Yellowstone: Norris Geyser Basin
Yellowstone: Old Faithful

October 2nd, 2015

What happened…

Andrew writes: Whew, I’m glad that night is over. The thunderstorm went on for quite awhile, keeping us both awake. Best of all, the wolves decided we weren’t very good eating. I guess because we’re skin and bone now after 14 months on the road. So when we cracked open the tent this morning, all we had to worry about was an icy cold rain shower.

Our camp last night was the highest we’ve ever camped, which was kind of cool. It made me wonder how we will fare camping in South America when we get up to 4000m passes. It was cold to begin with today, but it slowly warmed up. Gone are the high temperatures of the last week and today it feels a bit like fall (or winter!?). I enjoyed a nice long glide back down the highway to then Norris Junction, and then we continued south on the main highway. This would take us through the Hayden Valley.

Hayden Valley is known for its diverse wildlife. We saw a lone buffalo grazing, and nearby Amanda spotted a coyote hunting birds in a small creek. He was fun to watch as he (or she) stalked around. We lunched beside a sign talking about moose, but sadly we didn’t spot any.

What we did see was the Artist Paint Pots. This was a really busy pullout with about a mile of boardwalk which we hiked around with about a thousand other people; aren’t these kids supposed to be in school!?!? Since these geysers and springs and whatnot are starting to all look the same, it was so fascinating that one of the pools had no water, but was bubbling, gurgling and spurting mud up into the air.

Other happenings today included stopping in at Madison Junction where everything is closed for the season, but there was a herd of bison grazing. We met and talked with Mira and Alex from Edmonton who stood out from the rest of the people we talk to every day just because they were so much fun, and we talked about more than bike riding! Then just as we started to tackle the big hill out of Madison, Amanda spotted a bicycle in her rearview. It was Brett, an Aussie, cycling from Vancouver to Salt Lake City. His daily mileage is 60-75 miles..or about double what we do. He was set on getting up and over the Continental Divide three times, and camping 45 miles away from where we now stood. Meanwhile, we were counting down the short distance to our campsite!

The ride took us along the Firehole River canyon, where I got a flat tire, but the scenery was nice to look at as I changed it. In fact, I think today was the prettiest day in the park, despite the constant clouds, and intermittent showers. We finally turned on to Flat Mountain Road which turns into a biker/hiker path, and made it to Goose Lake.

I set up a tarp while Amanda did the tent. Turning around at one point, my blood ran cold; standing 20 feet away from me was a gigantic bison bull. He was minding his own business, grazing on the grass in the area. Maybe the first clue that this was bison grazing land would have been all of the “bull shit” on the ground. Still, as placid as he seemed, I know that these beasts can be quite unpredictable. He looked at me with his big, beady eye, as I slowly backed away and called out to Amanda. Then, feeling quite safe standing behind the mesh wall of our tent, we stood and watching the bison amble through our campsite. He would return again for a brief time each of the next three days, and I was worried he would trample us in our sleep, or tear down our tarp, but he was pretty chill…so we were chill too.

Amanda writes:
Another beauty day. Not sure I can add anything else. Truly amazing. Oh wait! There is something fun. As we were setting up our site we were joined by a bison. He obviously normally lives here because there is shit everywhere. I know we’re supposed to be 25 yards away from him, but he was definitely breaking the rules. We tried to tell him otherwise but since he is MASSIVE we decided to abandon what we were doing and let him be curious about our stuff before finishing our set up. We filmed it, it was pretty fun.

Today’s Photographs

Yellowstone: Norris Geyser Basin
Yellowstone: Old Faithful