Two thumbs up (Ebert & Roeper)! Yellowstone National Park is magnificent. The Grand Tetons were more for the scenic lake views at Jackson and Jenny Lake. Yellowstone was more of a theme park. It was made clear to me why Yellowstone was the first National Park in the World.
Today's ride really had it all. It was everything Colorado had to offer and more. I packed up camp early (for me that's 7am). That was to reduce my chances of a bear sighting or a Park Ranger sighting (apparently camping in the national forests in this general area is heavily frowned upon because of the fire hazard). Of all people I ran into Ken again at breakfast (maybe the fourth unplanned time we've eaten together so far). We rode together for about 30 very scenic miles until we split at the Continental Divide. I went to have lunch on Yellowstone Lake and he went to forge on towards West Yellowstone (the plane leaves with or without you).
Today had a little bit of climbing. The jaunts allowed for canyon views and one last looked back at the Tetons (much smaller by then). Waterfalls, crystal clear streams, lakes, and elegant pines accompanied me all the way to Olde Faithful.
It felt like a camping right of passage to see the buzzard blow off, but I wouldn't say it was my favorite part about Yellowstone. Just west of the hallowed ground, were several basins from out of this world. Much smaller geysers and hot-springs surrounded by what seemed like volcanic ash put me on another planet. I've never seen water so blue (not because it was clear, but because it was so hot!). It was a Crayola playground. Exotic colors, the yellows, oranges, and blues, seemed out of place for the Wyoming that I've come to know. I spent maybe an hour walking through the different basins.I can't imagine being the guy who found this for the first time.
It was an amazing day. The weather was perfect and I really feel that I can appreciate this so much more than say, an eight year old who sees it for the first time.
There was some more rubbish today though. All the campgrounds were sold out again. Two days in the National Parks and no place to stay. I know some of you may be thinking, "Hey, just go ask to share with an RV, they don't need the space." I'm aware that I am capable of doing something like that; but I'm also aware it's their vacation too. I'm not going to put them in an awkward spot (I know they'd say yes, but that doesn't mean they're okay with it). Instead, I too like Ken, forged on to West Yellowstone.
The town is outside of the park and is a motel/hotel hotbed. Because I heard the Rangers would nab me for camping in the forest out here I shelled out $35 for the cheapest campground (it's supposed to be $5 in the National Park, if they had room for people like me).
It's very disappointing to run into the troubles I have had in the parks the past two days, considering the circumstances. I would have liked to spend some more time there (just another day), but it's not worth the hasslement of the back and forth biking. I've gotten my fill though; and another thing to write my Congressman about.
By the way, West Yellowstone is in the state of Montana, "Big Sky Country".