SUBMITTED JULY 2014
Scott and my flight was this morning at 6 am and we had to get up at 3:30. And yes that sucks. We flew in from Texas n arrived at West Yellowstone at noon. We got our rental car and ate lunch at the Geyser Grill. Then we drove to the Firehole and stopped along the way twice by the Madison, once for 2 male elks on this small island on the Madison, we took pictures. The second time was for bison, which I like to call buffalo. There were probably 4 or 5 adults and a couple babies. We got out and took more pictures. I also found some buffalo hair or fur on several trees and yes, I kept it and then I found a Buffalo backbone disc and yes I kept it too until our last day and then I put it back out in the wood. It’s what I do. Then we turned and went down the Firehole River. We got out at the canyon and checked it out and I took pictures then we went further down the Firehole and saw more buffalo and I took pictures. We stopped at the Grand Prismatic Geyser and took pictures, but we couldn’t see it very good because there was a lot of wind and the temperature was cooler. We saw an osprey and swallows and a bluebird. Beautiful. Then we went to Old Faithful and it was and we filmed it and also took a picture of a little ground squirrel (chipmunk). I also saw a regular squirrel earlier and I took pictures of it too because it was different than our squirrels. After Old Faithful we went back to our hotel at the Pine Shadows Hotel. Scott jumped in the shower and then we went to get some dinner at Pete’s Pizza, delicious. Afterward we walked around the square to see the old buildings then went back to the hotel to get to bed early for a long day the next day.
We ate breakfast at the 3 Bears restaurant then went to the Madison Junction where Scott fished and caught his first brown trout and it was really pretty. I walked down the Firehole from the Junction to see if I could find a place worthy of the Fenn chest but couldn’t. I was also looking for other treasures that I found some of. I saw and took pictures of a squirrel, a ground squirrel and I saw a small brown bird that wouldn’t or couldn’t fly and I was gonna pick him up to give to the ranger but I couldn’t get him. He went around this tree and disappeared. He had gone into this little tunnel made of pine needles so I figured it was his home and left him there. I saw several different pretty flowers. I have also been taking pictures of the painted buffalo in town made of ceramic or cement or something. After the Firehole we went to Nez Perce Creek and went on the best hike we had yet. We saw our own geyser and I saw a rock in it and got it out and kept it. I have also quite a collection of Buffalo’s hair now so I am done collecting it. We saw several places with very old trash, they were old campsites. I found an old glass bottle and kept it. We then went to Old Faithful to eat lunch then to Ojo Caliente and I had my swimsuit on and got in the Firehole and went to where Ojo came out. Scott was fishing so I got out and walked on the meadow trail and came back then down the Firehole towards Madison and back to the parking lot and took off my shoes cause my feet were hurting. Scott came to the car and his feet were hurting too so we decided to go on down to the West Thumb area and stopped at the Continental Divide and took pictures and took pictures of me and the snow that was melting. The Continental Divide was a cool place. Then went around Yellowstone Lake and stopped and took pictures of the Tetons and we saw 2 Bald Eagles and a family of beavers. We also found another geyser and close to it was a sound coming from the ground and I dug up a geyser and set it free. Then we went on to Canyon then Norris then Madison taking pictures all along the way of the elk and bison. The valleys were so beautiful then we finally saw 2 herds of buffalo, which was awesome and one walked right in front of our car. They make a sound when they walk, a grunting snorting sound. We looked for bears and moose but couldn’t find any. When we were between Norris and Madison we saw a pine marten on the side of the road and Scott took the picture but it was blurry. It was so cute. Then we went on and made it back to West Yellowstone by 8 pm and ate dinner at the Canyon Grill Cafe. It was like a 1950s diner. I asked the lady checking us out if bears ever come into town. She said a ranger told her today that a mother bear and her two cubs have been coming into town at night looking for food, poor things. A park ranger at the Madison Junction told us today that there have been a lot of bear sightings all over because they are hungry. I feel really sorry for them.
