After leaving the desolation of Craters of the Moon, it was good to see trees, bushes and grass again. We stayed at Buffalo Run RV Park in Island Park, Idaho. Our stay there was to see Yellowstone National Park. Our first day at the campground Connie and I 'discovered' two flea and craft markets set up for the weekend. Fun to look -
The first night we went to dinner at Island Park Lodge. The entrance was into the lobby which had a fireplace and wood burning stove. To the right was the bar, to the left through a screen door was the restaurant. There was a wood burning stove set up there also, but at this time of year they had a fan going. It was funky and quaint. Good food, but not very good service.
Yellowstone region goes back more than 11,000 years ago. It encompasses 2.2 million acres. The weather in the winter ranges from well below zero degrees during the day, to occasional highs in the 20s and 30s F. While we were there, it was warm during the days and cool at nights. Very comfortable weather.
We started the next day by first spotting a Buffalo! We were in awe, and cars parked up and down the roadway and cameras clicking showed us everyone else was also. We went to hot sulphur springs that bubble up from beneath the earth. We walked out on a wooden walkway and the heat was like a hot wet blanket of steam. Everywhere it cautioned not to step off the walkway, that people had been burned severly and killed by doing so. However, there were no guard rails and lots of kids around - There are molten fissures everywhere so they tell you not to walk off the road.
On up a ways we saw a bunch of buffalo - one even rolled in the dirt and took a dirt-bath. David, of course, walked away from the car and got one of the buffalo mad. We got some great pictures, though.
We kept crossing the continental divide both in and out of the park. One side of the marker felt no different from the other.
In another thermal area, David was looking at his camera, not where he was walking, and tripped and slid part way down a slope to the thermal area. We reached for his hands and he told us, 'No.', 'Take the camera - just take the camera.' It ended up his ankle and foot were very bruised and swollen and I took him to a hospital ER - nothing broken, but they gave him an Una Boot for stabilation of the foot and ankle and pain pills.
Leaving the park we got in a long slow line of traffic. We finally got close enough to see a police car, with lights, escorting a big old slow-poke buffalo. He was simply wandering down the roadway - stopping traffic, of course. We started taking pictures. I had my head up through the sun roof taking video, Connie had her window down taking pictures of the buffalo walking beside the car - and...he turned toward the car and scared Connie so much she didn't take the picture - she said she could smell his rank breath!
To get into Yellowstone National Park, we went through West Yellowstone, Montana. A nice town with painted buffalo like the painted Wall Street bulls. We had good pizza at a sidewalk cafe - fun.
We went to see the large mound created by molten lava. It is consistently active, does not spew, only 'leaks' and bubbles. The mound built up as the lava cooled and the bacteria and algae created colors in the mound and surrounding where it flowed. Very pretty - striking - but again you can feel the heat and hope you don't slip -
Coming around a curve we came on a string of parked cars. Ron, being the master-mind that he is, promptly went up a ways and squeezed in to park. There was a mama bear and baby in the meadow below. We took picutres as they crossed the meadow and watched the Park Ranger (young man) have a total melt-down when no one would get back in their cars. The mama bear didn't chase anyone - she simply kept her cub far away from us.
Also in Yellowstone we saw antelope, an American Eagle (approximately two years old according to a professor friend of Ron and Connie), Elk - and lots and lots of buffalo.
I think this was the most varied and enjoyable National Park yet!