JoDo Chasing Rainbows

Our 1st time in Lamar Valley

Yellowstone is a very large park. It is almost impossible to see the entire park in one visit. The first time we came we could not make it to the northeast side of the park. Now that we have an entire summer to explore we finally got to Lamar Valley.

I will start with the drive. Our campground is south of Lamar Valley. This we needed to drive north on the Grand Loop over Dunvaren Pass. Donna drove over since we had no idea of what pass would look like. Good thing. It is steep and there are many curves in the road. My fear of running off the road kicked in high gear. There is a General Store at the bottom of the mountain so I went off to buy me some gummy bears to placate my beating heart. We stopped off and got a look at Tower Falls.

We turned onto the junction that leads into Lamar Valley and the first thing we see is a baby bighorn sheep with no mother. It is collared so some scientist in the park is watching it. We go another 100 feet and there are deer. I am just getting started. This place is teeming with wild life.

We turned onto the junction that leads into Lamar Valley and the first thing we see is a baby bighorn sheep with no mother. It is collared so some scientist in the park is watching it. We go another 100 feet and there are deer. I am just getting started. This place is teeming with wild life.

As we get further in the valley there are hundreds of bison. More nursery herds than I could count. There are babies galore. I wish I had the words to describe how beautiful and different this valley is from Hayden. There are mountains on each side. There is a stream to a lake down the middle. The colors are green. There is a lone, dormant thermal feature called Soda Butte.

I cannot wait for our next day off so that we can take more time exploring this area.

100 Mile Hiking Club

Employee Recreation does a good job of keeping you healthy during the summer months. I immediately joined the 100 mile hiking club once they opened their doors in mid-May. Donna joined a few weeks later when she found out she could get her 100 miles walking the many boardwalks that are scattered around the park.

I have gotten a couple of hikes completed. I am slowly chipping away at my 100 miles before the summer is done. I want my free t-shirt. I participated on one hike with Employee Recreation. The rest I have done with Donna or with other friends.

Beaver Pond was a fun hike. The first mile was straight up hill. This is the first time hiked with folks half my age. I can tell you it opened my eyes. I could barely keep up with them. Then I later find out that two of them are college athletes. I survived and was humbled. I did conquer my fear of walking over log bridges. This was my first success. Since then I have walked over a few more with no problems.

Trout Lake was an up hill hike where we saw our first snake. It was just a garter snake but still. We spent the winter in Arizona and New Mexico and never saw a snake. When we finally saw the lake we immediately thought of the Sound of Music. It reminded us so much of the opening scene of the movie. I started singing like Julie Andrews.

Clear Lake is a hike I did with Donna. It was a cloudy day where it looked like it was going to threaten to rain. Luckily, it held off until we were done. I will keep you updated on our progress to 100 miles.

Steamboat Geyser

Steamboat Geyser is the largest geyser in Yellowstone. When it spews it can be as high as 300 feet. I have not had the opportunity to see if go off yet. Steamboat runs on its own schedule. Last year it went off about 30 times. This year it looks to be on track for a repeat performance. The geyser has gone off numerous times but we have yet to catch it.  It has gone off on June 1st, 7th, 12th, 15th, 19th, 23rd, and 28th.

This geyser is interesting to watch even when a large eruption is not happening. There is always steam rising and water spurting about. I have seen water shoot about 40 feet in the air. I can only imagine what a full eruption looks like.

I spent an evening taking picture after picture of this geyser. We have been to the Norris Geyser Basin twice; May 6 and June 7. All these pictures were taken within 3 minutes on the evening of June 7.

Update – July 10, 2019

I seem to have Steamboat Geyser repellent. I kept traveling over to this geyser basin but seem to miss the eruptions to either being 10 hours to late and 12 hours to early. I live and work approximately 40 miles from this basin. It is not a quick trip. I did see it after the major eruption that happened the evening of July 4th. This was the first time I saw this geyser quiet. There was no sound at all. There was steam and no sound. That was a first for Donna and I. Here are some pictures from that day.

Yellowstone – the first few weeks

I cannot believe that we are finally here. While the most of the U.S. is enjoying spring, we are still in the winter. There is snow everywhere. The temperatures are challenging for our RV. We have figured how to keep all our systems working properly above the mid-20 degrees. There were a few nights in the teens where we woke up to frozen pipes. Luckily, nothing burst.

It seems that there is no real forecast for the park either. We are on the east side at a fairly high elevation. It seems that the east side is 5 to 8 degrees warmer than our side of the park. I have taken to keeping a sweat shirt, rain jacket and winter coat handy since the weather changes on a dime.

The park has changed so much since we got here on May 1. Baby bison are being born; bears are waking up and roaming and snow is starting to melt. We are watching rivers swell and birds bathing in the melting snow. Every morning I want to pinch myself that this is my home for the next 4 1/2 months.

We have started our job in the campground. We have learned the system and survived our first day. Here are some photos of our first two weeks.