Yellowstone National Park
We’ve made our way at last to Yellowstone. A short drive from the Tetons put us at the South Entrance. Here again, the terrain change dramatically within a few miles. The approach on the south side winds through a thick forest of tall, slender Lodge Pole Pines, occasionally offering a view of lively streams and crystalline lakes.
We stopped at West Thumb to gawk at the prismatic springs and bubbling mud pots. These geothermal features are the result of steam rising through the earth’s crust, heated by magma way down below. The smell of sulfur lingers about the area, but gladly it’s not overpowering. How strange and beautiful the colors of the springs are! You can peer down into the depths of underground caverns from which the boiling water emerges.
We followed the shoreline of Yellowstone Lake to Fishing Bridge. This wooden span was built in the ‘30’s and crosses the Yellowstone River where cutthroat trout spawn. It used to be a popular fishing spot, folks would line up shoulder to shoulder, but now fishing is prohibited to protect the species. Coming off the bridge, we were surprised by a group of buffalo grazing in the margins.
Our campground is set way back in the woods, remote and spooky. It is darkity-dark at night, with the pines looming ominously overhead. At check-in, we had to sign a consent form stating You’re In Grizzly Country. Then we were handed several pamphlets about bear attacks which absurdly instruct, “Do not run away!” A chirpy park attendant pointed vaguely into the glooming, where our campsite presumably was, and told us to “Have a good night!”.
Right. Lock the doors.
In fact, we’re kind of close to civilization. Only a 15 minute nervous walk to the big General Store and gas station outpost.