Days 15 & 16: Yellowstone!

IMG_7470After hauling my sore arse out of Cody, I finally made it to Yellowstone!  And what a gem.  It really is an amazing place.  So many different landscapes and environments.  From geysers to glaciers, from grizzlies to bison, this park has it all.  Unfortunately, it also has a ton of people.  And mind you, I am here in mid-September.  I think every retiree, newlywed, and tour group has read that you must avoid June-August and come in September.  The word is out.  Sigh.  And so, it was packed.

Despite the selfie-obsessed tourists and bumbling tourists, I still had a good time.  The sciatica was still flaring up in the mornings and the weather was COLD – it even snowed – so I went against every instinct and booked myself into an over-priced hotel inside the park.  Dear lord.  It was a nickel and dime operation where you even had to pay for the privilege to use their crappy wifi.   (I opted out.)  But it was nice to be in a cozy bed when the temps dipped into the lower 20’s.

Aside from that the scenery and wildlife was unsurpassed.  I drove along the different loops and stopped at tourist attractions like Ole Faithful and Mammoth Springs and was not disappointed.  I just had to laugh at the hoards of foreigners taking their selfies and focus on the beauty of the natural world in front of me.  And that wasn’t hard.  It was spectacular.

First, the geysers.  Well, Yellowstone is one HUGE volcano and it will one day erupt but for now we have the delight of the bubbling, gurgling, boiling geysers.  From the aptly named paint pots to the blooming jets of the geysers, it is all amazing.  The colors of the minerals, bacteria beds and gushing waters was what impressed me most.

Then, there are the animals.  From Bison, to rutting Elk, to bear and wolves, this place is alive.  And we are just here riding the edge and taking photos.  Sometimes, stupidly, like the other day when a bull Elk charged a tourist who got too close to his ladies.  But somehow we seem to co-exist with these magnificent beasts and they aren’t all that bothered by our awkward attempts to capture their beauty.

I felt lucky to be in their company, despite the brevity.  To watch them in THEIR habitat and to quietly go on my way after snapping a few photos.  Many thanks to these creatures for tolerating us and thanks again to Teddy, John, Buffalo Bill, and Albert for having the forethought to preserve this special place.

Next up:  Montana.

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