It’s Baby Season in the Park…. Geothermal Features…. Yellowstone Day 2 – Part 2

Featured

Day two in Yellowstone National Park took us on a route down Firehole Canyon Road, alongside the Firehole River and Falls. It was early in the morning and we were in for a big surprise. Down on a little peninsula in the Firehole River was an Elk who had just given birth to a beautiful calf. We parked and slowly exited the vehicle and sat quietly on a rock on the ledge above the river. We watched as the calf got up and nursed for the first time. It was a surreal and spiritual experience, a sacred part of nature. Please note that we used a telephoto lense and were well spaced away from the event out of respect for nature.

Once we could tear ourselves away from the miracle of birth, we completed the trek down Firehole Canyon Road. We stumbled upon a coyote hunting rodents in the meadow, bison, and many geothermal features, including geysers. We also saw Old Faithful and while it is a big attraction at Yellowstone, there are many other geysers that are more impressive and have fewer tourists vying for a good spot. I love exploring!

How in the world can one have a better day than day two at Yellowstone? Well, day three was bear day… Grizzlies and black bears. One with her yearling triplets. Stay tuned. It’s awesome! I love Yellowstone!

Bison & Pronghorns & Bears…. Oh, My! Yellowstone May 18-30th

Featured

We made one stop at Deer Lodge, Montana, Indian Creek Campground at $31.34/night, to break up the distance to Island Park, Idaho. We broke camp early on the 19th and headed to Jared’s Wild Rose Ranch, $45.46/night with Good Sam’s, just 20 minutes from Yellowstone National Park and on Henry Lake. What a beautiful place. The park had full hookups but the spaces were very small. That didn’t matter when you saw the view of the lake and the Mountains. We also had eagles visit us right at our campsite each day. I would definitely stay there again. The staff was also very accommodating and while we didn’t fish, the fishermen (and women) were making many big catches of trout.

We spent several days in Yellowstone and made day trips to the Grand Tetons and Jackson Hole. Everything was so picturesque and being spring, the wildlife was in full bloom too. Calves, cubs, fawns, etc. You name it, we saw it. All this means is that the Yellowstone blog will be broken in to several parts. This is Day One – Part One… I must have taken a thousand or so photos. If you are interested in avoiding crowds and seeing a lot of wildlife, I recommend going early in the morning or staying later in the evening. It will make for an amazing visit. We did a little of both and slept well at the end of the day. Please respect the wildlife and stay a respectable distance away and please do not feed them. It causes many of the bears,etc to become dangerous and they sometimes are removed but sometimes they are destroyed. RESPECT! A bison can weigh up to 2,000 pounds and can run up to 40 miles per hour. Watch for their warning signs and do not get too close. It will keep you safe.

Yellowstone National Park is the first national park in the USA, founded by President Ulysses S Grant on March 1, 1872. It is known for it’s abundant wildlife and it’s geothermal features. It is a hotbed of volcanic activity and is absolutely beautiful. Ancestral Native Americans inhabited the area about 11,000 years ago. The Park is 2,219,789 acres, with 96% in the state of Wyoming, 3% in Montana and 1% in Idaho. The Yellowstone Caldera is known as a “supervolcano” and the largest volcanic system in the USA. It is expected to erupt sometime in the future, which would have devastating effects on the world. Something to look forward to?

The first day we took the route to Madison, Norris, and Canyon Village from the West entrance. It was beautiful. Some of the roads were closed due to late snows but those roads opened in a couple of days. The best way to experience our trip is through pictures, although the pictures cannot capture the beauty. Yellowstone is my very favorite of the national parks that we visited. I want to go again and again. I will!

View of Mountains at Yellowstone River

This concluded day one. Stay tuned for day two and the birth of an elk calf. Phenomenal!!!

You Can’t Get to Mount Saint Helens From Here…….. Randle, Washington and Late Snows!