We headed to Yellowstone Lake after breakfast so Scott could fish. He has caught fish everywhere we have gone but most are small. I filmed a small geyser and then we headed over to Lamar valley to see all of the animals. The Hayden and Lamar valleys are beautiful! We saw our first grizzly bear, but you couldn’t see her very well because she was lying down and in the woods so you couldn’t get too close. Then we moved on. We came across a mother black bear with her 2 cubs. They were adorable! One of the babies climbed a tree and the other one stood on his hind legs while mom was eating and looking for food. We saw beautiful rock formations and waterfalls. We came across Mount Washburn and decided to climb it and after we came down and drove on the other side at the bottom we saw that there was a road to drive up. Then we came across some pronghorns and while we were watching the pronghorns 3 wolves came out of the woods and were walking around. A little further down the road I saw a rainbow against a mountain. Then we saw buffalo crossing the road in front of us.
We decided to go to Mammoth then Gardiner. When we arrived at Mammoth we found out that there had been a bad accident between there and Gardiner and they had the road closed. A car had flipped upside down and fell in the river. There were 4 young elk playing by our car so I filmed them. We decided we would eat lunch to use some time wisely. When we finished lunch the road was opened so we went to Gardiner. We were trying to get to Bear Creek to look for gold where Uncle Jim Brown had found it long ago. We didn’t make it there because we found the side of the hill we parked on filled with beautiful quartz and crystals and people had done a lot of work on cutting open huge boulders and there were parts with crystals all over the ground. After rock collecting we headed to the Tom Miner Creek and campground to go to the petrified wood place. It was a long way on a bad road. We arrived and went out to explore. According to the sign the petrified wood was up and over a mountain. I wanted to see the caves so I pushed on. We were so high up and the trail got narrower and narrower and I got more afraid and more afraid till I told Scott I couldn’t continue. He went on ahead while I waited on the side of the mountain. He looked in the caves that were more like indentions so we went back down. When we were low enough, I walked the creek bed and found a huge piece of banded agate. We then went back to the hotel and ate dinner and went to bed.
We headed to Gardiner again after breakfast to get to get to the place that Scott and I thought the Fenn Chest was located. We crossed over Yellowstone River at Corwin Springs and headed down Old Yellowstone Trail, which was really cool. We came to a trail by Yankee Jim Canyon and went up it and it happened to be where Yankee Jim’s tollbooth was. We explored it extensively for 4 hours. We found ice in a cave with icicles. It was the coolest thing ever! We thought that this might be the place where the treasure was. We still think it might be. We went and ate a very late dinner and I wanted to go to my other special place to look, but Scott wanted to fish the Gibbon river and it was getting late so I didn’t get to check my spot which is very disappointing. On our way back after fishing we saw another grizzly walking near the road and stopped to get pictures. Scott fished the Gibbon briefly while I walked around and explored.
We slept later today because we knew that we would be leaving today and we couldn’t go too far. We packed our bags and got ready for the day and left to eat breakfast and checked out of our hotel. There is a place called Ernie’s that became our breakfast place. Doc and Donna own it. After breakfast we walked around town. We visited the old railroad depot (now the museum), the place where the train riders ate, and different areas. The 3 Bears Hotel was the first one built and it was right across the street from the depot. It had 3 different owners I believe and burned 3 times. It now has sprinklers. We then went to get a few souvenirs. Afterward, we went to Hebgen Lake Dam, just downstream from it, but before you get to the Ghost Village Rd. Scott fished and caught a rainbow trout while I looked at rocks and in front of us was a high cliff and along the cliff with the Madison River between us were 9 white Mountain Goats including 2 babies. They were adorable! I was hoping that they would come down to the river to get some water, but they had some patches of snow up there still that they could use for water so I was doubtful that they would come. I took pictures, but they were so far up the pictures didn’t come out that well. A little further down the river there were 2 male mountain goats. After an hour or so we had to leave to get back, get some lunch, and get to the airport in West Yellowstone to return the car and get on the plane. Our 5-year-old grandson was sad that we didn’t find the treasure, but when he sees his presents, he’ll feel a little better about it and we will tell him all of the adventures that we had. We got him 2 bear t-shirts, bear feet slippers, and a coon skin cap (not real fur). There’s so much to see and do around Yellowstone that you will definitely need more than a week to do and see it all. We never did see a moose, but there’s always next time.