Yellowstone National Park and Surrounding Area

Aug 09 - Aug 15, 2020

Sunday, I finished the two baby quilts and will be able to get them shipped off to their new owners soon. I also got the hanging straps added to the Longhorn Leather quilt so it is ready to go too.  It is soo pretty here, I know I've said that before but it is so true. I wonder if there is a quilt retreat here...I spent a great evening outside waiting for the sunset. It was beautiful and there was this weird straight line in the clouds, I don't know what caused that. And I've never seen a lavender sky before it was something else. Our park is next to a large pasture with lots of cows, I could hear them lowing while I watched the sun set.

Monday, today we visited the Old Faithful area of Yellowstone.  We entered through the west gate and it is a really pretty drive along the Madison and Firehole rivers. We hiked up to the Old Faithful overlook which was a very good place to watch the geyser.  We were here back in 2012 but I had dislocated my knee on the way here (at Wounded Knee of all places) so I didn't get to do hardly any trails. We did both geyser loop trails for total of 3.5 miles and 200 ft elevation change.  The landscape around the geysers is so bizarre, like another world.  Next we stopped at Whiskey Flat picnic area for lunch. It was packed. We drove the two side roads on the way back home.  The Firehole Lake Drive, past several more geysers, and Firehole Canyon Drive, along the Firehole river. I think we need to go a little bit earlier tomorrow because it was really crowded around 3 pm as we were heading out.  We stopped in West Yellowstone for some huckleberry ice cream on the way home.  I also found a couple of Columbia PFG shirts for 30 bucks each, score! Yellowstone has a new APP that I finally got loaded tonight and it looks pretty cool with audio tours and information. Will try it out tomorrow.

Tuesday, well I completely forgot about the app today but we saw everything we wanted to today.  We made entire southern loop thru the park today. We started out with the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. We hiked most of the North Rim Trail.  I did not make it down to the lower observation deck, too many steps.  The view was really pretty and somewhat crowded but everyone was considerate with distancing and not taking forever to get their photos. Next we went to the South Rim Trail and got great pics of both the upper and lower falls of the Yellowstone. The viewpoint called Artists Point was spectacular. We continued on around the park to the West Thumb geyser basin. The drive takes you by Yellowstone Lake which is beautiful.  The boardwalk thru the west thumb basin is a really, really nice walk. We managed to find a parking spot at the Fairy Falls trail head which also leads to the Grand Prismatic Spring overlook.  Wow, this spring is pretty, and huge! It is so cool watching the steam rise from the spring picking up the colors of the pool and suspending that color over the pool. We ended up doing nearly 6 miles today! On the way home we found a sign that my cousin Jim O'Flynn had shared with me on Facebook a few months back!  I had to get a picture with it and as we drove up there was another couple doing the same thing. Yep, another Edna. We got home and cooked dinner then decided we would go to the top of Sawtell Peak to watch the sun set.  Wow! The peak is almost 10,000 feet and the view was awesome. It was very cold and windy up there, I watched from the car but Elard stuck it out and got a ton of awesome pics of the sunset.

Wednesday, we explored the area near the RV park.  We started with a peak called Horse Butte, it was quite the rough drive up but the views were worth it.  It has a old fire tower up there and we found two survey markers.  One of them is for earthquake monitoring, which was cool. On the way down we spotted a buffalo and her calf, she was limping very badly, I hope she is okay.  Next we drove to Earthquake Lake.  In August 1959 this area was hit by a 7.5 quake!  It cause a side of a mountain to slough off and blocked the Madison river forming a new lake in 18 hours.  It flooded a campground killing several people.  And it moved several cabins in a resort area about a half mile.  Now there is a visitor center that provides information about what happened and how they are monitoring the area.  The lake has dropped over the last 60 years and they expect for the river to eventually erode through the blockage and the lake to empty.  Who knows how long that will take.  We ended the day with a fun surprise for a friend of ours.  Mildred Traylor actually hired both Elard and I when we started at ANGUS years ago and we have been friend ever since.  Last week her daughter texted me and we found out Mildred was going to be here at Yellowstone at the same time as us.  So we got into cahoots with her niece to surprise here by showing up for dinner tonight.  It was awesome, she was so surprised and it was truly awesome to see her.  We had a great dinner and visit.

Thursday, we did more back-road driving exploration thru some national forests.  We started with the Centennial Valley. It was a lot of wide open spaces.  We passed the Red Rock Lakes and saw several trumpeter swans. We also saw several cows.  They thought we were very interesting. Next we drove the Ruby River scenic byway to the tiny town of Alder.  This is an interesting area that was once a gold town. There are some interest rock piles from the dredges back in the day that were used to find the gold. It was a great drive.

Friday, another great back-roads day today.  We drove through the forest to Big Springs which turns out to be the local put in point for canoes, inner tubes, kayaks, etc. Next we went on to Cave Falls at the very southwest edge of Yellowstone Nat. Park. (There is so much dirt on the back of the car.) I was on the constant outlook for Moose to no avail, and I missed the bear that ran across the road in front of us. I was very impressed by the Mesa Falls. They have a nice "ranger" station there and they have a colony of bats that they were teaching about. It was a great driving day, but we really need to find a car-wash.

Saturday, I was on a serious Moose hunt. We drove down to the Grand Tetons thru Yellowstone.  We figured since we saw moose there back in 2012 maybe we would get lucky again.  We left mid-day with the intention of scouting different ponds for likely activity. We found several possibilities and then went to the National Wildlife Art Museum. Unfortunately we got there with only 30 minutes to close, so we only got to see a little of it inside.  They also have a sculpture trail outside with beautiful work.  I have started a few painted rocks and I left one on the trail.  We stopped for gas and I noticed something on the power lines...any ideas what these "targets" are for?  Next we had dinner at the Snake River Brewing Company.   I had a nice Asian fried trout dish that was quite good.  By this time it was around 5:30 pm and we headed north for the moose hunt.  SUCCESS! We found a bull moose in a pond about a mile south of the town of Moose. Unfortunately we were on a road that didn't allow stopping or walking on the road so I had to get a couple shots quickly out the window. He was awesome. It was a long drive home but I am so happy we got to see a moose.  The sunset was very pretty.

Make Life an Adventure!