Day 10 – Thursday – July 4, 2013
0630 Wake up. Get dressed right away so I can get Rocco out for a potty break. He still won’t go. I think maybe he’s still nervous from the fireworks last night. Then we spot some elk cruising through town, enjoying their breakfast and it’s a hopeless case. He just won’t pee! So back to the cabin to see if anyone else is up yet.
0700 Felisa is up so she comes with me to walk Rocco again. I have once again just about given up hope when he finally decides to pee. Whew. Talk about bladder of steel!
0800 Stop at the local small market to pick up some food. We got fruit, muffins, hot dogs, bread and ice.
0820 Stop in town to get some coffee.
0840 Mammoth Hot Springs. Mmm… smell the sulfur!
0855 Visitor Center. We take turns going in and waiting outside with Rocco. While I was outside I saw a 4th of July parade across the street in the lodge parking lot. Rocco’s favorite part of this stop was sniffing the elk poop in the park. What did we learn here?
Felisa – Otherwise known as song dogs, coyotes communicate through howls, yelps, and woofs.
Ryan – Elk cows give birth away from the herd and stay away for 2 weeks until the babies are strong enough to keep up with the herd. They keep the calves hidden while they graze during this time.
Bella – Mountain lions eat bison and elk and sometimes also porcupines and marmots.
0930 We are on the road towards Old Faithful.
0937 Decide to drive through the Mammoth Hot Springs upper terrace on the way. It definitely smells like sulfur up here!
0948 Orange Mound
0951 Angel Terrace. Lots of dead trees here.
0952 Leaving the Upper Terrace Drive.
1009 Obsidian Cliff
1015 Roaring Mountain. The 1988 forest fire burn area is across the street.
1034 Norris Geyser Basin. Rocco and I hang around the parking lot while Ron and the kids go check it out. It’s not too bad when we first arrive but the longer we wait, the crazier it gets in the parking lot. Too many people and not enough spots.
1130 Leaving Norris. They were able to see examples of all the main types of geothermal features – steam vents, hot springs, mud pots, and geysers. What did we learn?Felisa – Mud pots are sometimes called paint pots when minerals tint the mud various colors.
Ryan – Pork Chop was a friendly hot spring named for its shape. In 1971 it turned into a continuous steam vent. In 1985 it erupted violently shooting out lots of debris and has continued to occasionally erupt since then. Pork Chop is not so friendly anymore…
Bella – Hot springs are the most common geothermal feature in Yellowstone.
Our favorite parts of Norris:Felisa and Ryan –the colors
Bella – the orange and green creek
Ron – Porcelain Geyser
1134 Elk Park
12:04 p.m. Fountain Paint Pot – a busy area so we didn’t stop but from the road it looks like a small colorful geyser.
12:12 p.m. Biscuit Basin
12:15 p.m. Passing Old Faithful. We are worried about being able to find a campsite for tonight so we decide to skip Old Faithful and head for the campground. We’ll come back up later in the day.
12:25 p.m. Continental Divide, Craig Pass, 8262 feet
12:33 p.m. Continental Divide, 8391 feet
12:44 p.m. Continental Divide, 7988 feet
12:56 p.m. Lewis Lake Campground. The campground is pretty full already but we find a spot and get set up. The group before us were total litterbugs. This place is a mess! After lunch Ron and the kids take Rocco for a walk and then we all relax a little. Ron takes the girls down to swim at the lake while Ryan and I stay at the camp with Rocco to read. After a bit we hear thunder. Not long after the swimmers are back.
5:13 The car is packed back up with our food and other items we don’t want to leave sitting out while we drive back across the park to see Old Faithful.
5:22 p.m. Continental Divide, 7988 feet
5:32 p.m. Continental Divide, 8391 feet. People are in front of the sign so I don’t get a picture.
5:43 p.m. Continental Divide, 8262 feet. I got a picture but it’s raining so not sure it will turn out.
5:55 p.m. Old Faithful parking. It’s raining here too. We have arrived at a good time. We can look around the visitors’ center for a bit before Old Faithful’s next predicted eruption. I was worried we would have arrived just after an eruption and have to wait a long time.
6:47 p.m. There she blows! The estimated time was 6:39. The show lasted 3 minutes. We stood in the rain for at least 30 minutes waiting for the eruption but now we’ve all seen it and can check it off the bucket list. Even Rocco got to see it but he had to wait off to the side since he wasn’t allowed in the official viewing area. He had a better seat though, at least for the waiting time, because he stayed dry under a tree! After the eruption Ron took the kids shopping at the general store while Rocco and I went back to the car.
7:20 p.m. Leaving Old Faithful area. As we drive back to camp there is a full double rainbow. So awesome!
7:52 p.m. Finally got a picture of the Continental Divide sign. We have crossed the Continental Divide 9 times today!
8:02 p.m. Back at the campsite. Throw together a quick dinner of franks-n-beans. The rain held off but there are 6 million billion bazillion mosquitoes swarming us. It’s awful! We start a fire hoping to scare them off with the smoke and we’re all covered head-to-toe and nothing we do seems to be thwarting them. Our last defense – hide in the tent!
9:45 p.m. All of us are bedded down for the night. No one is sleepy but it’s the only way to avoid the mosquitoes!