Sunday, June 10, 2012

YELLOWSTONE PART III

Buffalo Bill Dam
Friday morning (the 8th )brought another cold morning in the RV but it promised to be a warming trend during the day. Today was the day to solve our battery issues. Tim took the batteries out of the RV and off we went to Cody, Wyoming. We passed back out of the Park at the Eastern entrance and after talking to a tire/battery dealer, who found no issues with the batteries other than they were under charged, we found a Walmart where the batteries were diagnosed to be no good. One of them was completely dead and wouldn't take any charge at all and the second one would only charge partially to 1/2 capacity after a full 3 hours of trickle charging. We did a little shopping, bought the new batteries and headed back to the RV. This took the better part of the day as it was about 90 miles each way over curvy mountain roads and passes. We enjoyed the ride, though, as you just can't beat the views! On the way home we stopped a few places we had driven by in the RV the first time we entered the park. One was the Buffalo Bill Dam, the second was a view of Sylvan Lake, then a moose by the side of the road and finally,we saw a herd of big horn sheep on the side of a steep hill. They were trying to cross the road, but were frightened by the traffic. Cars did stop but they were still jittery and were slipping down the hill on the loose rock. They were sure footed on a very slippery slope.
Sylvan Lake
Moose
Long Horn Sheep Scrambling to Safety


Excitement over, we returned to the RV. It still was a fairly warm day but once the sun started to set, we knew the temperatures would drop.  Tim installed the batteries and we had full power and a promise of a toasty warm night. Good thing! The temperatures were dropping fast.

On Saturday, June 9th, we arose to a warm RV with full battery power! Hallelujah!

We were going to do the bike trail to the Natural Bridge which was just off the Grand Loop Road near our campground, but it was closed due to too much bear activity in the area. Too cold for bike riding today anyway. They are predicting snow once again.

Dressing for the weather, we drove out past Fishing Bridge to the Storm Point trailhead. As we crossed the meadow to Yellowstone Lake, the wind kicked up and we donned our ever ready wool hats and windbreakers over our polar fleece jackets. It was a relatively easy 2 and 1/2 mile walk. The wind got ever stronger as we reached the edge of the lake and we estimated it to be about 30 mph. With the temperatures hovering at 40 degrees, the wind chill made it feel like it was down to mid 20s. We now know why they call it Storm Point. The white caps on the lake were as if you were on Long Island Sound in a squall.
Bear Country Once Again! We had our bells and bear repellent spray with us...
Yellowstone Lake at Storm Point
Summetime in Yellowstone!
Marmot on the rocks

We did see our first Marmot which is a rodent similar to a ground hog or wood chuck. It sat up nice and tall and posed for us on top of the rock near the shore. The shore itself is eroding from the wind driven waves. The walk back through the Ponderosa Pine forest was eerie because we kept hearing the trees rubbing together. A  couple of them had fallen across the path and we had to climb over them. The first noise of the trees scared me, in particular, because this is bear country too. We were prepared again with our bells and repellent spray, but I really didn't want to see one and, at first, I thought the noise was from a grizzly. No bear sightings this day and it was definitely warmer walking through the woods than along the shore of the lake.

West Thumb Geyser Basin
Home for lunch and hot chocolate and then out again in the afternoon to West Thumb Geyser Basin which was 21 miles south of the campground. It is a 1/2 mile boardwalk double circle through all the geyers and pools along the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake. There are many geysers and thermal areas near this side of the lake and even some in the water still. This is the spot where it is rumored that the anglers used to catch the fish from the lake and turn around, dip it in a hot geyser to cook while it was still on the hook. It was called the "fish pot." Nowadays the boardwalk keeps the folks on the trail and there is no fishing there. The wind was brutal and the snow started. We did our tour very quickly and headed back up to Old Faithful Snow Lodge where we sat in warmth and comfort to catch up with our blogs.

With the battery situation under control, we will return to a nice and cozy RV tonight. They are promising more of the same cold temperatures, wind and snow tomorrow as well. Glad we brought our long johns.

1 comment:

  1. Jan and Jim WestonJune 12, 2012 at 6:03 AM

    Of the many times we've been in Yellowstone, never have we experienced the cold that you have. A few weeks makes a BIG difference in the weather. Glad you got your battery problem fixed. We like the Madison campground on the west side the best, for campsites. And when have stayed in Bay Bridge a couple of times, we liked the C or D loops better, but I'm sure only the A loop is open this early.

    Jim has two questions he wants to ask... Have you been told that there is a dome forming on the bottom of Yellowstone Lake caused by the thermal pressures from down below? And do you know how to tell the differnce between grizzly poop and black bear poop? The grizzly poop has those little bells in it! Watch out you two!!! Love the blog...

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