Thursday, June 30, 2016

Been There, Done That

We have been here in  Yellowstone for nearly a month now and every weekend we have had off from work we have been exploring the area. This park is huge to say the least. I am confident that we have seen about 80% of everything near the roads that go through out the park. I am talking about all of the pull-outs, short auto loops, all of the overlooks and and scenic site.

There are 5 entrances to the park and we have even taken each one of those to look at the views from each as you enter or leave. I would have to say that the most scenic drive into the park is the East entrance from Cody WY. The mountain views are breathtaking. The only downside is you have to drive through a section that was burnt in the 1988 fire. It is re-growing but very slowly.

The few areas we have not seen yet have been to crowded to get into on the day we were there, so we will keep trying to elbow our way into them to see them.

There are so many creeks and waterfalls scattered throughout the park. Mountain views and vistas as far as you can see. So with that I am just going to include photos of the many various areas of the park. Hopefully I can remember what they were.

Now we will be able start some hiking to get into the back country more. So enjoy the scenery.
A view from the Chief Joseph Highway

Cascade Falls

Yellowstone Lake

Hot springs run off into West Thumb, Yellowstone Lake

Underwater geyser in West Thumb geyser basin, Yellowstone Lake

Trestle bridge over the Gardiner River

Porcelain Basin

Gibbon Falls

Mud Volcano

Fire Hole Canyon

Yellowstone River in Canyon

Friday, June 24, 2016

Blow Holes Galore

I am going to start at the end of our weekend instead of the beginning.

Monday was our day to go to Old Faithful. If you go to Yellowstone it is a must do. The most popular sight here in the park. And because of its popularity is why coming to see it is ruined. I say ruined for Lisa and I because this is strictly our personal experience and our opinion. What I am talking about is the over crowding. This area might as well be smack dab in the middle of Disney. Don't get me wrong, I love Disney. But when we go to Disney, we know there will be crowds and we are prepared for it. When you are in Yellowstone, you don't expect to see this.
Boardwalk around Old Faithful
They have built a boardwalk around Old Faithful for the people to view it. There are probably a couple of thousand people every time it goes off. If you want to get a front row seat, get there about 20-30  minutes early, which means you will bake in the sun that much longer. Also you will start to hear all the people around you that much longer also, bitching and moaning about the heat and the sun. Soon the little kids will get crabby and start to whine and cry and scream. So then the beauty and the magnificence of the whole event gets flushed down the toilet. Pretty soon you feel claustrophobic with all the late comers trying to inch into the area you staked out because you where early and plan better. Soon it is a fight for territory and you are just wishing someone would just flip the switch to Old Faithful and get it over with.

While we were waiting, we got to see another geyser not far away erupt. So that was a bonus. I am not sure of the name of this one. I thought it was Steamboat Geyser but I was corrected.

This geyser is very near the boardwalk, so if you are lucky enough to be close to it you can get geyser snot on you. That one really erupted with lots of pressure. It must have been young.

Finally Old Faithful did its thing.

After Old Faithful, the crowds dispersed and headed to the parking lots. Total grid lock as everyone was trying to leave at the same time. We then headed to the Grand Prismatic Spring. But it was too crowded for us to even get into the parking lot. Off we went to go to the more quieter parts of the park. 

So that was our blow hole experience. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Grand Canyon Explorations

Work here at Yellowstone has been fast and furious. Being the 100th anniversary of the National Park system. Yellowstone is actually older than that. Yellowstone was established in 1872 making it the first national park and also the largest. This place is huge and I feel for the people that vacation here for a few days because there is no way you can see all if it in that amount of time. For instance we had another day off and we chose to go to the Canyon area and Fishing Bridge area. Just doing those two areas took us all day and we were tired when we got home.

So we saddled up Lil' Blue and headed south into the Canyon area. Buffalo traffic was light so we made good time. We first pulled into the Canyon Village. We wanted to check out the other Delaware North stores so that if we worked here again we would know what the other stores looked like. They have two in Canyon. We then just looked at the Canyon Lodge area to see what they offer. They have cabins, restaurants, gift shops and a campground. We drove through the campground and if you want to camp here there are a few spots that are big rig friendly.

