Finding a Home for the night in Yellowstone

On my way out of the campground, I arranged for a spot at the north end of the park, closer to where the backpackers that I’d met earlier and planned to meet up with. It wasn’t the perfect place, but it was the closest one that accepts reservations. I packed up and headed for the other side of Yellowstone.

It was pretty early and there were lots of big puffs of rising steam. I saw this one little hot spring bubbling up in the middle of this field. I just had to go down and see how close I could get to it. There were a bunch of Canada geese hanging out between me and the geyser. I took a picture, and at about that time, noticed another guy who was also looking either at the geese or the geyser. I was happy for the stupid geese to move on, but if this guy was someone who’d somehow never seen these things, then he might be annoyed that I’d scared them off.

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The geese flew off. We spoke. I turned out that he too was interested in the geyser and afraid that I was interested in the stupid geese, so we had a good laugh over that. We headed on over to get closer to the hot water bubbling from the ground. We took pictures. I was going to include one here, but they aren’t very interesting.

Andrew, the other geyser hound, and I were mesmerized by the hot water bubbling from the ground. Our trance was broken, however, by a couple women calling out to us from an RV up where we’d parked. They were rather frantically pointing out to the field where we were standing. It turned out that about fifty yards away was a bison who had been lying down, so we hadn’t noticed him. As we approached him, however, he decided to stand up, apparently to see what our deal was. These women had been watching him rolling on the ground menacingly, and then stand up, looking at us.

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Andrew and I slowly headed back to the pull-off. We talked to this pair of women from New Zealand for a while. I quoted the signs that say “Bison are dangerous and unpredictable. Do not approach.” Hilarity ensued. We exchanged travel stories. Andrew was out for just a couple weeks and then headed back to Seattle for pink salmon season. It’s a big year, something like six million. Andrew promised to take us all salmon fishing outside of Seattle. The New Zealanders were on a year-long see-all-the-states tour. They’d just sold everything and come over here and rented an RV. They promised to send us some of the pictures they had taken of two idiots pointing at bubbling water while they were about to be charged by a bison. It’s been a week. I haven’t heard from either of them. I almost grabbed their memory cards and copied them right there, but it seemed a bit much.

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I stopped a couple more times. I saw a bunch of hot mud pits and fumaroles. And then there were hundreds of bison. Then there was an amazing waterfall in the canyon. I stopped and walked down to get a better view. (I posted a handful of those shots on the Yellowstone Album.)

I pulled into Norris Campground, one of the ones managed by the park service rather than the concessions company, and found a spot. It wasn’t but about 11:00 in the morning, but I don’t think there were even five spots left. I just made it. This was a better location, and a few bucks cheaper to boot. I would at another campground owned by these folks later in the day to cancel my reservation.

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