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Tuesday, November 07, 2017


Leaving Cody, Wyoming we are treated to another eye-full drive.  We roll along part of the 146 mile shoreline of the reservoir formed by the Buffalo Bill Dam.  Like spider threads thrown off the water are irrigation canals for agriculture.  It makes the area bloom.

We don’t leave Buffalo Bill behind easily.  We make a stop at Pahaska Tepee, Cody’s hunting lodge, and it’s beautiful.  It’s the original building and so are many of the furnishings.  This is no rustic cabin. In the 1920s in one of the eight bedrooms upstairs, the Prince of Monaco slept.  I’m glad we didn’t miss this.  It's such a reflection of the man who built it.

This is the main room of Pahaska Tepee, Buffalo Bill Cody's hunting lodge. 
It's very comfortable with leather chairs and a huge, stone fireplace.
I got a kick out of the fact that Bill's own portrait hangs above the fireplace.
No visiting upstairs because of the wood stairs that they say is a safety risk, but the back room is a long dining room, almost like a banquet room.

Along the road to Yellowstone National Park is the strangest structure, The Pagoda.

This is known as The Pagoda.
It was started as a "weekend project" in the 1950s
and for one reason of another, the builder gave up at this stage.
Here is stands for all this length of time.

As we drive through the valley, we see Nature's sculpting ability
in the formations rising high above us.
Do you see the bear, the lion, and the blacksmith?
What else do you see?

The land is so beautiful.  In the far distance, the mountains don’t look real; they appear as a painted landscape.  There is an other worldly aspect to their beauty, and we are anxious to reach them as we drive through the Shoshone National Forest.

Beautiful, isn't it?
It's so rugged, and it looks like a painting as we speed past.

Our destination is Yellowstone National Park, a place with more geysers than New Zealand or Iceland, countries known for their geysers.  The Yellowstone we visit was formed by a series of volcanic eruptions so huge that the central part of the park is actually a 35 by 45 mile caldera.  If you have ever been to Volcano National Park in Hawaii and flown above to see the caldera of Kilauea or have climbed to the caldera of Diamondhead, you will literally suck in your breath when you think of the eruption that produced Yellowstone.

The geysers, mud volcanoes, fumaroles, hot springs and other thermal phenomena are caused by the still-active magmatic forces bubbling just below the surface.  You are above seismic activity.  If it should blow….

Just one of the many thermal wonders spouting the steam created
by the activity below the earth's surface.
Makes you really wonder about the earth on which we stand.

These thermal wonders as well as the magnificent wildlife, the beautiful trees and rugged mountains are what we see during our three days in Yellowstone National Park, and our excitement is practically palpable.

Actually, traffic moved pretty well along the park roads, one reason that we looked for a late season visit there, but one occurrence consistently stopped everyone dead in their tracks—the appearance of wildlife.  Here you can see what constantly happens when bison decide to cross the road!!!!  I don’t believe anyone minds however; the thrill of seeing them never fades.

Bison are incredible.
But it really isn't wise to get too close.
People really do get hurt.

All the traffic in the world doesn’t matter when you take the time to explore Yellowstone.

The gorge that is the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is magnificent: the layered rock strata of blacks and browns dotted here and there with tenacious pine and worn away by the constant forces of rushing water cascading down the crevice creating rising mists at the base before it hits another drop and becomes a waterfall again. The sound of the roaring water does not lessen the beauty of the browns, blacks, greens and whites against a blue sky.  It is spell-binding.

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
Please follow the link in blue for a description of how this incredible canyon was formed.

This is only the beginning.  On to some of the great thermal sights in the park.  One thing to keep constantly in mind are the warnings about nature’s display.  It’s dangerous and tricky.

Other signs gave some of the numbers of people injured and burned.
Sometimes people are so strange.  We saw teenagers testing with their feet, and we saw, in another area, adults letting their children romp off the designated paths.
Wonders never cease.

We began touring the mud volcanoes, highly acidic and accompanied by pungent sulfuric odors.  The path is a boardwalk, and the different mud volcanoes bubble and spurt steam and gasses, rumbling at you as you walk by.  There’s nothing inviting here, but you cannot resist a fascination with the bubbly mud and the steam emanating and rising into the sky.

It's impossible to forget what is going on under your feet.
I wonder what possesses people to test the acidity and to disregard the warnings on the signs.
This is an incredible walk, and I wonder what happened to people prior to the boardwalk.
Mud volcanoes change.  In 1870, explorers were amazed at a volcano spewing steam and mud into the treetops and shaking the ground; two years later, the volcano had blown itself apart and became the muddy, bubbling sight that greeted us.  Some mud volcanoes, on the other hand, appear overnight. 

Some areas are quite beautiful, but we soon learned that the colors are caused, for the most part, by bacteria.  That sort of takes the edge off, so we just shake our heads in amazement at nature’s artistry.

Steam and boardwalks and vibrant colors.
It's almost difficult to believe that this is how it has "always" been.
It's also hard to believe that the vivid colors are caused by bacteria.
I’m glad we stayed in at the Yellowstone Lake Hotel in the park because as the clock gets closer to dinner time, there is a mass exodus of park visitors. Those are the real lines of traffic.  Hotels outside the park are quite a distance.  But there are other reasons that this hotel is so exciting. 

The beautiful Yellowstone Lake Hotel.
Travelers rode two days into the park to reach this hotel.
It is simple and grand at the same time.
Its atmosphere reflects the calm beauty of its enviornment.

It is 175 years old, and yes, it has been remodeled, the last time in 2014.  As a member of Historic Hotels of America, it is not allowed to install wifi although wired internet is in each room.  Nor are there televisions.  Board games are available if one desires, and there is a real attempt to preserve the atmosphere as it once was.  The original 300 rooms are now shrunk to 157 as bathrooms (thank goodness) ate up a great deal of space, so the Yellowstone Lake Hotel has a glamour of its own that makes a stay here utterly charming.

We walked down to the gorgeous lake and just reveled in its beauty.

Quiet and peaceful.
There is an overwhelming sense of calm down by the lake where some people sit, some stand, but all stare, overcome with awe.

Another magnificent day.  Awaiting to see what is in store tomorrow.

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