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# Trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone - Part 3 - Yellowstone

Wow. Two entries in two days! It's a record! So, without further preamble, here's the penultimate entry on my trip.

When we last left our hero, I was driving north out of the Grand Teton National Park. In retrospect, this was a mistake.

My first stop was Grant Village. It was early morning so nothing was open yet. I did talk briefly to the Ranger that was getting everything ready to open. He was surprised when I asked him if he was reopening the restrooms. Apparently most people ignore the signs by the doors that say the restroom is closed. After answering nature's call, I continued on to Old Faithful.

Old Faithful erupting

I got to Old Faithful, and it turns out I got there just 10 minutes after an eruption. I killed the 45 minutes until the next eruption. Again, I was both delighted and mortified that I had internet access through my cell phone there.

Finally, I got to see Old Faithful erupt. What a disappointment. If I had to wait only 10-20 minutes it would have been worth seeing, but longer than that wasn't worth it. At least now I can say I've seen it.

I left Old Faithful and continued on my way. I gradually made my way up towards Madison Junction. Along the way, I discovered why the rest of the world hates America. It's the tourists. Most American tourists are not rude, but enough are that you start to see all Americans that way.

You see, Yellowstone has a speed limit of 35mph. It's all two lane road, but there are turnouts every 1/2 - 1 mile for slower traffic to let faster traffic by. There are all kinds of signs posted that say "slower traffic use turnouts." Still, there are rude, arrogant bastards that drive 25mph without using the turnouts.

I hate to generalize, but the states the cars were from were pretty consistent. I saw several states pop up in the dozens of times this happened to me. The ones that stick in my mind the most, even a month later, were New York, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, Pennsylvania (Sorry nous) and California. The vehicles that consistently pulled over to let traffic by were largely from Idaho, Oregon, Washington and various mid-west states.

OK, rant over.

A waterfall on the Firehole River

I continued on my way, stopping at one of the paint pots on my way through (no pictures came out, though) and driving the Firehole Canyon Drive. It was on Firehole Canyon Drive that I found a really picturesque waterfall that is largely ignored. The Firehole Cascades are interesting, but not worth taking a picture of.

After driving Firehole Canyon Drive, I found a nice place to have lunch next to the river. From there I continued on towards Canyon Village.

One of the more picturesque pictures of Artist Paint Pots.

Along the way to Canyon Village I stopped at the Artist Paint Pots. This was the highlight of my day in Yellowstone. You park in the parking area and take a short 1km walk. Once there, you're greeted by a boardwalk that takes you around the bubbling pits. The loop is 2-3km all told.

I found the paint pots very interesting, even though they're not much to photograph. For those that don't know, paint pots are geothermal features. They're basically basins of boiling mud.

While I was there, I happened to be standing next to a girl that also had a K1000. She caught me looking, then noticed my camera, and remarked on it. We exchanged praises for the camera and each went on her own way. The guy she was with was dressed like an Indian, but it really didn't suit him. From his hair and beard, I guessed that he was a hipster and radically out of his element. He probably thought he was being ironic by wearing the silly outfit.

After the paint pots, I continued on my way. The rude drivers were starting to get to me, the overbuilt "wilderness" was getting to me, and I just wasn't having that good of a time. I stopped at Canyon Village to get batteries where the crowd wore me down more.

I didn't decide to leave until I got to Mt. Washburn. It was at that point that I decided that picturesque scenes were gone, and I decided to just leave. I continued north until I got to the north entrance and left, never to return again. From Gardiner I went north on US-89 at a nice rate of speed, thanks to a generous 80mph speed limit. Montana speed limits own.

Next time: Getting home.

posted at: 2006 Oct 29 22:28 UTC | category: life | (story link)

Copyright © 2006-2008 Zach White