Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Yellowstone (pt3): the last bit

In the late afternoon it slowed down from a heavy flurry to a light freezing rain. We had resigned ourselves to a very wet visit to Yellowstone, and it's a good thing. At the time, my laryngitis was only discernible in my terrible scratchy voice, so we trooped onward through the cold and wet to see all the sights we could in an afternoon.

You've already seen my better shots from the hot springs, those vibrant blues and greens. The cold was making everything a lot more steamy than usual, creating this amazing effect of clouds moving through the mountains right above our heads (!) and steam rising and shifting from the springs and geysers. We spent a very long time on the trails in Norris, at which point I put away my camera for a stretch to enjoy the moment-by-moment experience of being in such a remarkable place.

One bad bit about getting so carried away was that we had thrown on jackets, and scarves were in reach, but underneath I only had a summery teeshirt on! We finally had to abandon the trail as I was totally soaked through so that I could rummage in my luggage for anything made of wool or layerable. It was May 21st or something and I was frozen to the bone!

We made our way to the nearest rest area in the park that had a place to eat as quickly as we could under still-stopping-to-stare-wide-eyed conditions. I managed to get at least 3 dinners somehow on my person before the place closed down for the night (I love to eat anyway, but when I'm sick like that I REALLY love to eat). We had been warned about bringing food in instead of buying it there, but I swear just eating something warm was worth a million dollars.

At this point the sun was setting, the snow was picking up again, and P was beginning to realize that we still had to drive into Idaho and find a hotel for the night after all the excitement of the day. Another hint for you future Yellowstone travelers: if you haven't been convinced by now to spend the second night at the same affordable place you found the first night? At least have reservations planned ahead- you WILL want a good night's sleep. My friends got in touch with me just by chance that hour and cheered me up, really it was amazing how tired we became so quickly. Here I am with my soup (dinner no. 3) in the car:

I'm convinced it's because we were leaving at dusk that we ran into (well, not literally) our first up-close buffalo sighting as we exited the park. Driving along in weary, awed, exhausted silence, we saw a family moving along by the side of the road, a herd crossing the street, and further down near the river there were big buffalo coaxing little buffalo to ford a river. I kid you not.

Buffalo are a tricky beast: you really want to have those cool buffalo pictures from your trip to Yellowstone, but upon taking a couple photographs you realize they quite pale in comparison to being in the presence of the real thing. These animals are majestic. I honestly can't think of a more apt description. P and I were shocked and giddy that they came so close to the car, they have such a presence about them!

Thank you for your patience through three posts about an afternoon in wonderful Yellowstone National Park! Just 2 more posts left in what was our cross-country adventure! Woo!

1 comment:

mushroommeadows said...

All the pictures look so surreal. AMAZING! I love it! :)