Friday, 6 July 2012

Rest day in West Yellowstone

Low cloud in the early morning
After weeks of near record temperatures, the weather has turned. Yesterday afternoon, it rained. This morning a fine mist hung over the town. I went for 6:30 breakfast to a nearby bistro where I was joined by a group of cyclists rugged up in layers of clothing. They are on a supported ride from Missoula, MT to Fort Collins, CO and I was able to tell them about riding conditions in the park. One of them, Kent, came over to my table and we had a good conversation about my trip and his forthcoming ride over the big climbs of the Tour de France.

Tour guide Jay
I'm staying in the good-value Pony Express motel, which is an annexe of the Brandin' Iron Inn. That is where I joined my tour bus for a day trip back into Wyoming and back to Yellowstone. The sun soon burned through the clouds and it was a fine day though not so hot as in recent weeks.

We saw several matriarchal herds of bison and numerous lone bull bison waiting for the rut to begin in the next fortnight. Bison live about eleven years, winter here being very hard on them.

Brink of the Upper Falls
We made two stops in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, the first at the brink of the Upper Falls.

Lower Falls from Artist Point
Then where we could see the Lower Falls. The power of the water rushing through the canyon is awe-inspiring.

Hayden Valley with geese
Hayden Valley is often a good place to view wildlife.

Old Faithful erupts the first time
We spent two hours in the Old Faithful area, witnessing two eruptions of the famous geyser. Their timing is not precise. The first was predicted for 2:29 plus or minus ten minutes. It occurred at 2:39.

Old Faithful erupts again, 85 minutes later
The second one, forecast for 4:04 with the same margin of error, took place at that time.

Geyser Hill Trail
Between the eruptions I had time to walk the 2.1 km Geyser Hill Trail, which passes through the largest concentration of geysers on Earth. By law you have to stay on the boardwalk or face being severely scalded and fined.

Is this a chipmunk?

1 comment:

  1. I'm just now reading your blogs and enjoying them greatly.

    Yes...that is a chipmunk!