Friday, June 24, 2016

Yellowstone (part 3)

There were three major things I wanted to see in Yellowstone: Old Faithful, the Grand Prismatic Spring and Mammoth Falls. I was on the road by 6:20am and heading towards Old Faithful when I saw a sign that read "geysers and hot springs and shit" so I had to stop (I might be paraphrasing the sign). 









Now, I saw amazing phenomena; geothermal hot springs. Incredible really. But it was at this point (7am) that I started to realize I might not be in the best mood today. 

I was appreciating nature, but irritated by people around me. 

There are signs everywhere that say "do not touch" or "scalding water will burn", but some moron sticks his hand in one of the hot springs and then tells his friend to do the same. I was tired, I was sore from sleeping on the ground and now I was cranky with the human race.

As a side note, here are a few other MORONS just begging to be mauled to death and I was going to let it happen. I was going to video it, if the situation presented itself.




Anyway, I went to Old Faithful. I stopped along the way for maybe 5 minutes to get water out of the trunk and take a picture of trees or something. 

When I got to Old Faithful, I started walking towards the geysers and I saw a huge plume of steam, hundreds of feet in the air. By the time I got there, I realized I had missed the eruption by like two minutes and would have to wait 90 minutes to see it myself. 

I knew this was a possibility and it was still early in the day, so I didn't mind so much. I got breakfast, futzed around and then got a front row seat with hundreds of other tourists. About 20 minutes until the eruption, two children sat next to me and said everything that came to their little brains. Namely, "Gosh this is taking a long time. What time is it? What time is it now? This is taking a long time. This better be worth it or else. Okay let's count down. 10, 9, 8, 7. No. No. 10, much slower now, ten...nine...eight...two years later...7...3 years later...6." My patience was at an all-time low. It was a miracle I said nothing to these children or their parents. 

When Old Faithful blew, the kids were still talking, so any video I have, these crazy kids are in it. 

When I missed it by a few minutes
I wasn't the only one waiting for a show
I'm sure Old Faithful is a geological miracle but it reminded me of the Mona Lisa. You see it, you say "hmph, I thought it would be bigger", and then you go about your day, which is just what I did.

Hmph. I thought it would be bigger. Where did I park again?
I had been looking forward to seeing the Grand Prismatic Spring since I saw it on Google weeks ago. Driving down the street, I saw a bunch of people parked on the side of the road, because the parking lot was overflowing, but still I got in line for the parking lot because it was getting hot and I wanted a closer spot. I was feeling cranky and didn't want to walk.

I waited in line and waited and waited and realized that today was going to be about waiting. I said to myself, "I don't care if I have to wait 2 hours. This is why I'm at Yellowstone". 

I finally got a spot, it was perfect and I walked up the ramp with all the other tourists. 

At the top, what I saw took my breath away. To say I felt like I was on another planet does not come close to how I felt. How did the Earth make this? How is this possible? I...I....look at this...


I saw this as I was walking up to it. "oooh, pretty blue," I thought...little did I know...
It would get better...
And better...




I mean, I know these are all shots of the same thing but I couldn't get enough!



And that wasn't even the only thing up there! There was the bluest, clearest lake you'd ever want to swim in...only the water was boiling.



There is one more thing I would like to mention about what I saw up there. There is a pathway, a bridge, if you will, that you follow around a loop so that you can see these things. The walkway is slipper from the steam and the wind blows so hard lots of people lose their hats. The thing that scares me about this little walkway is that there are very few handrails. This is how a man (just last week) stepped off onto the crust, which gave way, and he disappeared into hot mystery. They were unable to recover...anything. This shit is HOT and DEEP and once you go in, you're gone. And this is why I almost passed out while watching a park ranger (carefully) walk on the hard parts of the Earth to retrieve a bunch of these hats!



Okay, I know this is has been a long blog but there are two more things I'd like to talk about.

