Archive for January, 2010

Day 9: More Yellowstone

Sun, Jun 14, 2009

Last night was far more peaceful. I think the two layers of pajamas made all the difference. We decided to drive north to the Mammoth Springs area. Here we saw the living quarters of the park staff. Looked like a nice residential area. From the top of mammoth springs itself, we got beautiful views of the town and the surrounding area. There was not a lot of water, but this one has unique geographic formations. The water was pretty hot to the touch. We walked on those boardwalk trails for a bit.

After that we drove to the Norris Geyser Basin. There was a ranger walk starting and we joined. The trail was very nice with some active small geysers and some were pretty colorful too. We came back early and caught up on laundry and just relaxed the rest of the evening.

Miles drive today: 102

States: WY

Mammoth Hot Springs

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Sat, Jun 13, 2009

Last night was a nightmare. We had expected it to be cold and were reasonably prepared, but didn’t think it would be in the 30s. We froze. The tent didn’t let any rain water seep in, but just the moisture in the air had dampened the insides. We had good comforters, but our heads, noses, ears etc were exposed. Sometime in the night, 3.5 yr old SK declared, “this is sooo not fun”.

But once it was past 9 in the morning, it became much more bearable. The shower facilities were awesome. After a nice hot shower, we set out to explore Yellowstone NP. We love NPs but Yellowstone is really unique. We drove on the North Rim drive and saw the Upper and Lower Yellowstone falls. The Canyon was pretty amazing too. Later in the day we saw the spectacular eruptions of several geysers, the Great Fountain Geyser being the best of them. It was almost an hour’s show. The sheer volume of water, the height to which it erupted and the duration of the eruption, it all came together for a one of a kind of experience. Later we drove to Old faithful and watched it erupt too. But after the Great Fountain Geyser, I was not at all impressed by Old faithful. There was just too much mist and dense fog to realize what was going on. But the visitor center was fabulous and we enjoyed some hot coffee and snacks there, which was perfect for the drippy weather.

On the drive back, there was only one thought on my mind – to see if we could get any sort of room for the night. It being the weekend, chances were slim, but I hoped a basic room may be available. When we checked at the reception, they had nothing open and the nearest place which had any availability was the Old faithful Inn and that too, only the pricey, exclusive suites. I confirmed with her that it was ok to get in the car and run the engine in the night, if it got too cold. With peace of mind that we had a plan B and wearing two layers of pajamas, we went to bed.

Miles driven today: 145

States: WY

Lower falls

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Day 7: A birthday on the road

It has been more than seven months and the road trip seems like from another life. Actually everything about the U.S has been forgotten so quickly, it is unbelievable. This is not to say that we don’t desperately miss that place. But the daily life here has been hectic (I don’t know if it is because of the transition or if this is how life will be). But I just wanted to update whatever little I can of the remainder of our trip.

Fri, Jun 12, 2009

It is AK’s 8th birthday today and we are in the middle of nowhere here in Gillette, WY. The agenda is just to drive to Yellowstone National Park. It has been a long time wish to visit that place. I ask around at the reception of our hotel and a few nearby grocery stories but couldn’t find even a semi-decent cake, so we just gave up. AK was pretty sporting and didn’t fuss much about the lack of celebration of his milestone.

The initial 150 miles or so was pretty boring, but once we entered the Big Horn National Forest, it was quite beautiful. We stopped at a few view points and the drive thru the Big Horn Canyon itself was pretty breathtaking. Another nice place was the Buffalo Bill Dam and the Buffalo Bill reservoir.

After this we were really in some of the most remote parts of the country. We passed through towns with population of 50 and 10! We finally reached Yellowstone around 4 pm or so. The plan was to camp for 3 nights here. It was another 50 mile drive to the camp site from the entrance. On the way, we were treated to first views of the smaller geysers and hot springs. We walked on the mud pots trail and saw two bisons up close. The kids were a bit apprehensive about camping after that. Evening here was a bit chilly but it was not totally unexpected.

But we were not quite prepared for what happened next. When we reached the campground and located our site, there was snow on the ground. More than a little bit. We were not really prepared for that. We cleared what we could and pitched our tent. Dinner was soup and noodles.

Miles driven today: 420

States passed through: WY

Our campsite

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