Next we headed to "The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone". The Yellowstone River has carved out a fairly deep canyon here and there are two beautiful waterfalls. The first one we came to was the Lower Falls. There is a 1/4 mile hike to the brink which we took. There is a 600 foot elevation drop to get there, which means there is a 600 ft. climb on the way out. So we both have thighs like Hulk Hogan now.
The brink of the lower fall
After the view from the brink, we wanted to see what the view from afar looked like. So off to another over look, again with a short 1/4 mile hike and another 600 ft. drop in elevation.

The Lower Falls
Like I said before, people on vacation just cannot see everything. We spent nearly the whole day here hiking to all the overlooks. 

Canyon view
I included a couple of views of the canyon itself. It is truly a beautiful area. We then went to Inspiration Point to get inspired.
View from Inspiration Point
120,000 years ago Yellowstone was covered by a glacier 4,000 feet thick. There is evidence of that all around the park. Here is a boulder that was deposited on top of a ridge by the glacier.
Glacial Boulder
We saw all that we could see on the north rim so we headed over to the south rim. Most of the overlooks are all about the Lower Falls. We found the overlook for the brink of the Upper Falls so we stopped to look at that.
The Upper Falls
A couple of views from the south rim. There are not as many overlooks on the south side.
The Upper Falls

From Artists Point
After we thoroughly explored the canyon area we wanted to check out some of the other general stores for future reference, in case we wanted to work in a different area. So went down to Fishing Bridge and the Yellowstone Lake area. On the way we caught this rare sight that we just had to take a picture of.

A Bison standing next to a Buffalo. We have been here 3 weeks now and I still can't tell the difference between them and I am Native American. To me they both look like Ta-tonka. 

On the way to our next destination we came across a mud volcano. We are in the Yellowstone Caldera now so the geo-thermal sights are popping up. The smell of sulphur is everywhere. 
Mud Pot
The mud volcano. It hasn't erupted since the 1800's when it shot mud hundreds of feet into the air.
Mud Volcano
We  then checked out the stores. Each store is different. The Fishing Bridge store was very big and rustic. It was a very nice store with a food counter in the back. There is also a campground here that is big rig friendly and has about 300 sites. We then drove to Yellowstone Lake and looked at that store. Smaller and rustic also. Yellowstone Lake is huge and it is funny seeing a lake with no boats on it. Being from Minnesota, you look at a lake there and there may be dozens and dozens of boats zipping back and forth.
Beautiful Yellowstone Lake
It was dinner time and we where getting hangry so we went back to Fishing Bridge to eat. The food was good. We each had a hamburger. We started talking to our waitress Zoe and found out that she was from Fargo of all places. We talked about the job and what brought us to Yellowstone. People are interesting.

Just a side note. I talked to a young couple last night. He was from Russia and she was from the Ukraine. They had that very thick Russian accent that was neat to listen to. They where on a trip to see America from east coast to the west coast. It was amazing how much they had seen and still had to see. I thought it ironic that their rental car was a good old fashioned Mustang convertible. 

That is it till next week. This blog that used to take a couple of hours is now taking days to write because of our slow internet here in the park. 3 G most of the time which has been slower than dial up. 

I would like to add one more thing. I would like to say how fortunate we are to be living inside such a beautiful National Park like Yellowstone. The sun is shining and the birds are signing.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Tower Fall and Lamar Valley

As I said before we had a day off and we wanted to do some exploring in this area. We get so many questions about the area or people tell us that they went to a certain area and we wanted to be more informed.

So first off we went to Tower Fall. The falls that is near our store. It is a short 150 yard walk to the over look. The falls got its name because of the pinnacles near it. It drops 137 feet.
Tower Fall
At the overlook there is a 1/4 mile hike down to the Yellowstone River. There is another falls overlook down that trail but it is closed because it had washed out a couple of years ago. So we did the short hike and had some great views of the river.
A view of the Yellowstone river
Another view near the bottom of the trail.