First, I was driving away from the Grand Prismatic Spring and had about an hour and a half left until I was exiting via the North Entrance. 16 miles (or so) down the road there was traffic. So much traffic that I turned my car off because I figured it was going to be a while. 

The woman in front of me got out of her car to get her camera from the trunk (you've seen this picture above) but the problem was, a small herd of bison was walking towards us on the other side of the street! My windows were all down. 

As soon as I saw the bison, I turned my car on, rolled all my windows up except for the driver's and snapped a bunch of pictures. One bison looked me in the eye and either tripped a little or took an intentional step towards me, at which point I audibly said, "Nuh Uh!" and rolled my window all the way up, while all my sphincters tightened. 

The bison continued on his way with the others, at a very slow pace, but was two arm lengths from me. Awesome!





The last thing I would like to talk about is Mammoth Hot Springs. I was maybe 10 minutes from leaving the park when I see Mammoth Hot Springs on my left. There is a huge white rock face with steam pouring out of it and a waterfall of boiling water, but I had seen so much that I was overwhelmed. Again I spoke out loud. "Nope. Do not care." And with that I drove out of the park and into Montana. I will leave that story for the next blog.



Yellowstone (Part 2)

Two things: I am going to type a lot in this and the next blog entry and I'm going to backtrack a little bit because I feel like I missed some fun things from day one at Yellowstone. 

Once I set up my tent, I couldn't relax. I laid down in my tent, with the sun beating down on me, and I read all the pamphlets on bear safety and wildlife and looked at the maps to see where I would go the next day, but for some reason I felt like I needed to stay in the campsite (it was only 2pm), which made me restless. I kept going to my car to grab something like water or a book or a pillow or just anything. Back and forth - car, tent, car, tent.



Once I realized that I was fidgeting, I decided to go for a walk, which led me to the lake. While at Yellowstone Lake, I saw buck in the grass. It was amazing. He saw me and looked right at me but figured I wasn't a threat, so he went back to eating grass. His antlers were little and all fuzzy and he was just beautiful. 



Then I went a little bit further into nearby woods, and saw the biggest poop I'd ever seen. Figuring it was a bear, I turned around and went back to camp. That's when I took my nap in the sun, woke up and went to Mud Volcano where I met bison for the first time.

Everything went smoothly in the evening. I fell asleep rather early and woke up in the middle of the night, quite sore from the ground, which (surprisingly) is hard. I probably woke up 4 times and each time thought about bears. 

I borrowed the sleeping bag from Kate, who said I should get it washed before going camping. One of the times I woke up, I worried that the sleeping bag would smell like food and I would basically be a tasty burrito for some bear. What would I do if a bear thought I was a tasty snack? Basically nothing. There was no way I could convince him that I was not a tasty burrito, so I went back to sleep, resigned to my fate.

Another time during the night, I heard a man snoring several tents over and thought, "did a bear just make that noise in my ear? Was a bear just breathing and that's what it sounds like?" Again, there was nothing I could do, so I went back to sleep.

I should say that it got down to 30 degrees in the night but I was very warm except for my eyes and the top of my head when my hoodie came off. The burrito that I borrowed from Kate was very thick and very warm. When I woke up just after 5 a.m., I stepped outside the tent and shivered for five minutes. I couldn't believe how cold it was, which made me so thankful that I didn't freeze to death overnight.


The moon wished me a good morning
I wanted to wake up around 5 o'clock because I wanted to see the sunrise over the lake. I made my way down there and set up my iPhone to record a time-lapse of the sunrise. I got about 28 minutes of it but it was so cold that my toes went numb. As I was waiting for the sun to rise, I jogged up and down the beach, I did exercises that I recently learned in a Berkeley boot camp. I did anything and everything I could to stay warm. The sun rose (most of the way), I grabbed my phone and head back to camp where I packed up and was on the road by 6:20 a.m. hoping to beat the crowds at Old Faithful.


video