"10 days in Yellowstone National Park - Part 2" Yellowstone National Park Travelogue by karen_mo
Yellowstone National Park Travel Guide: 1,181 reviews and 3,808 photos
It's time to move on to the south of the park so we can be a little closer to Yellowstone Lake and the geyser areas. Knowing what chaos ensues at the campgrounds, we make sure we are on the road before 6:30am to drive the 2 hours to Lewis Lake campground. En route, we see a mother black bear and 2 cubs on the north road, and then another black bear. There's a pronghorn male by the side of the road. The low cloud in the Lamar Valley creates a beautiful light as the sun is rising through it. The fog is dense in the Hayden Valley in the east, and I nearly hit a couple of bison as they loom out of nowhere. This slows us down a bit. Further down the road is Yellowstone Lake, which is more like a sea. It is the highest lake in the USA at over 7000 feet. It is so calm and the reflections are gorgeous. A large male elk is next to the road.
Further on we drive down the side of Lewis Lake, which is another huge lake. The campground is wooded, and peaceful. We manage to get a nice pitch and beat the rush. The site soon fills up. There are no generators allowed here, and only small RVs, so a lot of people are tent camping. The only downsides are a lot of mosquitoes and only primitive vault toilets. It's a quick walk in the evenings to the shore of the lake to watch the beautiful sunset colours on the calm water.
We meet three lovely guys from Oklahoma state who turn up on Harleys and camp opposite us on our last night. Steve, Philip and Eddie have that great soft southern accent and are really nice people. We spend a fun night round the campfire with them swapping silly bear stories!
We're now on a moose hunt as this is the only big animal we haven't seen in the park yet and they're proving elusive. We drive back up to the centre of the park and head for Gull Point where there are supposed to be moose. It's a nice drive along the lake and we stroll on the beach, but no moose. So, we head to another area, called Pelican Creek and take the nature trail through the marshes, but still no moose. After a lovely high powered shower at the Fishing Bridge RV park we drive back to the camp, spotting a few very big male elk on the way – but no moose!
A ranger tells us that since the very widespread fire in 1988 the moose have mostly moved away from Yellowstone, but can still be found in Grand Teton on the little side roads.
This smaller geyser basin is lovely because it sits on the banks of West Thumb Lake. Despite the hot weather the springs are still steaming madly. The water from the hot springs flows directly in to the lake and there is a lot of thermal activity under the water of what is basically a smaller caldera within the large Yellowstone one. Despite this, the water temperature is only around 40'f and a lot of the year it is snowy and frozen. There are a couple of large pools here that are very deep and a beautiful blue colour from the heat loving bacteria. By the side of one there is a mountain bluebird nest and we see the parents popping in and out of the tree hole to feed their noisy offspring.
Whilst waiting for a good bear spot one day, we decide to see the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River and walk the North Rim Trail from Inspiration Point to Grand View. The view of the Lower Falls and the valley is beautiful. The falls are twice the height of Niagara Falls. The valley beneath is carved from weird coloured yellow rocks with odd shaped formations, due to the volcanic activity in this area.
We're out early one morning to dodge the heat of the day and walk to Shoshone Lake along the DeLacey Creek. The lake sits in the south of the park and is the largest backcountry lake in Yellowstone. It's a 6 mile hike through dense forest, lush meadows and along the creek edge to get to the lake. The walk would have been wonderful, except we got totally set upon by mosquitoes that seemed impervious to the DEET spray or the wipes. Rich was like a mossie magnet, they were circling all round him. We had to resort to wearing headnets and Rich had to put his sweatshirt on. Evidently there's a geyser basin the other side of the lake but we just wanted to get back to the car. Such a shame, but at least we got a few hours of exercise.
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