Thursday, May 5, 2011

Yellowstone National Park, Part I

Yellowstone National Park is our first national park.  Well, I guess, it’s the first national park in the world, established in 1872.  Yellowstone is massive, covering 3468 sq miles in northwest Wyoming and spilling over a little into Montana and Idaho.  Yellowstone is famous for its geysers and wildlife.  People from around the world come here to stare in awe at both.

For this trip we only have about four days to spend in the park.  We’re staying just inside the north entrance at Mammoth Hot Springs.  There is still plenty of snow in the park so not all roads are open.  That helps to make it easier deciding what to see during our short time here.

Today we drove east from Mammoth Hot Springs toward Cooke City, Montana through Lamar Valley.  The bison are hanging out in Lamar Valley and we saw plenty of them today.  The highlight of today, however, was the scenery--the residual snow in the lower areas, the white-capped mountains, the Yellowstone and Lamar Rivers, and Undine Falls.

There are very few people here compared to what there will be during summer months.  Traffic was light so we could creep along looking for the elusive wolf and grizzly and enjoying the scenery.  I think we stopped at every pull-out along the road.

Mammoth is the only campground open at this time and only its upper loop is open.  Every available site seems to be occupied.  Lucky we got here early.

The sites are large.  All are half-moon pull-thrus and most will accommodate larger rigs.  They all have picnic tables, fire rings, elk and bison.  There are several bathrooms with flush toilets, but no hot water in the sinks.  No showers, of course.

Tomorrow our plan is to drive south to Geyser Basin and Old Faithful.  It’ll be another great day.

Thanks for tagging along.

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