Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Yellowstone Trip: Day 5

We get up, have breakfast and drive off to the Norris Geyser Basin.  On the way there, we stopped to have a look at the Sheepeater Cliff.  Interesting place!  The rock formation is like nothing you've ever seen!  A long time ago, the native tribe that lived here -the Shoshone would run after the herds of mountain sheep and lead them off this cliff - where the women waited at the bottom to get the dead animals.  Gross I know but hey, at least they didn't waste any part of the animal!

We continued to the Geyser basin where we saw our first geysers, boiling pools of water, and fumaroles (holes where gases and smoke escapes the mountain side).

After spending the day in -again scorching weather - we drove back to Mammoth for our wildlife tour - where we hope to see wolves.  We get in this cute "bus" and start our tour.  Our guide is named Natalie.  We drive all the way to Lamar Valley, where there is a pack of wolves.  Unfortunately, we missed a wolf kill by one day.  We did see the leftover - floating meat and all!  I know what you are think: Ewwwww! - we are thinking: Cool!  On our tour we did see bald eagle, a black bear, bison and pronghorn.  We also saw an osprey.  It was a little disappointing not seeing a wolf but we still have many days for this to happen.

Oh! We did get rained on!  When we were looking for the wolves, it suddenly started to pour!  There is no top on the bus... fun!  Ater our tour, we headed back to the hotel.  On the way back I saw a bald eagle.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Yellowstone Trip: Day 4

After a good night sleep, we leave Billings and make our way to our destination - Yellowstone National Park.  The view from Billings to Bozeman is much more scenic.  We start seeing mountains which is a welcome site after seeing plains for a couple days.

At the north entrance of the park, you drive through a beautiful arch built in 1903.  At the top is inscribed the following quote:  "For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the people."  Shortly after, you are required to pay the fee to stay in the park: $25 for 7 days.  Just past the toll booth, there was a sign (on the right) - this made me laugh out loud because for me, the word molesting doesn't fit there!  I don't think I would ever want to "molest" a bison (the word molest for me is of  sexual nature)!  I think the words harass or harm would've been a better choice of word but anyway... When I got home I had to look up the word molest in the dictionary - ok, it was an online dictionary - it can also be used to mean harass or harm.  We pay and continue on to Mammoth Springs where we will stay for 4 days.

When we arrived in Mammoth, our cabin wasn't ready and so off we went to the education center to get our maps and other information and lunch.  Once done, we got in the car to go see our first thermal features.

One of the first things we saw when we arrived in Mammoth is a man gouged by a bison.  I don't understant... there are big signs everywhere that say wildlife is dangerous - do NOT approach... so why would someone think it's okay to get close?  Was this person blind and didn't see the 50 signs since the entrance? If you don't understand the words you should understand the picture don't you think?

We move on to see our first spring.  When we had heard of Mammoth Springs we automatically thought of hot springs, wading in hot water, just like in Banff National Park. Boy were we wrong!  I've never seen anything like this before!  The colours are absolutely wonderful, the smell - not so much!  It smells like rotten eggs due to the gases found everywhere.  Bubbling water -which we later learned was gases escaping from the earth.  In some places, the bubbling water is actually boiling water but we will talk about that later.  When you get to Yellowstone, you learn very quickly the importance of staying on the marked paths.  There are signs everywhere - falling through thin crust would result in death... ouch!

After walking in scorching hot weather we were able to get to our cabin. We were able to get a very cute cabin for the 4 days we were there).  It was so cute and well maintained, clean and best of all: no spider webs!  We had to use a community washroom but whatever!  They were also very clean - with no bugs in site!

This was a very long day- lots of walking -probably 5 - 6 km - and learning - I like to read all the signs and learn - often annoying the rest of the family.

I look forward to seeing what tomorrow will bring!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Yellowstone Trip: Day 3

We leave Fargo - a pretty plain town for our next stop on the way to Yellowstone.  We are now in North Dakota heading towards Montana on the I-94.  What a boring route!  There is not much to see except... are you ready for this?  A GIANT cow named Salem Sue.  She is huge at 38' tall!  Not everyone was interested in stopping but since I was the driver, I decided to stop to take a few pictures and stretch our legs.  We had to go up a little mountain to get to her.  From up there, the view was stunning.  We could see fields filled with bales of hay, and fields of windmills.  To Sophie's delight, we were also able to observe some kind of bird of prey - she's a little obsessed with birds these days!

We get back in the car and get going to our next destination: Billings, Montana.  On the long and boring way to Billings, we stopped to see the Painted Canyon, in the badlands of Montana.  It's pretty but nothing like Drumheller in Alberta.

We finally arrived in Billings and stopped for the night.  Outside our hotel window we could see deer and horses.  We had a good laugh as Remi kept telling us it was a rehab place for horses... yeah...right!  We had yummy (not!) Dairy Queen for dinner.  Did you know that in Montana you can't get a Skor Blizzard?  The girl didn't even know what a Skor bar was!  Poor girl! She doesn't know what she's missing!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Yellowstone Trip: Day 2

We get up, have breakfast and move on.  Not much exciting today.  North Dakota is pretty flat and reminds me very much of Saskatchewan: fields and fields and you guessed it, more fields!  The only difference is that North Dakota has beautiful fields of sunflowers!  Next time I eat sunflowers, I will look and see if this is where they come from.

We stop in Fargo to sleep.  In Fargo, had to pay 75 cents to cross a tiny bridge... we thought that was pretty funny.

Friday, July 27, 2012

We are off to Yellowstone!

It's Friday morning, and we are off to Yellowstone!  What a great trip this should be!  Our plan was to stop in Sault Ste Marie.  We got there at 1pm and I thought I'm not stopping here for the day... it's to early!  So on we go.  Good idea? Well... maybe not so great!

We decided to drive until about 7pm.  Of course, it's not that easy... when you travel with me, you need to be ready for an adventure...  Everywhere we stopped, they were fully booked!  We finally found a place to stay at... are you ready?  10pm!!  Don't ask me the name of the place, I have no idea!  All I know is it was on the side of a small bay in lake Superior.

Our plan to drive 6/7 hours a day is already out the door.  We've basically done our first 2 days of travel in one day.  We've crossed Ontario, Wisconsin and have stopped in Minnesota.

What will tomorrow bring?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Our Trip to Yellowstone

It's the beginning of July when my husband announces: "We are going on a trip.  You have two choices: Yellowstone National Park or Newfoundland."  Well!  That's quite the choice!  I've been wanting to go to NFLD for ever... but I want to be really prepared for that trip so I don't miss anything so...I chose Yellowstone.  We will be leaving in 2 weeks.

I'm excited because Yellowstone is filled with wildlife: moose, elk, deer, bison, wolves, black and grizzly bears, badgers, ground squirrels and other weasel type animals.  It also has countless types of birds and insects.  We are hoping to see as much of these as possible.

Yellowstone is also famous for it's thermal features including Old Faithful - people from all over the world come to see this famous geyser.

On our way back, we are going to stop in Deadwood, South Dakota.  This is also a highlight since Remi and I both loved the HBO series of the same title- based on really interesting American history.  Mount Rushmore is also a planned stop.

This should be a trip to remember.