Day 17: Yellowstone

Monday morning we got up early to say goodbye to our nice hostess, Deb, who had to go to her morning training as she is planning to climb one of the high mountains in Yellowstone soon. Then breakfast, packing and goodbye to Dan and their lively dogs, one of whom seemed to enjoy our company so much that he jumped into the car to come along on our road trip! (We didn’t think he’d make a good map reader, so we left him in Cody.)

We drove west again on route 14 through some amazing landscapes up into the mountains. We crossed the Dead Indian pass (8048 feet) and descended into a valley and crossed a bridge over the Clarks Fork river, which runs deep below in a canyon. Then uphill again into Montana where we stopped at a fun old-fashioned general store in Cooke City to get some lunch and then back to Wyoming and into Yellowstone NP. The first part of the drive in the park went through the Lamar Valley, plains with many buffalos who all seemed to believe that the grass was greener on the other side of the road. We passed a petrified Redwood tree (which was able to grow here 2000 years ago,  because the climate was milder then.
At Mammoth Hot Springs the park headquarters are situated in an old fort and military barracks. Outside elk were grazing on the greens. We bought an ice-cream to cool us down and drove to Mammoth Hot Springs terraces, which are various deposits which form terraces (I’m not able to explain the geology, you’ll have to google that yourself). We continue round the upper loop of the figure eight formed by the main road through the park.
By the Norris Geyser Basin we went for a walk round the Porcelain Basin, where we saw the first of the park’s more than 600 geysers, among the big Steamboat geyser. From there out of the park to West Yellowstone (in Montana) just outside the western entrance to the park, where we’ll be staying at a motel for the next couple of days.

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