Day 19 – 9/18 Yellowstone: Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic, West Thumb

It’s 33F outside this morning, but it is not as cold as we felt in Rapid City inside, so I think the fast temp drop impacts the inside temp much slower, so our stay here will be fine even when temps reaching 25 overnight.  It’s 6:25 now and no sign of the sun yet.  The sun came out close to 7, at least that’s what it looked like from the angle we are parked.  I got both girls up around 7, and they were both in their Google Meets live right away. 

Bella finally made those, and while it slowed her down with school work later, I think it’s good that she made it and participated, so we’ll try to get her in those at least once in a while.  Her teacher is still not functioning 100% digital as she has packets she sends home each week, and we are not getting those, so Carol checked in and she’s going to scan and email those weekly to us as well.  We are getting there :).  As usual, Bia got done around 11am, and went outside to take Maggie for a walk, and hoping our “friends” next door were up so she could take their pugs for walks and play with them.  Sure enough, they were getting ready to leave, so she took the dogs. 

In one of Bella’s breaks, as I had some calls, Bella joined Bia as well and they were both walking around the campground each with a pug on a leash. Hahahah… it was funny to watch.  Carol went to West Yellowstone, which is a very small town and very turistic, to get groceries while I was helping Bella get her school work done.  Bella had work from yesterday and today, so from basically 7am until about 2pm I was tied up working with her on that.  I had to give her a break of 1.5hrs as I had some work calls and could not help her.  It was a slow start with helping Bella, but we got it all done and both girls are up to speed with all school work, at least as far as we can tell.  Carol also groomed Maggie outside while I helped Bella.  When we were all done, we had lunch and left towards…. Yellowstone! 

Our campground is 6 miles from the West entrance of the park, so we got there pretty quick.  We drive through downtown West Yellowstone, and turn into the park entrance.  It was nice to count that this was the 5th time we used our National Parks annual pass.  Upon entering, you already know you’re in the middle of the forrest, road is narrower and windy.  Pretty quickly we passed a sign showing we had crossed into Wyoming.  Most of the park is in WY.  The drive was really nice and full of nature.  We were driving towards Old Faithful and stopping as we wanted.  Our first stop was by a river and on the other side there were Elk eating, some just laying there, and behind them was the mountain…. quite a view!  I can already tell it’s going to be hard to explain Yellowstone and what we saw in words, even the pictures don’t make justice to the breathtaking views, the immense nature and beauty of this place.  We took some pictures on that spot and kept going. 

Made a few more stops on the side of the road, and then stopped at an area with hot springs.  That was very cool.  The girls were excited to see the underground pools, with bubbling water, hot steam coming from them. 

They were not so excited with the smell of rotten eggs, but didn’t make a big deal about it.  We turned it into dad fart jokes hahahahah. 

Next was Grand Prismatic Spring.  Wow… such a cool thing to see.  Basically a naturally occurring “whole” on the ground, which looks like caves, with hot water coming up from it, sometimes boiling and bubbling, and with all the different minerals and bacteria around it, lots of different colors.  *We went back here and took a trail that allows us to see it from above, so more on that in future posts.

Overall, the springs almost look unreal, like they are not natural, because in the middle of nothing you see a small hole sometimes, and there’s steam coming out of it, almost like a NYC sewer in the winter hahaha.  Volcanic rocks forming the region I guess heat up and boil water underneath, just amazing. 

Our next stop was Old Faithfull.  We got there and it had just blown, so we had about 1 hr wait, I had checked at a station and they had an exact time of 6:06pm for it to blow next.  Since we had an hour, I went on a hike while Carol and the girls held the spot Carol found for pictures.  The hike was super nice, I went to a viewing spot  for old faithful up in the mountain.  It was about a half a mile hike, with 200m of elevation and with the altitude of around 7200ft already, it was a little breathing work to get there. 

Views of the land were amazing, and I got some nice pictures of the valley from up there.  I went back quick to make it there by 6:06, and sure enough at just about 6:06 the geyser started spewing.  It was not coordinated with lights or music like the Bellagio in Vegas, but it sure is amazing being in the middle of a forrest and all that nature and knowing this is completely natural, and that predictable (at least this geyser is, hence the name).  The “show” was very cool, and lasted a few minutes.  The girls really liked it. 

We decided we’d make one more stop for the day, so we headed to West Thumb Basin.  The drive in the park is the same everywhere, windy, hilly and you have to watch for turns and wildlife.  As we got closer to the West Thumb Basin the view was amazing, with the lake to our left, Yellowstone Lake.  It is a very big lake, up in the mountains.  As we drove into the parking lot, there was an Elk right there, just eating.  We didn’t know what to expect of this stop, but I have to say now, it was the best part of the day for me. 

Stunning views of geysers with a lake in the background, and the sky was blue, Elk eating right there, just amazing.  There’s a trail that goes around most of the geysers and pools, and also goes right by the lake shore, where there are geysers right in the water, and look like little volcanos, shaped as such, and bubbling hot water from the inside. 

Check out the pictures, such an amazing place.  We walked the trail, took in the scenery and natural beauty and when the trail was done, we decided to leave.  It was already dark, so the drive back, which was 60miles at about 45mph, was tense and long.  Driving through the areas turns and hills, in the dark, knowing wildlife was right there, made it challenging, but we played it safe and made it out and “home” around 9:30pm.  It was all worth it, Yellowstone is amazing, and I’m glad we stay in the area for quite a few more days.  When we got back, the girls showered, Carol made dinner and I emptied the car and started a fire. 

After we had dinner, Bia wanted roasted marshmallows, so the two of us were outside by the fire a bit.  Our first fire of the trip.  Bia enjoyed her marshmallow, I enjoyed just relaxing, having a beer, and I like the smell of camp fire too, so it was a great end of night.  We were all very tired at this point, with no morning commitments aside from moving the RV, we called it and went to sleep.

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