Plan A: Get up early and get on the road as quickly as possible as we will be going to the East entrance of Yellowstone National Park and traveling through the park to West Yellowstone. We had already been told that the crowds are immense and it would take a long time to get through. Plus, there could be animal jams so up early and on the way.
Plan B: the real plan. Sleep until almost 7:00, have coffee and breakfast, shower, dress, break camp, hook up car, stop for gas, leave Cody around 9:00. It really was around 8:30 when we pulled out of the campsite but we had to stop to attach the car and for gas and that took a long time. Jerry wanted to make sure we had a full tank so when the pump cut off at $89.00 he continued to put gas in until $124.00. We have a full tank! We don’t know how accessible gas will be nor how expensive it will be so trying to avoid running low.
As we traveled along passing by the Buffalo Bill Reservoir I was again impressed by the stunning beauty of the vivid blue sapphire calm waters set again the immense mountains. I can’t imagine living here and being able to see that splendor every day.
We arrived at the East Entrance at 10:00 and inched our way on, sometimes at the high speed of 21 mph. Jerry pulled off at several overlooks to let traffic pass by. We climbed to 8500 plus feet above sea level past Sylvan Pass before we started descending some. I’ve heard about the slow traffic in Yellowstone. Guess today it was us!
After we passed Lake Yellowstone which was breathtaking, we knew it would deserve a return visit so elected not to stop. Shortly afterward. we saw a sign indicating a rough road ahead for four miles. Indeed, it was a rough, dirt, partially traveled road with badly needed construction going on. Before long we were at Fishing Bridge and then Canyon Village. We had talked about stopping at the Visitor’s Center at Canyon Village but not knowing what was ahead we decided to go on to the campground.
I enjoyed the ride through the park but I can’t say the same for Jerry. As he had done every leg of this wonderful journey, he did a fantastic job of driving the coach. The traffic was heavy but not terrible and the road was winding but not terrible. Though it was a short drive it was very tiring for him.
We arrived at Yellowstone Grizzly just before 1:00. Check-in was easy and efficient with three ladies handling the deluge of people checking in. Getting to our site was another deal though. We detached the car at the staging area and Jerry told me to lead him to the site. I couldn’t find it! We both got out of our vehicles and tried to find someone to ask but didn’t see anyone. To make a long story short, Jerry figured it out. I traced the map all the way through Yellowstone but couldn’t read the campground map. ☹
After we set up we had some lunch and then tried to decide what to do for the afternoon. Finally, I suggested the Visitor’s Center. While there we sort of mapped out our plan for the next four days by dividing the park into quadrants and doing one quadrant a day.
We did ride on into the park today though. Our first stop was at an elk sighting. There was one and he was pretty far away so we didn’t linger too long.
Our next stop was Terrace Spring, a small grouping of thermal features just off the Norris/Madison road. We took a short boardwalk trail around to the spring where the steam was rising and the stream was bubbling. We saw some fluorescent spots in the water.
Our next stop was at Gibbon Fall. We went to both the upper falls overlook and the lower falls overlook. Gibbon Falls is the spot where the Gibbon River flows 84 feet over the erosion-resistant rock of the giant caldera rim. A paved trail guides you high above the banks of the Gibbon River giving you great views of the falls. You could easily see the grooves in the rocks where the dynamite had been put to create the retaining wall.
Our next stop was Beryl Spring. Oh, my goodness. Never having seen a geyser before I was totally amazed. The water in this thermal feature is extremely hot, with temperatures being above the boiling point. There were signs in several places warning about the hot water. The thick white cloud of steam varied with the wind but as it blew towards us we could definitely feel the heat.
We decided we would make one more stop at Artists Paintpots but were never able to find a parking place so we left it for another day. As we returned to the spot of the earlier elk sighting, we realized that there were several elk out there. You can always tell by the number of cars around! There was a cow with a couple of babies but no bulls around.
On the way back we ventured off on the Riverside Road which is a road that runs next to a stream for fly fishing. That’s all!
Back at the campground for a nice cool 70-degree evening.