Rather than our waking up in a nice warm RV ready to have a shower indoors to avoid trudging to the shower block in freezing conditions, we found ourselves waking early, getting dressed, having breakfast and leaving. Our thinking being we’d get cleaned up later in the day when the batteries had more life in them, and the heat from the sun had warmed things through a bit. After the engine was started prior to our leaving and run for about 10 minutes the electrical systems returned to normal.
Getting on the road this early paid dividends. Soon after leaving our campground we came across a few cars which had pulled over to look at something. That something was a grizzly bear which had crossed the road and was now making holes in a field, presumably looking for its breakfast. After taking a few photographs we carried on driving around the loop until we reached Fisher Bridge RV Park, where, having confirmed they had electrical hook-ups booked in for tonight.
Having reserved our pitch we set off on the southern scenic loop, and if there was time we would try and squeeze in the northern loop which had only just been re-opened following its winter closure. We decided to travel in a clockwise direction allowing us to visit the famous ‘Old Faithful’ geyser fairly early on, and hopefully miss the worst of the weekend crowds.
There are something like 300 geysers in Yellowstone, most are very small indeed, but “Old Faithful’ is king of them all. We didn’t reach the geyser site until 11:30 as we were continually pulling over to watch or photograph something, not necessarily wildlife. The wild life we did see was bison, some with calves. Given the small numbers you couldn’t call them herds exactly, more like extended families, and these were scattered around the park. On the main street at Mammoth Hot Springs, a couple of tame young moose were sat, soaking up the warmth of the sunshine
We were in ‘Mammoth’ because we’d decided to take a look at the northern loop up to that point and see if we wanted to carry on – well I didn’t. There is a marked difference in the road surface, hills, bends and a real lack of lay-bys available compared with the more touristy and popular southern loop. Neither I nor the RV were happy bouncing around on that road and so we made our way back down to Norris before hanging a left and heading for Canyon Village and finally Fishing Bridge.
After arriving at the campground and getting set up, we went for a walk back down to the Road Bridge, under which large, thick chunks of thawing ice were flowing from the lake to Yellowstone River.
On the way back The Chef wanted to take a look in the Visitors Centre. When the pleasant and helpful Rangers asked if they could help I asked if it would be alright if I photographed the extensive display of stuffed animals in the glass cases (each of which had very well painted scenic backdrops) so that I could tell everyone back home we’d seen them in Yellowstone Park, since we’d seen very little in the way of live wild animals. My request wasn’t really appreciated, and it was pointed out to me that because they were wild there could be no guarantee when animals would appear. I think at that point I was expected to bow my head in shame and consider myself spanked.
The memories we take away with us from the Teton and Yellowstone Parks will be of the wonderful scenery, the forests, white-water rivers, snow covered mountains, geysers and particularly the stunning frozen lakes, which we had certainly not expected to see, but were so pleased we did, rather than the park wildlife. The research I did before the trip suggested that there were 56,100 elk and 5,800 moose in Yellowstone. Where they were hiding I’ve no idea, we didn’t see one elk, and only 3 moose, including the two tame ones at Mammoth Hot Springs.
I’m becoming convinced that the whole park is stocked by just a handful of ex circus animals which are continually moved around the park by the Rangers in horse transporters during the night. So on your second days drive; it isn’t another moose you’ve just seen, but the same moose in a different location. I’m sure that’s the reason they have signs everywhere telling visitors not to feed the animals, because if they did then the handful of animals would get very fat very quickly and the game would be up, even more so if the animals started cantering behind each other in a large circle to music from car stereo’s or balancing balls on their noses.
This evening we had a barbecue with burgers and home-made sausages. Sadly at the end of it I had to show our toolbox-style BBQ grill the dumpster. It had become quite unreliable in lighting and remaining alight, and the gas pressure it delivered had become low again. It never did recover from having its flow valve damaged and then repaired by me, so we’ll have to look for a replacement.
We have full hook-up’s tonight and plenty of electricity to keep the systems functioning.
LOCATION TONIGHT: Fishing Bridge RV Park, Yellowstone National Park, WY (GPS: N44.563011 W110.370079)