Monday, August 30, 2010
Although it was Friday the 13th of August, we are NOT superstitious -- we know we are in God's hands -- so we said our goodbyes to our wonderful friends and once again hit the road. Our destination today was the Yellowstone Valley Inn and RV Park in Wapiti, Wyoming. The fastest and easiest way to get to Wapiti was to drive through Yellowstone.
Tetons in our rear-view mirror:(
We drove the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway.
In 1972, Congress dedicated a 24,000 acre parcel of land as the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway to recognize his generosity and foresight. Rockefeller was a conservationist and philanthropist who made major contributions to several national parks, including Grand Tetons, Great Smokey Mountains, etc. The parkway provides a natural link between the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.
It was a cool, misty morning and we could see campfire smoke along the way, as well as early-morning bicyclists.
Waiting to enter Yellowstone -- it's wasn't as crowded as it looked. However, this particular weekend was to be a free weekend for all visitors, starting Saturday.
Once through the gate we noticed this loaded-down hiker/camper...he entered Yellowstone just ahead of us -- on foot.
Then we began to see the destruction as the result of fire.
Realizing we were hungry and also wanted coffee, we pulled over, started the generator -- I popped a couple of sausage/biscuits in the microwave and made a pot of coffee. We ate and drank our coffee overlooking Lewis Lake.
Alan checked it out.
I found this shoe and couldn't help but wonder what happened to the person that was wearing it. I prayed he wasn't in the lake somewhere.
We drove around Yellowstone Lake and saw our first geysers.
Yellowstone Lake is the largest high elevation lake in North America. The shoreline is 141 miles and the surface area is 132 square miles. It is so large that it can even create its own weather, forming cumulus clouds during the day that often shower the area by evening. And that definitely looked like it might happen today as we drove around the lake. A geyser is a special kind of hot spring that periodically erupts as pressure mounts in the large volume of hot water stored deep under the surface. Some geysers erupt every minute while others are inactive for months or even years. The park has over 300 geysers and each continues to change its pattern of activity. We overheard someone say that if there was an earthquake in Yellowstone, all the Western states would be gone -- certainly a scary thought.
Speaking of earthquakes, I forgot to mention in my last posting that we experienced a small (4.3) earthquake while we were sitting at the dinner table at Martin's and Melissa's, but it was enough that we said, "What's that?" as the dining table rocked. That was the first time any of us had felt an earthquake.
The lake sits within a large crater that was formed by a volcano and then carved and filled by glaciers some 14,000 years ago. The lake's deep blue waters are encircled by a 141-mile, tree-lined shore. Moose, waterfowl and other wildlife reside nearby, but we saw no wildlife in the area today, but the scenery was spectacular, even with the clouds overhead.
We finally made our way around the lake and came upon a bison jam.
As we approached the East gate, more construction, more one-lane traffic. We do understand they have a short frame in which to do road construction -- due to the winter weather in this area.
Out the East gate and into the Shoshone National Forest.
Shoshone National Forest is the first National Forest in the United States and covers nearly 2.5 million acres. The forest was created by an act of Congress and signed into law by President Benjamin Harrison in 1891.
We arrived at Yellowstone Valley Inn and RV Park in Wapiti.
We had reservations for two nights. This WAS a Passport America park, but when we arrived, we were told they no longer took Passport America. What was supposed to be $20 a night quickly became $40 -- $77 with tax for two nights with Good Sam discount.
Wapiti is an unincorporated community and is named after the Cree Indian word for elk. Although it is unincorporated, it does have a post office.
The literature claims this Yellowstone Valley has 57 level sites, but from the looks of it, there were more than 57. As you can see, the sites were level -- all gravel and dirt...no grass.
And relatively close quarters.
We unhooked the car and drove the 18 miles to Cody, Wyoming. On the way, we drove past the Buffalo Bill Cody Reservoir.
And through a couple of tunnels.
And we got behind this car.
As we pulled into the Wal-Mart parking lot, we were surprised to see all the motorhomes, campers, etc. that looked like they were lined up supposedly to spend the night in the parking lot.
Following our visit to Wal-Mart, we headed back to the campground. Our plan was to see as much of Yellowstone as we could the next morning. As I stated, the weekend of August 14-15 was a free day at the National Parks, so we knew it would be crowded, so we planned to get an early start.
Come back soon and see what we find. God bless our voyage and God bless our family and friends everywhere.