Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017
Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Young Bucks and Towering Water, Part 2 - Sun., June 11, 2017

Continued from Sun., June 11, Part 1...

Upon heading west from Cody, we soon enter rock canyons on the way to Buffalo Bill Dam. One of the people we met in Cody told us about a walk not many people know about. Just about one mile west from the Cody Rodeo grounds you will see a bridge across a river down a hill on the right-hand side. Turn right and park at the bridge. The trail starts at the bridge and goes about two miles to the base of the Buffalo Bill Dam. The walk is pretty level most of the way. He told us it is a good walk to do on a hot day because most of the walk is in the canyon. When you get to Buffalo Bill Dam, the spillway spray cools you off. Plus, he says, the view of the Buffalo Bill Dam from the bottom is awesome because it's so tall.

The rocks are pretty impenetrable, so a tunnel had to be blasted through them. Once you are on the other side of the tunnel heading west, you will be at Buffalo Bill Dam. It's worth a stop when you're in the area. We did not stop today because we wanted to make the most of our time in Yellowstone this afternoon.

Tunnel to Buffalo Bill Dam
Once through the tunnel, the snowy mountains look so much closer. We are on the Buffalo Bill Scenic Highway through Wapiti (Native American for elk) Valley. There are beautiful campgrounds along this reservoir behind Buffalo Bill Dam.

Dramatic Rocky Mountain scenery
You can see three different stages of erosion here
In the photo above, look closely to see the small foothills of sandstone, the middle range of harder rocks, and then the Rocky Mountains behind. 

Not all is natural here, however. Below is a very bizarre house. This is the Smith Mansion built by Francis Lee Smith, an engineer, one might say a very eccentric engineer.

Francis Smith started building the mansion in 1970. (That's the year I graduated high school!) In 1971, Smith began digging and excavating for the house. It took three men two years to dig it up. For the foundation, Smith used a concrete mixer, mixing up five gallon buckets of concrete at a time. He built around large boulders in the floor when he got tired of digging them up. For the whole article that explains this phenomenal place, see "House on hill captivates," by Cassandra Sturos, August 31, 2016, published in the Cody Enterprise newspaper.

Photo by Susan Alton (as we drove by without stopping)
All along Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway are hoodoos. Hoodoos are what's left of eroded rock, sometimes forming fantastical shapes. For example, in the photo below, I see a wagon train. Some named hoodoos along the route are Elephant Head, Chimney, Holy City, and Hanging Rock. You can make up your own names for them, as well.

Woo hoo, we made it to Yellowstone!
When we arrived, our cabins had not been made up yet. During our wait time, we went to the Visitor Center at Old Faithful and watched a couple of movies, looked at the museum, and shopped in the Gift Store. After all that, my cabin was ready so I moved in.

While we waited for Susan and Darren's cabin to be made up, we hiked a 10k around the Upper Geyser Basin, up to the Scenic Overlook. We saw Old Faithful go off a couple of times. They weren't huge eruptions of Old Faithful and lasted shorter than I remember.

Marmots sunning
View of Old Faithful Inn from the overlook
Old Faithful geyser - people are lining up to watch
Old Faithful erupt
Another view from the overlook
From the overlook, we noticed people were gathering for the next eruption of Old Faithful. We hightailed it down the hill so we could watch from across the way, not where all the other people were.

Firehole River flowing through Upper Geyser Basin
Old Faithful from Geyser Hill
Old Faithful
We wound our way around a couple more hot pools and geysers when we saw the big geyser, Grand Geyser, start spouting. We hurriedly made our way to the Grand Geyser viewing area, getting completely steamed on our way there because of the direction the wind was blowing. We felt so fortunate to see Grand Geyser go off. It's much bigger and much more erratic than Old Faithful. 

Ear Spring
Grand Geyser from a distance
Grand Geyser
Grand Geyser and a vent geyser from the viewing area.
Grand Geyser goes on for a long time
Grand Geyser is so joyous and lasts a long time
Enlarge and you may see a rainbow on the left
I'm happy we saw Grand Geyser go off!
Next, we walked to Grotto Geyser, which reminds me of E.T., and then we continued to Morning Glory Pool.

The surreal landscape of Upper Geyser Basin
Hot pools overflow into the Firehole River
Grotto Geyser
Grotto Geyser spitting

E.T. phone home - Grotto Geyser
When we arrived at Morning Glory Pool we were happy we didn't have to go any farther afield! Bear activity noted, our safety can't be guaranteed if we go that way.

The Morning Glory Pool is and has been effected by people through the years. It used to be bluer and clearer. Because people keep throwing things into it, it throws off the beautiful natural color of the geyser. The National Park Service (NPS) spends thousands of dollars trying to keep it cleaned out.

Photo of NPS employees cleaning Morning Glory Pool

Morning Glory Pool now
We finished our walk around the Upper Geyser Basin by heading back to the Old Faithful Inn and then to our cabins.

Old Faithful Inn ahead
One more eruption of Old Faithful, please.
Dinner consisted of a picnic in Susan & Darren's cabin. We had more of the crackers from the eclipse basket, plus summer sausage, cheese, and some excellent rose moscato.

We then called it a night. Tomorrow we plan to do the Fairy Falls Volksmarch very early because this is a 14k (8.68 mile) walk. After the walk, we want to go to Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Bad weather is supposed to come in after noon. We will be cutting it close with the weather moving in.

A word about our cabins...they have a sink with hot and cold running water, but no toilet or shower. The cabin with restrooms is next door to our cabins. I have a flashlight and my room key by the door in case I need to go in the middle of the night. The shower house is a couple of rows away. I skip a shower tonight. I will take one after the hikes tomorrow.

Travel Bug out.

1 comment:

  1. Attended a Holiday Rambler National Rally in Cody with my parents when I was a preteen. Looks as gorgeous in your photos as I remember.


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