Yellowstone was the world's first national park, established by Congress in 1872. It is over a 1000 miles in all and the heart of the park continues to be it's past, present and future volcanism that today fuels the eruptions that power the park's geysers (Old Faithful which is only one of 100's), hot springs, fumaroles and mudpots. The Park is the free-range home of buffalo, elk, grizzly and black bears, trumpeter swans, moose, bighorn sheep, wolves, coyote, pronghorn, yellow-belly marmot, pika, American white pelicans, and Yellowstone cut-throat trout.
My first trip into the park yesterday was hosted by John Hamilton, a semi-retired actual cowboy, ranch owner and now Wyoming resident and lodge owner who volunteered to be my tour guide for the day. John has driven and ridden both his motorcycle and horses through many miles of Yellowstone and the surrounding area and I couldn't have gotten a better guide.
As you can see from the pictures, Yellowstone is located at a higher elevation than Cody's 5,300 ft. and the snow still clings to the roadsides, mountaintops and grasslands. The huge Yellowstone Lake is still ice-locked and not expected to thaw until mid-June. Just the day before the East entrance was closed because of snowfall and snow removal. Going over Sylvan Pass the snow level was much higher than John's big truck!
After touring all morning, we stopped for lunch at the Old Faithfull Inn, one of the original inns built by the U.S. Park Service in 1903. What a wonderful and totally unique structure. After just missing Old Faithful's eruption, we headed back toward Cody with snow flurries and fog sitting in. We covered over 200 miles yesterday and only saw a very small portion of the park. I can't wait to return.
We did see grizzly bears (a mom and 2, 2-year-old cubs). But they were so far from the road that my camera didn't take really good pictures - sorry. John had powerful binoculars along so we sat and watched these very dangerous and huge (12-1500 lbs.)creatures frolic and lumber through the grass for quite some time. To be honest, I wasn't the least bit upset they were so far away. As you can see from the pictures, the buffalo think they own the roads and think nothing of walking alongside a moving vehicle!
Today I'm waiting for the Dish TV man to arrive and install my service. A much quieter day than yesterday!
Until next time.....take care of each other.