"There is nothing so American as our national parks. The scenery and wildlife are native. The fundamental idea behind the parks is native. It is, in brief, that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us. The parks stand as the outward symbol of this great human principle." Franklin D. Roosevelt

Thursday, July 9, 2009

No Stopping

A big 'Yellowstone Hello' goes out to Dave & Sue in Wales, UK. Hope to see you in September.

I am currently sitting in an internet cafe in West Yellowstone. After an evening of frustration trying to get on the internet at Canyon I decided to spend part of my day off coming here. That was after driving through a foggy Hayden Valley, slowed to a complete stop for a couple rambing bisons on the road past Mud Volcano, and then stopping at the Old Faithful store. When I turned at Madison and drove about a mile down the road I got to watch a coyote by the side of the road. He was stalking his prey (a ground squirrel) and eventually bounded over a fallen log (that's when I heard the squeak from the squirrel) and circled a burned out tree stump. It appears that Mr. Coyote missed his meal. Further down the road there is an eagles nest. I have seen mama eagle there a few times, and I've also seen the prominently displayed NO STOPPING EAGLES NESTING signs. They are not a deterrent and people were stopping which then created a pile of cars over 2 miles long behind them! I know I will have to face that when I head back into the park.

Yesterday, my first day off, I heading into Cody. I needed to pick up supplies for a bonfire/hot dog roast tomorrow night with Jackie & John at their RV. I only made it 2 miles down the road when I was stopped by a bull bison in the road who decided that was just as good of place as any to stand and scratch his ear with his hind hoof. I made numerous other stops along my way to Cody and finally discovered the pull out by Mummy Cave which I've read about. It is an excavated cave that showed over 10,000 years of habitation. Very cool. My next stop was the firefighters memorial for the Blackwater Creek fire from 1937 where 15 firefighters lost their lives and 39 were injured. I took a few photos of the Shoshone River, mountains and the Buffalo Bill Dam. I love the drive to Cody.

In Cody I filled up the gas tank. When the fuel started pumping the gas pump actually played the song "I'm an old cow hand from the Rio Grande". Crazy! It put a smile on my face. On my way back toward the park I took advantage of a picnic area.........not for a picnic but to clean my car out (I bought a little broom and dust pan). So there I was under the blue sky, next to the roaring Shoshone River, surrounded by mountains totally loving a totally mundane task.

When I got back into Yellowstone I noticed that the winds had really whipped up. I had to stop at the lakeside and video the huge waves that were pushing onshore, and in places they were actually blowing onto the roadway. North of the Fishing Bridge junction I was following a van when 2 trees blew down across the road in front of them. Too close for comfort. Of course the cars started piling up in both directions but a group of men came forward and tugged and pulled and grunted and got the trees mostly off the road. That's when someone presented them with one of the flexible saws with rings at the end. Someone was able to saw through the rest of the tree and cheers rose through the crowd when it was finally moved. There were also audible gasps everytime we heard a tree creak around us, we all hoping no more would be falling onto any of us.

With the wind blowing I pretty much figured out that there would be power outages back at Canyon. I was correct. My clock was flashing and eventually the power went out again for about 1/2 hour.

One of the Boys of Summer made his way to a little clearing behind the Canyon Visitor Center which created a huge jam right by the junction. I took a picture of all the people that had totally surrounded him. There was no escape for him so luckily for everyone he was completely happy just to graze.

Wildlife Sightings:

Grizzly Bears: 33
Black Bears: 16
Moose: 3
Coyotes: 6
Wolves: 12