Thursday, July 9, 2009

July 3-6 - First few of nights at Yellowstone

Yesterday we met up with Julie's college friend Sue, her husband Craig, and kids Rylan (7) and Jeffrey (6). Our kids are thrilled to have other kids to run wild with and have paired off--Devin with her "twin" Rylan and Nic with his DS buddy Jeffrey. Ian remains his Mommy's buddy.

We arrived here on Friday, July 3 and hurried to put up our tents because of ominous clouds. We enjoyed dinner at the Lakehouse with a great view of a downpour on Yellowstone Lake. Unfortunately, the view was a little less interesting two hours later when it was packed with people similarly trying to wait out the storm. Our tents stayed dry and we warmed up by the geysers the next day. We also saw a bison really near by and Jim hopped out in a hailstorm to take his picture.

There is a funny convention here. There are so many wild animals here that you can see them from the roadside. Bison, elk, and mule deer rank high on the "must-see" list and people will suddenly pull over to photograph them. People driving by stop, hop out, and ask others "what is it and where?" Woe to the traveler stopping to pee in a bush because he'll be surrounded by a dozen photographers.

We had our coldest morning on July 5 when Julie and Ian chose to have breakfast wrapped in a sleeping bag in the car. The weather improved and we saw Biscuit Basin and the Midway Geyser Basin, where we saw all sizes, shapes and colors of geysers and mud pots. In the afternoon we had a thunderstorm but it improved again. The weather here is so changeable, moving from 36 degrees and damp to sunny and 70 degrees, to windy and 50 degrees, to thunderstorms all by about 2:00 in the afternoon.

The highlight today was Mud Volcano, an enormous bubbling mud pot (spa treatment anyone?) and dragon's grotto, a cave with "dragon's breath" wafting from it. We also saw the lower falls and the canyon floor which were spectacular.

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