Still Faithful

After a few stops for supplies, we headed south towards Yellowstone. There’s not much between Bozeman and the West Yellowstone border, but there is some really nice scenery.  We headed straight for the park and on cue, we happened upon some elk wandering around. One male with 30 females… that’s pressure. On hikes, we felt like experts identifying the independently-movable dual-hooved tracks because of our prior elk education.

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It’s places like this that make me wish I was a fly fisherman…Montana and Wyoming must be the fly-fishing capitals of the world. Since it’s pretty late in the season, the fly fisherman were about the only other folks around. In the distance, you could see guys just quietly casting in the river while a herd of elk grazed around them, steam vents blowing the distance. Kind of other-worldly.

1000 Yellowstone wonders are calling, look up and down and round about you!

– John Muir 1898

Yellowstone was the nation’s first national park. They have more hydrothermal features than anywhere on Earth – geysers, steam vents and bubbling mud pots everywhere. Fun fact – there are 500 geysers in the world and 300 are at Yellowstone. And, a bubbling mud pot sounds exactly like you think it should sound.

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Old Faithful was a required stop and certainly worth seeing. The parking lot and visitor’s center dwarf the actual geyser, but that’s the way it goes, I suppose. There were maybe 30 other people around to see it go when we were there. She was faithful within 4 minutes.  She now blows every 90 minutes or so and the rangers advise visitors on eruption times within 10 minute intervals.

Bode has been itching to use the ‘good’ camera more and more and we’ve now fully handed over the reins. He’s got a unique perspective on things from 3 feet off the ground and many of the past photos have been his. The photo of Angela and I below is probably one of our favorites of the trip. Sure, he cut off our heads, but he insisted it was the only way to get the shot of the geyser he wanted and include us in it. There’s something about it – we just like it. Symbolic maybe. You just never know how things are going to turn out, but it’s usually pretty great.

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I think we crossed the Continental Divide 4 times on way down to our campsite at the southern tip of the park. It had been snowing and the temperature was dropping. It was interesting to see a distinctive line where the trees were flocked along a thermocline in the distance.

The best part of visiting in October is that there is no one here. Yellowstone – one of the most visited national parks – all to ourselves. Zero people at our campsite. Camping at Yellowstone with no reservations and no neighbors. Cold, but recommended.

After dark, one person rolled into camp. Probably a fisherman who was just sleeping in the truck before an early start the next morning. We could occasionally hear the distinctive creak of an ice chest opening in the distance and that was the only sign of another person all night. We also heard a very loud owl.

The rangers told us that any downed or dead trees were fair game for firewood and I imagined a raging campfire this evening.  It turned out that the ground had been scoured clean over the summer and there wasn’t much other than remnants from other campsites. Not a problem – we still had a nice fire and roasted marshmallows after a chilly chili dinner.

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11 thoughts on “Still Faithful

  • October 26, 2009 at 7:51 PM
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    I love the Bode photos! The photo of parents + Old Faithful is fabulous. Totally frame-worthy in my opinion.

    See why we like winter camping? See? No people! Which usually means more wildlife, more free wood, no fees (usually) and less likely to run in to bears (or rather, have bears trolling the campgrounds (because messy people (leaving food all over the campground) often equals more bears looking for people food)). Not to mention, it’s totally bitchin’ to put chains on Ludwig and power through the forest on a 3″ thick piece of ice.
    -Melissa

  • October 26, 2009 at 7:55 PM
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    Whoops, my mistake. I should have typed “a geyser” instead of Old Faithful.
    -Melissa

  • October 26, 2009 at 8:25 PM
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    I am so jealous! I have been to Yellowstone three times and still long to visit the park without four million other people! When I went to see Old Faithful, there were hundreds of people on bleachers doing the wave…

  • October 27, 2009 at 7:37 AM
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    I jsut sent you an e-mail confirming Kelly’s invitation to visit. I also went through a bit of your web site and noted one place you asked about suggestions of places to visit. In WI I might suggest three places.
    1. Wisconsin Dells in southwest part of the state – Nice place but it is a visitor’s trap. Boat rides are interesting
    2. House on the Rock – located not too far from dells (stop at visitors booth as you enter WI to get brochure with directions). Very interesting but not understandable. It is essentially a unique museum of collectables – built by a cab driver living in Madison. I asked where he got his money from and was advised he borrowed a couple of thousand from his parents but that does not compute as I would estimate value of collectables to be $50 – $100 million.
    3. Door County – located near Green Bay and is a fishing area similar to the Maine coast

    Call us if you can make it to visit here xxx-xxx-xxxx. We hae two nephews here for your son to visit with

  • October 27, 2009 at 9:06 AM
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    Went out with a girl from Jackson for years when we were going to MSU in Bozeman… went back and forth through the park so many times I lost count, but my favorite trips were the swing seasons by far! I know your “blog lag” is a day or two, but if you need a contact in Jackson and are still there let me know as she’s still living there.

    Awesome photos Bode! 🙂

    -Parker

  • October 27, 2009 at 12:52 PM
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    My favorite park – Joe and I rode across Yellowstone in 99 on our bike trip – up from Idaho Falls and then east to Cody. the trip out of the Park is easier thatn the trip in – its all down hill for the 20 miles into Cody. I do recal we kept crossing the Cont. Divide every few hours as we were riding. I’m getting sore just thinking about it. Great Pics!!

  • October 27, 2009 at 5:37 PM
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    Fantastic photos and details! Keep ’em coming.

  • October 27, 2009 at 6:25 PM
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    Don’t forget to visit Custer’s Last Stand. Famous for the battle. My mom was so taken with the beauty of this part of the world when she & Dad drove through, she requested her ashes be scattered there. The entire family flew out in Sept. few years back and fulfilled her request. When you drive through, please blow my mom a kiss and tell her I love her & miss her!

  • October 28, 2009 at 12:19 PM
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    can you have bode get a shot of the very loud owl if you hear it again? the whole owl please.

  • October 29, 2009 at 4:58 PM
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    Fantastic photo! Sometimes the “mistakes” turn out the best. There is something about it…

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