Friday, September 21, 2012


Yellowstone National Park is a huge place so it's taking a lot of effort to post the basics and pick and choose from 1000 photos. Yesterday's post was just too much and I wasn't happy with it, but after a few hours I gave in and closed it. Today is an easy topic. The historic lodging is more then I can explain. The hydrology gets the billboard but the buildings deserve the billing. The jewel is Old Faithful Lodge.
 Old Faithful Lodge
 Snow Lodge
Yellowstone Lodge
Roosevelt Lodge

That's about the order. There are one or two other grand lodges that burned down or fell victim to other disasters.  The park founder and president at the time asked for this to be the nations first park, for the people. POTUS Grant created the park in 1872, managed by the Army from Fort Yellowstone.  The National Park Service was founded in 1904. 

We'll jump back to Old Faithful for some show and tell.
 Inside the main house of Old Faithful Inn.
 The craftsmen that made these were only interested in doing a good job. One or two men did the best work they knew how and it's still impressive.
 Who sat here and wrote the last letter, in cursive? At some point in time, there was a wait to use this desk. Today, it's unlikely to get visitors. Nobody stocks paper and envelops, it's a technology orphan.
The brand under the writing desk shows "Limberts". This stuff hasn't been made since 1923.
 The stairs opposite go to the 'Crows Nest' where the orchestra played. An earthquake in '59 damage the structure so you can't go up. :(

 This is the Crows Nest.

 This fireplace has 4 hearths. One on each face.

Old Faithful Inn is easily the best. It was easy to look at and I didn't have any trouble inspecting the craftsmanship.
This door goes into room 229 but I get the feeling it could just as well be John Malkovich's head.

 Yellowstone cabs are for expensive sightseeing but very cool.

 Copper clad table base
Ceiling Air vent.

We now move to Snow Lodge

 One evening we carpet camped in front of the fireplace to read travel guides and plan tomorrows activities. It was nice, better without 40 stranded Japanese tourists from what we could tell a broke or crashed buss.
Looking out towards Old Faithful from the main hallway.
This is the great room at Snow Lodge but the adjacent Cafeteria dinning hall is just as nice. We saw Old Faithful blow near sundown over lasagna with mixed veggie's and spinach salad.
Snow Lodge is my favorite, It's very nice yet not crowded.

Lets Beat Antiques over to Lake Yellowstone Hotel

 Tourists arrive.
 Come on in.
We have lots of seating if you don't mind 1970 wicker.  

But, we have nice tile work.

 Lets jump over to Mammoth Hotel

This is a marquetry map in the hotel.

Mammoth is a town more than any other. The Post office is in Mammoth.

 We can come back to Mammoth later. There are a few thing I need to show first. Let's get over to see the last lodge and then have some camp dinner.

This lodge was already closed to the public for the season. They are instructing rangers or something for next season. It's obviously the smallest - you can't stay in the lodge, just in the out cabins. The lodge is used for a communal area and dining...if you're not participating in the chuck-wagon dinners down the road.
 Rental cabins.
 Beat it back to camp for dinner and a fire.
 Morning Coffee with Oatmeal
Tomorrow we'll hit a few fun pictures and then run down to the Tetons for a back country camp at 8,700ft. I can't not talk about gear, the orange tops we are wearing are down shirts. :) It's our new go to morning gear.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


After a decent night at the hotel in Cody we get back in the van. Excited to finally get into the park. We expect to arrive at the East Gate before 10am.

The ride in gives us time to reflect on just how nice Minnesota is. We looked around at a lot of countryside in the last 1,070 miles and the vast majority of the time we look at each other and 'What a shit hole!' or 'There is nothing to do here." Take central South Dakota. Nothing but praire for as far as you can see. I could camp 20 miles from my house and if I had a spotting scope I could tell if I left the windows open. Western Wyoming is hardly better. It's great for ranching but I could not see one thing to do, provided I could find a job that didn't require me to castrate bulls for the Proud Cut bar.

We enter the park...We take this photo about an hour after. The park is huge and ...

It has funny looking urinals. 
So the park is huge. Seriously look at these signs. Those numbers are miles and all but Cody is in the park. We drive something like 600 while in the park.

The park has a few rules or warning before we have fun.

There are other signs that, in a cartoon way, show people breaking through the crust and into the boiling water below. I can see that being true as everything is smoking, steaming or boiling.
I'm sure I said something but lets stay focused on the steam, That 'lake' is 190F. Water boils about 205F at this altitude.
What's with all the faces. It must be all the sulfur in the air from the stream vents.

Below is the bacteria that grows between 160 and 190F. Below that it goes to yellow and then green.

The structure of the bacteria is amazing.

The heat moves around over the years and kills the roots and the water entombs the rest in calcium.

 We learn about a hike to see Grand Prismatic Spring. So we gear up. Reports are it's a few hours hike.

Above:  Grand Prismatic Spring. We had to hike up the side of a steep hill to get these. It's a common hike for those that know about it. Look close and you can see the boardwalk on the top. From there, you can't see anything but steamy water. Remember the temp based bacteria, it's responsible for the fireball.
 Not everything is so pretty but everything has something of wonder.

 This is Grand Fountain geyser. We wait for a few hours for it to blow and by the time it blows its so dark we can barely see it. These things are never on time.
 Geysers go up to and into the lake. You can kayak over them. The issue, they don't want you swimming in the lake because a geyser could go off below you and you're cooked.
 This is Roaring mountain. One day it got hot and cooked all the trees. It makes a roaring noise.

Everywhere you go, you have to stay on the boardwalks. No hiking around to see things up close or you'll get cooked. 

The Wildlife is very easy to find. It caused "Bison" jams. Like traffic jams only it's all tourist looking at a Buffalo. Elk were in rut so we heard them bugle all night. Prong horn were the hardest to find. The last one is an Otter. He's stuffed and on exhibit in Mammoth. Each town in the park as a story to tell and a visitor center. This one was about fur trading in the park and original exploration. Soon after they banned fur trapping.

We lived in this thing for 9 days, no mechanical, Old faithful she is. This is lunch in the parking lot of the Norris Geyser Basin.

I'll add more tomorrow but it's time for bed.