Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Grant Gallivant: A Summary of Yellowstone

The only pics I have on my laptop so far: Christian, me and Zach getting ready to leave Portland

Good grief, I had forgotten how hard it is to blog and camp at the same time, especially with a laptop that has no battery and is therefore a tiny desktop. But I have a few minutes at the cafe/pharmacy in Gardiner, MT, with an outlet and some wi-fi, so I thought I’d post a brief update.

First of all, Yellowstone is amazing! Yes, you already knew that, and so did I, but I’m glad that I finally got the chance to visit. We’re camping at Eagle Creek Campground, which is in a national forest (mostly sagebrush land) outside the park, then driving into Mammoth Hot Springs in the park every day to fill up on water. From here, we’ve driven to several different parts of the park: Roosevelt, the Lamar Valley, Old Faithful, and so on. My favorite so far was the Norris Basin, with its geysers, billowing steam vents, and bizarrely-colored pools— when I have photos on my computer, I’ll post them to try to give you a taste of just how incredible that area is.

We’ve also seen lots of animals, of course: herds of bison blocking the road, bighorn sheep grazing just off the shoulder, elk running around everywhere getting annoyed by tourists, antelope roaming the sagebrush hills. On our very first hike (Beaver Ponds Trail at Mammoth), we saw a black bear and her two cubs about thirty feet away! A couple days later, we glimpsed a grizzly and her cubs from the car, but we didn’t stop because the road was choked with tourists running toward the bears and rangers running after the tourists screaming at them to get back in their freaking cars before they got mauled. Ah, tourists!

The past few days we’ve had a few too-close encounters with bison; they’ve decided that our campsite is a great place to graze— early morning, mid-day, and even the middle of the night. The bulls that have wandered through are as tall as our Nissan XTerra, and the one who walked through yesterday glared at us pointedly, then snorted, stamped his hooves, kicked up some dirt, and peed all over the ground next to our tent before rolling in it, tearing up the grass. So when we woke up at 1:30am last night and heard a loud snort a couple feet away, we fled our tent and hid out in the car until he left. I’m glad we’re having run-ins with bison rather than bears, but it’s sometimes unnerving!

Well, I’ll write a longer post later, but there are the highlights of the past few days. Tomorrow we’re heading to northern Montana to work on a cashmere goat farm for a couple weeks, so that’ll be a nice change of pace. Until next time!


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