Featured

On May 10th we pulled in to Cascade Peaks RV Park at Randle, Washington, $10/night with Coast to Coast. Our stay there was shorter as we had the truck repaired while in Lincoln City, Oregon and lost one day. We only had until the 12th to see the sites. We had been warned of late snows that had closed some of the parks on our itinerary. We did attempt to see Mount St. Helens but we couldn’t get any access. We talked to a park ranger on the roads leading to the park, which were closed. He thought it was very funny when I told him that I thought the barricaded road closed signs were “just a suggestion.” The drive was scenic up to the closure and we got to see it from the opposite direction when we turned around. Mount St. Helens was not in the cards for this trip.

Mount Rainier National Park was open but many roads and trails were closed. It was ironic that the closures were due to late snows and snow was everywhere but the daytime temperature in the lower elevations was 71 degrees. Tee-shirt weather! Mount Rainier is the highest mountain in the Cascade Range and stands at 14,411 feet elevation. It is also considered one of the most dangerous active volcanoes in the world. Mount Rainier is the first mountain in the Cascade Volcanic Arc, with 80,000 people in the Puyallup River Valley at risk in an eruption. The Mountain has 26 glaciers and 2 volcanic craters, measuring over 1000 feet each. It’s a stunning sight.

Mount Rainier last erupted in 1894 but continues to have debris flows, which has the consistency of wet concrete with rocks. These flows take down massive trees as it flows down the mountain via the rivers. It makes for a starkly interesting landscape.

I need to mention that humans, ancient Native Americans visited, hunted and camped in this area and have had a presence for at least the last 8,500 years. Please enjoy the pictures below.

We had a large time visiting here. Stay tuned for National Buffalo Range. It was a fun caper too. Thanks for reading!

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks – Home of Giant Trees and Glacier formed Canyons (April 28-May 2nd)

Featured

We had a one night stopover in Bakersfield, California at Shady Haven RV Resort ($29.50/night with Passport America) then headed to Three Rivers, California. Three Rivers Sequoia RV Park ($51/night with Good Sam’s) was our base camp to capers in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. While spring had arrived and the flowers were blooming, there was still a lot of snow in higher elevations with many roads and trails closed. It was a great visit, with beautiful vistas so all is good. As I always say, get those national park passes as visiting the two parks will cost $70 per car. Those passes pay for themselves in 4 park visits. Well worth it.

84% of both parks are considered wilderness areas. Sequoia covers 404,064 acres and became a national park in 1890. Kings Canyon is 461,901 acres and became a national park in 1890 as General Grant National Park. The name was changed to Kings Canyon in 1940. Of the two I preferred Kings Canyon. It has an ethereal feeling about it and the vistas and waterfalls are spectacular. We spent one and a half days in Kings Canyon and it was well worth it as the pictures will show. Just know that the pictures don’t do it justice. Sequoia and Kings Canyon run contiguous to each other so that was a plus.

Sequoia contains most of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range and has Mount Whitney which has the highest elevation in the United States of 14,505 feet above sea level. The giant sequoia trees are a marvel and the park contains 271 caves, some of which are open to the public. All caves were closed due to the late snows. It just means that I’ll have to go back! There is abundant wildlife and while I was resting on a steep climb up on one of the open trails I was visited by a friendly chickaree, a little squirrel like guy. He was interested in my camera pack. I didn’t see him until a couple of people stopped to take pictures. He was within an inch or two of my shoulder. Cute little bugger.

The first group of pictures are Sequoia National Park. The 2,200 year old General Sherman Sequoia was amazing. 275 feet tall, trunk diameter of 36.5 feet and weighs 1,385 tons. Wow!

Kings Canyon National park has great winding roads and steep cliffs so we had to drive with care. We met a few cars on curves who were on our side of the narrow road. Bless their hearts. I really enjoyed this park and would love to go back again. The pictures don’t do it justice.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Stay tuned for Yosemite and Crescent City, California. Thanks for visiting!