellowstone is. It’s huge. Takes a lot of driving to get from one place to another. And it’s super-hilly. Anyway, we got to Norris Campground around 3PM and it was full. Drove around to see if I could see where Dwight’s group was camped, but didn’t see him. Had left a message earlier in Grant Village, but had not connected.
I decided to drive to Mammoth Campground. Would need gas soon, and I could go to Gardiner the next morning, which is right outside the park, about 5 miles from Mammoth. At Mammoth I got one of the last sites. I met a guy parked above me who was tent camping, but owned a Lazy Daze back in Austin. Small world. Riley and I took a walk around the Mammoth area. A lot of the buildings there are from a time when the park was guarded by the Army. Now they are used for the Visitor Center and residences.
The next morning I filled up in Gardiner and stopped to take a picture of the Roosevelt Arch at the park entrance. Unfortunately the sun at that time of day was not at a good angle.
From there we drove to Tower Junction, then to Canyon Village, where we checked out the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and the Upper and Lower Falls. Really amazing, beautiful, diverse country. As you drive along the scenery is constantly changing. And the rivers are amazing. I noticed in Wyoming that the rivers are all really alive, rushing along, over rocks, beautiful colors, all very lively.
I went by Norris Campground, but it was full again. I had no signal to call or email Dwight, plus it was Wednesday, the 5th, the first night of NFL games. I decided to go to West Yellowstone, Montana (right outside the park) and get a commercial campsite where I would have electric and could watch the game. I’d have Verizon and phone, could charge up, and take care of the tanks.
The next morning Dwight called. He had gotten a signal and was able to get my messages. I headed back to Norris, seeing a bison right next to the road.
At Norris I got to meet the ‘Mountain Men’, a group that camps at Yellowstone every year.
Dwight and Scott grew up in the area, Ernesto is their friend from Guatemala, and Nathan and Paul are Dwight’s sons. Normally they go back-country camping, but this year they decided to camp at Norris and explore more of the central park areas. They had 2 fantastic campsites together and I was able to park there with them for Thursday night. We had a great time and it’s always good to see Dwight. (We worked together, but for different companies, and in different cities.) What a great group of guys!! Scott’s wife would like to get a motorhome, so he took a good look at my Lazy Daze. I think he was a bit surprised at how much can fit into such a small size. (Personally, I think I have everything I could possibly need, except solar.) It got down below freezing that night. I’m glad I didn’t take too long getting to Yellowstone. It gets cold in a hurry up there.
On Friday morning we went our separate ways. I was heading up to Montana – to Ennis, Bozeman, and the Madison River.
By the way, Yellowstone was busy. Guess a lot of folks had the same idea to go right after Labor Day, especially the tour groups. Still, glad I went at that time, and certainly glad I got to see Yellowstone and the Tetons.