Falling rock. Wild elk. Amoebic Meningitis. Spontaneous geothermal activity and dangerous ground. Bears.
Yes, Betty and I have braved them all. And still live to tell the tale. Oh yes, if you ever find yourself scared in the wild, just look for us. We’ll be the cute ones in the extremely eco-conscious Prius wearing hoodies and sporting cameras next to the wildlife that seems drawn to our naturalness.
Day 4 took us back into Yellowstone for us much of the park as we could see. We headed straight for Old Faithful. As we arrived at the park, we both needed to make a quick potty stop. As I went into the bathroom, I jokingly said “Old Faithful probably will go off while I’m in the bathroom.” Spoke a little too soon – I stepped outside to find the famous geyser in the last couple spurts of its schtick. Go figure. And like a man, we had to wait a bit for the thing to recover before it was ready to blow again.
We took a hike around the park area, and it didn’t disappoint. In fact, the other geyser activities and formations, while less predictable, were actually more unique and varied, and still had their fair share of water spurting and steam. It’s hard to even explain what it looks like.
We wrapped up our hike and headed back for lunch and the next scheduled eruption of Old Faithful. Which, after a few false starts, didn’t fail to disappoint. What it lacks in sheer glamour, color, or formations, it makes up for in predictability, duration, and height. Who says size doesn’t matter?
We cruised around the rest of the park and took in more of the geyser basins. Alternately awed by the formations, warmed by the rolling clouds of steam, and asphyxiated by the sulfur smell. We finished up the geyser basins and headed up to Mammoth Springs, which had spectacular mountain valley views. The hot springs themselves were pretty interesting – the water creates pools and cascades I can’t even begin to explain. It also had the biggest phallus I’ve ever seen. I’m sorry – I know you thought it was you . . . talk about huge junk.
We opted out of Boiling River. Although it is one of the few places in the park where you can actually get in the water, the warnings about amoebic meningitis were pretty dire. And even though there had been no reported cases so far, we weren’t in the mood to make medical history.
Thoroughly exhausted (and disappointed that we had YET to see any bison), we headed back to the hotel. Until Betty spotted another herd of elk. Much closer than previous herds of elk. Suddenly, Miss “Elk Schmelk – Elk is the new deer” wants a photo op. I gave her one better. I used my Elk-Whisperer skills. With a few kissy noises and a little slap on the thigh (gets them every time) I managed to get her a good close-up on the elk. You gotta check it out. She half-heartedly kept saying “you need to move away from her and get back the car” as she snapped picture after picture. She’ll thank me later.
Other notable moments on Day 4:
- First false moose alarm. Well, there actually was a moose. We just arrived to late to see it. Betty and I consider starting other false animal sightings, just to see how many cars we can get to stop.
- We decide spotting animals in the wild is hard work. Next time the shopping list will include condoms AND infrared goggles to spot their heat signatures. I don’t care how dorky Betty thinks it might look. Editors note: Although they were on Betty's shopping list, I did not have use for any condoms. However, I could definitely have used some infrared goggles . . .
- Asian tourists wearing matching flannel shirts. Priceless.
- Betty orders Moose Drool at Bullwinkle’s Pub in honor of the false moose sighting.
- We (read, me) like Bullwinkle’s Pub because (a) they are one of the few restaurants not closed for some bizarre reason (like it’s Wednesday or the stove blew up) and (b) someone is a huge Green Bay fan, so they must have good taste.