After that we went to find the Lamar Valley. We have been hearing about a lot of animal sightings there and we just had to check it out. But on the way we stopped at Calcite Springs, not far from the store. There was a lot of traffic there so we figured there was an animal sighting. Sure enough, there was a bear. We didn't get a good picture of him but got a picture of the springs.
Calcite springs
I don't know if you can see from the photo, but in the bottom left near the river there is a thermal vent.

We then turned into the Lamar valley. We heard there was a wolf den near Slough Creek so that is where we headed next.
The Lama Valley
The Lamar Valley is home to one of the largest Buffalo herds in Yellowstone. This valley is huge. We found the spot where the wolf den was but it was midday and the pups were down for their naps. There are people with spotting scopes and binoculars that will sit there for hours just to get a glimpse of them. We are not that die hard so we looked, didn't see them and moved on. Besides, we have seen wolves in zoo's and on TV, right?

Next stop was Ice Box Canyon. It is a small narrow canyon that never gets complete sunshine in it. So the snow and ice never melt. The ice had a blue sheen to it that reminded us of glacial ice.
Mountain view 
We then decided to head to Cooke City, Montana. One of the perks of this job is that we get free entrance into Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. We can come and go as much as we please. So we had lunch in this quaint little mountain town. There is not really a lot there but a few shops and small cafes.
Downtown Cooke City
After lunch we went back into the park. Headed towards Mammoth Hot Springs to see Kendra. On the way there was a stop for a petrified redwood tree. It is unusual because the tree is still standing upright. Most have been knocked over.
Petrified Redwood  from another age
We met Kendra at Mammoth Hot Springs. She is working for the same company we are but in Mammoth. I was going to include some photos of our little walking tour of the hot spring but it would just be a partial look at it so I will wait and do that another day.
Elk in Mammoth
There are Elk right in the area of Mammoth. Kendra calls them annoying because of the traffic jams they can cause.

I said earlier that Tower Fall is known for its bear activity. There is a momma bear with two cubs that live in the area. We see her nearly every day and the little cubs are pretty cute. There is also a male in the area.

This was the male on the road out of our campground. So we don't walk anywhere without our bear spray. 

So that is it for our one day off. We got two days off now so we will do more exploring. Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

First Impressions of Yellowstone National Park

We got to Yellowstone May 31st and our first official day of work was. June 1st. We got settled into our campsite for the next 3 months which is just up the hill from the store that we will be working in. The company that we are working for is quite a large company in the giant scheme of things. It is Delaware North, should you be interested in the future of doing this kind of work.

Like many major company's, they have an orientation day that you must sit through.  I don't know if it is to scare the crap out of you or what. There is the usual company video's talking about expectations that they have for you, Safety training and especially bear safety around here. How to treat customers and since we are cashiers, how to handle money. Several times Lisa and I looked at each other and ask ourselves, "What did we get ourselves into?"
This is our store early in the morning

After all of that, the next day we went to our store and checked in, ready for some hands on training. since there were 5 starting that day we shadowed someone while others got the till training. Then it was our turn. It looked very hard at first with all of the menu options on the computer, but it was actually quite easy to pick up. We were turned loose on our own registers in no time at all. Lisa has always had retail experience and I have had some too in the last couple of years.

The thing that we like about this job is that everybody is so happy. The employees are happy and especially the customers are happy. Why not, they are on vacation of all things. And that happiness is contagious. Our store is very busy to say the least. The days just fly by and you end up talking with so many different people. Many times they just want to know where the bears are.
This is Tower Fall, one of many waterfalls in the park

Our store is at a park attraction. Tower fall is 150 yds just past the store. Plus we have a snack counter so we get lots of people all day long stopping to look at the falls and take a break. Tower is also known for the bears in the area. There are bear sightings near the store every day causing major traffic delays. Nobody pulls off the road to look at them, they just stop in the middle of the road and they don't care how many people are behind them. (But that takes me to another topic for another day)
And this is how our store looks all day long.

So that is our first week. We had one day off so far and we did some exploring which will be another post depending on how slow our internet is because there will be a lot of photos to upload.

As we say here, "Have a bear-ry good day!" Smile.