Day 9: Today we would drive less and hike more. We spent a lot of time in the car yesterday, but it’s just how Yellowstone is set up. Today we would only drive about 15 minutes from our campsite and find nearby hikes.
We drove along Yellowstone River and stopped at Mud Volcano. The area changed dramatically in 1979 after a series of earthquakes. Water that would often spew stopped spewing and the forest in the area gradually died. The hillsides are barren or full of downed trees. The air permeates of sulphur but you get use to it. It was exciting to see the few buffalo in the area that just wandered or relaxed near the bubbling hot springs. This is a definite stop for anyone visiting the park.
Laura and I just can’t get enough of viewing nature in action. In a way you feel like you’re at an amusement park being entertained, as if someone is behind the curtain (as in the Wizard of Oz) somewhere producing the sulpher smell, making the water bubble, and queuing the bison to wander in the meadow as you come around the corner.
But we’re not. This is as natural as it gets and it doesn’t get old. You learn to appreciate nature more and respect what it has to offer. Ethan has begun to ask some great questions about how things work and why things are the way they are. He’s enjoyed seeing wildlife roam freely in their natural setting and watching the earth boil from it’s depths. Peaking his interest in nature and helping him understand how we fit into the food chain is one reason why we visit National Parks.
After Mud Volcano, we enjoyed a great hike and lunch along Yellowstone River at LeHardys Rapids. This entire trip water levels are high and the rivers are flowing fast. This area offered some outstanding views of the river. We also saw our first pelican in flight.
We then headed past Fishing Bridge along the northshore of Yellowstone Lake. We found a hike along Indian Pond that took us to the Lake. We only did about an hour of the hike before Ethan was beat. It was about 1pm by this time and the sun was beating down on all of us. We decided to get back in the car, grab some cold drinks at the Fish Bridge General Store and find a spot with cell phone service to call family.
Around 3pm we drove over to the shower station where we enjoyed hot showers after going showerless for 3 days. Of course, about an hour later you would never know the kids had taken a shower as they were back in the dirt playing with their toys at our campsite. Oh well, it’s all part of the experience.
Tonight we rocked on dinner. We sautéed onions and garlic, mixed it with corn, black beans, and pinto beans, threw on some cheese, smothered them between tortillas and had delicious quesadillas. We bought a grill specifically for this trip and it’s paid off with meals like this.
We ended our day with a terrible hike out to a natural bridge near our campground. The mosquitoes, for the most part, have ignored us on our trip. They decided to come out in full force on this hike and we called it quits after 20 minutes. Ethan also fell hard and drew some blood.
Tomorrow we say good-bye to Yellowstone National Park and head south to Grand Teton National Park.