Wednesday, June 26, 2013


5/24/2013 Yellowstone National Park to Gardiner, MT

You want to know something weird?  So far on this trip, I've only seen ten black people, and one of them was Al Roker.

I know that's kind of out of left field, here, but I've seriously started counting and there have only been ten!  In contrast, I've seen hundreds of Asian visitors thus far.  Honestly, like hundreds, if not thousands, of Asian tourists have been in the national parks here with us.  I've never seen anything like it.   Steve said that every time I'm in a public place and I say "Mr. Lee!" about thirty people turn around.   I hope that doesn't sound racist.  It's not meant to be, I promise.  Weird.

Anyways, it snowed on us last night!  SNOW!  I mean, it wasn't much, but it's May and it's snowing and I love it!  It was enough to powder the ground and the cars, but not enough to cause any trouble. I think I was right about the hotel staff just having a few opening week hiccups, because after we packed, Steve and I got into the van to pull around to the lake side of the hotel while we waited on Mr. Lee to check out and it took him forever.  He said that they were having some computer trouble.  Apparently they expected us to be angry, because when I went in to make sure there were no problems, Mr. Lee was standing at the desk and they were very apologetic to me.  I wasn't angry or inconvenienced in any way, which seemed to surprise them.  Makes me wonder how they'd been treated earlier on.

I went back outside and Steve and I took some photos of the lake. It was huge and beautiful.  I always love to be near big bodies of water.  The sun was out and the wind was blowing, and the whole thing shimmered. Gorgeous.  It was also freaking cold out there.

Mr. Lee finally came out and we were on our way again.  As I said, we are slowly making our way back to Bozeman, still stopping frequently and taking pictures.  Today we went to Norris, which is another place to see thermal features.

 We saw Dragon's Mouth, which was much more impressive than my pictures show.  It  was cool because it made this weird roaring sound.  I wish I'd filmed it instead of just snapping the picture so you could hear it.

 We also stopped at another look off and saw this:

 Apparently, much like the Spanish Inquisition, no one ever expects a sudden thermal feature!  

I hope no one was parked over that when it broke through.  These things are so interesting.  A sign talked about how the thermals create highly acidic water, much more acidic than lemon juice.  My first thought was that it would make a great place to dump a body.

After leaving Norris, we went through Haden's Valley, which was just gorgeous.

 We stopped next at the Upper and Lower Falls in Yellowstone and it was just breathtaking.  At Upper Falls there is a place called Artist's Point (I think) and the view from that spot is just so perfect.  The falls were perfectly framed. 

I guess we can also see where Yellowstone got it's name!

The lower falls were less impressive, but only because you were standing right next to them, but it was still lovely.  I saw this nearby:

Don't quote me, but I think it's a tree monster standing on one foot.

I might be getting upper and lower falls mixed up, so forgive the mistake if so!
We stopped at a place called the Golden Gate Pass, but I hated it.  It was impressive looking, but the wind sort of funneled through it and it was strong enough to knock you down if you weren't careful.  Falling down off the cliffs is no joke, so I just got back into the van.

Next we made it to Mammoth Springs, which I thought would have mammoth bones or something, but it turns out it was just called that because it was so big!  Apparently, a lot of the springs have died, but they can erupt just about anywhere without notice.  We drove through, and I have to admit, it wasn't my favorite spot.  It probably wasn't landscaped, but the way the driving paths were laid out made it look too much like a mini-golf course.  It was kind of cool once we got to the end.  The spring had leached all the color out of the landscape around it, so except for the sky and some orange bacterial mats, it actually looked like a grayscale image in real life.

We decided to go back tomorrow to see Mammoth Springs and look around some more.  We headed out of Yellowstone and into Gardiner, Montana, which is literally just outside of the gate.  It's a tourist town, but still kind of quiet this early in the season.  I hate to say it, but something about it seemed a little post-apocalyptic.  Maybe because it seemed kind of empty.  I don't know, really, but I was a little heebed out.  I'm sure it's really a lovely little town, but I'd feel better if more people were walking around!

After checking into the hotel, we went to dinner at this tiny little restaurant.  The guy who served us wasn't that friendly, but the food was good!  I tasted elk!  I liked it, although it was a little strange to me.  After dinner we came back to the room and rearranged our luggage.  All I know is that I'm super tired. 

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