We checked out of our cabin at Pahaska Tepee, and went to breakfast at their restaurant. Chris had eggs and an English muffin, Katherine had the Veggie Skillet, Steven had pancakes, and Andrew had cereal.
The East Entrance to Yellowstone National Park was only 2 miles west of Pahaska Tepee. The road was undergoing serious construction all of the way westward to Yellowstone Lake. This gave us ample time to review the Yellowstone National Park newspaper and its safety instructions--all of which seemed to indicate that if we breathed, ran, or ceased in constant watchfulness, we were going to die. It was also relentless in pointing out the volcanic nature of the park, as if to underscore that it could blow at any moment.
We stopped to see the Fishing Bridge, although fishing was banned there in 1973. It is recognized as an important area because of the spawning of the cutthroat trout. I can only assume that they get their name from the way they play poker.
The Dragon's Mouth was an interesting thermal feature near the Mud Volcano, and the steam kept blowing across the walkway. It was named by an anonymous--but imaginative--visitor in 1912, and it was obvious why: the rumbling, hissing steam, and the green deposits around the cave.
We got to have an up-close encounter as we passed two bison in oncoming traffic. It was really evident when something interesting was happening in the road ahead, because there would be a long stream of brake lights as everyone broke the "Thou Shalt Nots" from the newspaper. We actually at one point saw people running straight toward a bison. People are really, really dumb.
A view of the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River from Artist Point.
The boys in front of the Upper Falls of the Yellowstone River.
We stopped at the Roosevelt Lodge for lunch in the northeast section of the park. Chris had their Vegetarian Reuben which he had to review, Katherine had a Black Bean Tostada, Steve had a hamburger, and Andy had a cheese pizza.
A tree that had died in the upper terraces in the Hot Springs area. The scenery was so amazing because it varied so much and so quickly. This picture is amazing because both Chris and Katherine took the exact same shot, moments apart.
We took a long walk through the Norris geyser basin. It was wild and a little scary to feel the immense heat--heat from the sun, from the reflected sun, and from the earth itself. It was also really, really stinky. Among the smells, of course, was the overpowering sulphur and a sweetish smell...the sign said that this was the smell of the pine trees being slowly cooked from the inside out.
We stayed to watch Steamboat Geyser for a while. It would spout water in two different directions every few minutes. We overheard many people, for what would be the first of MANY times, asking each other, "What if it really spewed and the wind was blowing in our direction??"
Pearl Geyser was interesting because it afforded you a vantage point to look down into the geyser to see the eruption rising before it surfaced. The air bubble, under the water, gave the geyser its name.
The Cistern Spring in the Norris geyser basin. It is one of many pools and springs that have wild, exotic colors from all the minerals. It is not too hard to tell where the spots of geothermal activity are in a lake or river, if it is shallow: the water will look different, a little moiled and "off."
We stopped at the Old Faithful geyser, but it was not due to erupt for another hour. So we went to the Lodge for dinner at their cafeteria. Surprisingly, Steve and Andy both had little cheese pizzas. Chris had fettucine alfredo and Katherine had pasta with chicken parmesan.
After dinner, we went out to the benches surrounding the geyser and waited for the show scheduled for 6:42--the signs predicted that it would erupt within ten minutes either way of that time. Old Faithful erupts 17 times a day, slightly fewer times and less often than it used to.
At about 6:35, Old Faithful began to erupt and we took quite a few pictures. It was beginning to get late, so we began to head to our lodging for the night.
Leaving Yellowstone through the South Entrance, we proceeded through Grand Teton National Park on our way to Jackson.
We stopped at the Dairy Queen in Jackson and got milkshakes for the boys. We checked in at the Teton Village KOA and they assigned us their "Bluebell" cabin. The cabin itself was lovely, though it was the second we'd stayed at where there was no chair for the desk. What the hey? It was well-appointed, but it was disappointingly and at times distressingly far from the sole bathhouse. Campground owners, take note!