I’m sitting in the lobby of a suburban Denver Super 8 waiting for a load of clothes to dry so the boys won’t alarm any fellow travelers when Belinda flies home with them tomorrow. It’s fifteen minutes past midnight; once again a late morning start leads to a late evening stop. Having spent last night in Saratoga WY, we didn’t have all that far to go. But I zigzagged us over four different mountain passes and through Rocky Mountain National Park to get here. Belinda wasn’t real sure about my taking the scenic route, warning me all day long that she wanted us to end our day early. That is until she got to talking to the couple at the next table in Estes Park and added an hour to dinner. And then we hit road construction traffic on the interstate . . . culture shock for us after driving some achingly lonely roads over the last couple of days.
Here are some pictures . . . though for some reason I seem to have been less active with the camera since we became a foursome.
Friday: Belinda gives me the gift of some alone-time in the morning, taking the boys to a leisurely breakfast while I walk all over Upper Geyser Basin with the goal of adding a new geyser to my “witnessed eruptions” list. What a glorious morning! I manage to catch Riverside in action (with the help of an official prediction from the geyser rangers) and am very lucky to be in the right place at the right time to watch unpredictable Beehive geyser give a great performance.
In a picture, Beehive looks dainty and graceful. In person, the roar and the velocity of the water shooting from the cone is awe-inspiring. Think of a fire hose nozzle a full three feet in diameter.
Riverside only goes every six hours or so, but it erupts for a full twenty minutes, shooting in an impressive arc over the Firehole River. The hordes of tourists waiting on Old Faithful to go will never see this. Well worth the hike and the wait.
From the Old Faithful area, we drove over to Yellowstone Lake and spent most of the afternoon following the Yellowstone River downstream.
Picnic by Yellowstone Lake. As usual, the boys would rather play than eat. Getting Andrew to eat has been one of my biggest struggles on this trip. Five minutes down the road from this stop, I guarantee that Andrew says “Daaaad, I’m hungry.”
We stop at LeHardy rapids to watch some absolutely huge cutthroat trout struggle upstream.
Belinda took this picture through the window of the bison she goaded into nearly ramming my car. Bad Belinda. (She’ll tell you this was her favorite moment of her time with us.) Right now I’m hitting the accelerator. Gotta go!
This time when we visit the brink of Upper Falls, I make Andrew use the bathroom next to the parking lot before we start down the trail. As a result, we get to linger for a while, admiring the rainbows in the spray.
Somehow, the boys agree to hike down Uncle Tom’s Trail to view Lower Falls (more than 300 steps descending 3/4 of the way to the bottom of the canyon).
Will on the way back up the steps.
We walk the Rim Trail to Artist Point, and I get this shot along the way. One of my favorites for the whole trip.
After dinner in Canyon, we drive back over Mount Washburn and up the Lamar River Valley. On her first trip through this part of the park, Belinda gets to see both a grizzly bear and a wolf. Granted, they still looked tiny even through spotting scopes, but I’m envious of her luck. We also watch a big herd of bison on the run, clearly spooked by something. Once again, I’m evidently too busy with my binoculars to take any pictures in Lamar Valley. We end the day in Cooke City.
Saturday: We drive back up into the Beartooths, play in the snow, and climb a little “peak” just off the road, then follow the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone via the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway (no pictures, somehow) to the uber-historic town of Cody, where we spend the night. We are less interested in history, however, than we are in Cody’s self-proclaimed status of “Rodeo Capital of the World.”
Andrew won’t walk through the “stinky steam,” but he has no trouble with climbing on this big bull. Go figure.
He also has no hesitation in getting into the ring with all the other kids to chase the calf with a ribbon tied to its tail. Big brother decides not to participate but regrets his decision almost immediately.
Andrew has a great time running around the ring, but afterwards he’s downright angry that he didn’t get to the calf first and win the prize.
No pictures downloaded yet from yesterday or today, as the USB camera adaptor seems to be a new addition to the “lost items” list. Oh, well. Belinda would probably say that there’s nothing picturesque about central Wyoming, just sagebrush by the billions and random, incomprehensible rock formations. I really like these landscapes; thank God that Belinda has the boys to entertain her.