Thursday, July 05, 2007
We Are in Montana
Megan and I are in Montana! We are staying at a Ramada Inn in Bozeman. We arrived Tuesday evening after a smooth flight across the Rockies, after which we underwent a rapid descent down to the town of Bozeman. We woke up yesterday morning and went to Yellowstone National Park with our Friends James and Kathleen. The ninety mile drive down to Yellowstone was smooth and sunny, made especially nice by our free upgrade to our Ford Escape four wheel drive SUV. The sights, sounds, and smells of Yellowstone were even better than I remembered. Geyers, paintpots, mudpits, hot springs, and fumaroles were all spectacular. I just kept thinking I was in a huge fake mini golf course with rumbling volcanoes all over the place, but these were real. Real rumbling, real steam, real sulphuric smell pouring out of the ground. And the people! Old Faithful was packed, I would say at least 1000 people watched it explode with us right around 1:15 in the afternoon. Later in the day, we visited the thumb neck area, where geyers and Lake Yellowstone meet. Talk about a juxtoposition! The 45 degree water of the lake meets the thermal shores of geyserland. Needless to say, it was pretty cool, and hot, all at the same time. We finished off the day at Yellowstone Falls, headed then to the Roosevelt Lodge, and finally to Mammoth Springs where we exited the park. Along our way, snaking through mountains on a two lane road, we were treated to spectacular views of the Yellowstone valley below us. Stopped in every possible place were cars, on and off the road, with people peering over the cliff looking at bears and wolves in the valley below! We weren't able to see the momma grizzly bear with her two cubs, or the wolves, but we did see a moose with her baby, and also a full size brown bear. We also had a close encounter with two coyotes, and saw several hundred American bison. I also got two life birds, the raven, which are scavengers in the park like grackles back in Ohio, and two sandhill cranes, which Megan spotted in a lake that contained a floating Island. And wait, I forgot about the white Pelicans we saw in the rapids of the Yellowstone River. There were at least eight birds just hanging out, far away from the ocean, in this great river.