Thursday, December 07, 2006

Yellowstone 1994

While working in my office, I heard a strange chime. It was my Newton, off in the corner, gathering dust, but still gamely trying to remind me to update a configuration file. That particular file hadn't been in use in ten years, but the Newton didn't know that. I opened it up and rummaged through the notes and ran across a trip log from a family vacation trip to Yellowstone in 1994. I checked and it was one I hadn't already added to these archives, so I'm adding it now. The background -- Debra was 10. She's now married and living in Georgetown. Thomas stayed home, one of the first family vacations he opted out of, spending most of his time with friends.

So, straight out of the Newton with just a little formatting and no editing, a trip to Yellowstone:

Mon 7/25
Trip Log
* Sunday we headed north across new Mexico and spent the night in Pueblo Colorado
* Monday we traveled up through Colorado and Wyoming to spend the night at Riverton Wyoming
* Tetons Emergency Number
307 739 3300
* Tuesday Set up camp at the Gros Ventre campground at Tetons lunched in Jackson rode the tram at Teton Village special presentation on wolves observed a moose from the tram and elk from the car

Wed 7/27
Trip Log
* Hiked up Cascade Canyon
rode the Jenny Lake ferry coming and going saw pika squirrels chipmonks a mouse and a mule deer. Debra spotted a Marmot. Afterward we ate at Moose and then drove through the park. There was a forest fire in the northern part of the park. We saw an elk crossing the road, and then later, we saw a herd of elk, many with impressive antlers, in the late twilight off in a field beside the road.

Thu 7/28
Trip Log
* Took a float trip on the Snake River. Saw Merganzer ducks, ospreys bald eagles, bank swallows, white pelicans, Swansons hawk, Canadian geese, ravens, and after we came ashore a unita ground squirrel. After lunch, we took Debra to Colter Bay so she could play in the water while Mary Ann took a nap. I spent the time watching cowbirds scour the picnic area. We spent the rest of the day driving various park roads looking for animals. We saw many elk.

Fri 7/29
Trip Log
* Broke camp at the break of dawn and raced across Yellowstone, enduring heavy traffic and buffalo-jams to get to the Canyon Village camp site. Debra was anxious to see a geyser so we headed off to Old Faithful to see all the geysers. We saw eruptions of Old Faithful, Grand, Daisy, Riverside, Grotto, Castle and others. It took all day, and included a tour led by ranger Anne Deutch from New York, who was a mine of information about geysers and the 1988 forest fire.

Fri 7/29
Old Faithful 2:50
Castle 7:00
Grand 3:00
Daisy 2:30 5:50 4:10
Riverside 5:40
Great Fountain 10:00

Sat 7/30
Trip Log
* We ate breakfast in Hayden valley watching the buffalo all around us. At one point, we had to close everything up and get back in the car when one of the buffalo decided to come towards us. We then went back to Canyon village where we hit an ATM machine and bought a cane to help out with my sore ankle and ate lunch at their snack bar. For the afternoon we took a look at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and then headed up to Mt. Washburn. After that, we continued on towards the Northeast entrance of the park. At on place along the road, we could spot large elk herds across the valley. The drive up through Lewis valley gave us lots of fisherman sightings but little else in the way of animals with the exception of some antelope. We stopped at the old inactive Soda Bluff spring and then headed back with our eyes open for bear. We were rewarded just a couple of miles east of the Yellowstone river bridge. There was already the beginning of a traffic jam as everyone was trying to get pictures of a black bear. He was brown with a black muzzle and showed signs of a large scar on his left side just in front of his hind leg. When we returned to camp after a quick look at Tower Falls and some more elk beside the road, we attended a park ranger presentation on the geology of Yellowstone. It was almost rained out and we discovered some wet bedding in our tent when we settled down for the night.

Sun 7/31
Stage coach ride
original method of touring yellowstone park.
1883-1917 cars
coaches sold to farmers most burned and metal contributed to war effort. horses 3000 shipped across the atlantic to pull wagons for british army during ww1

Sun 7/31
Trip Log
* We hit the stores for groceries then headed north again, encountering a moose-jam on the road as everyone attempted to get pictures of a bull and a calf eating fireweed in one of the burned regions. After breakfast in a pull-out in a burn area we took the little stage-coach ride at Tower junction. We then toured the Mammoth Hot Springs area and then moved on towards Norris Geyser Basin and walked their trails. Returning back to camp, Mary Ann and Debra attended a ranger presentation on bison while I located a replacement fuse for the cigarette-lighter/horn/cruise-control which had popped when a penny had fallen into the lighter hole.

Mon 8/1
Trip Log
* After breakfast at Hayden Valley, we headed to West Yellowstone to view the new Imax movie about Yellowstone and stayed for lunch and a quick look at the Grizzley Discover Center. Returning towards Madison, we spotted and photographed Trumpeter Swans with young. Later we saw the Fountain Paint Pot features and were present for an eruption of the Great Fountain Geyser. We saw other thermals, ending back at Old Faithful. Debra collected her sack of trash for her Jr. Ranger project and then we headed back to camp, stopping at Fishing Bridge and Hayden Valley for a late sunset view of nature.

Mon 8/1
Old Faithful
Start 7:46 22
End 7:50 45
Length 4 minutes 23 seconds

Tue 8/2
Trip Log
* Breakfast at Hayden valley and then a stop at fishing bridge to look at all the huge fish you can't fish for, then a stop at the visitor center so that Debra could get her Jr. Ranger patch. Next stop was West Thumb Geyser Basin, which had a moose jam outside its entrance both when we arrived and when we left. We then went back to Old Faithful so that we could see Grand erupt again. We also saw Castle, Daisy, Riverside and, of course, Old Faithful. Coming back through West Thumb, the moose jam was still slowing traffic. Up the Lewis valley to see the Lewis falls and then back through West Thumb Junction where the rain finally ran off either the moose or the tourists, and up towards Canyon. Although we were slowed by five different buffalo jams, we made it to the Canyon area horse stables in time for Mary Ann and Debra to take a horse ride into the forest. Supper was sandwiches at Mt. Washburn where we watched unsuccessfully for bears.

Tue 8/2
of 1221
ca 1230 50
gr 1330
da 1251 1431
rs 1300

Wed 8/3
Trip Log
* This morning we broke camp early and packed up our sleeping bags and tent. Breakfast was on the north side of Mt. Washburn where we had been informed that a Grizzly and her two cubs were frequently seen, but no luck this morning. We did see a pair of sandhill cranes in that valley however. On the road out we spotted a ruffed grouse, a mink or ferret, an american coot and a lesser scaup. One last trip to the gift shops of Mammoth Hot Springs and we exit the park. Next stop is the Little Big Horn battlefield where Mary Ann spends a lot of time and I take a nap. Animals: cliff swallows, coyote, antelope, nighthawk. Sleep in Glendive Montana.

Thu 8/4
Trip Log
* Morning was spent at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. Animals: prarie dogs, wild horses, buffalo, antelope, northern harrier, red-tailed hawk. Saw Mt. Rushmore and spent the night in Keystone SD.

Fri 8/5
Trip Log
* Started from Keystone SD, went to Wall Drug; saw white-tailed deer; passed over 2000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles heading towards Rapid City as we headed away. Travelled about 800 miles through South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, and Missouri. Spent the night in Emma Missouri.

Sat 8/6
Trip Log
* Crossing Missouri, we toured the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and the Museum in the Jefferson Memorial. We spent the night somewhere between Springfield and Joplin.

Sun 8/7
Trip Log
* Drove home. Played tag with huge thunderstorm from mid Oklahoma down to Waco.

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