Friday, September 15, 2017

Sept 15th - Bozeman to Yellowstone National Park

The final day of the 2017 BSOL promised to be another wet one. The weather forecast in Bozeman was for steady rain, and snow at higher altitudes. The original plan of entering Yellowstone National Park via the Beartooth Highway (212) with a section at 11,000 feet altitude had been abandoned a day or so earlier as the road was closed, but the backup plan of entering from the north at Gardiner also had to be dropped due to snow on a 8800 foot pass. We therefore all opted for Hwy 191 to the West Yellowstone entrance. This still involved some rain and light snow, but nothing too untoward. Some of us then broke for lunch, whilst others drove on into the park. After lunch we opted to first visit Old Faithful, before checking out some of the other features of the park.

Steam rising above our bonnet from some of the many hot water features
After circling the parking lot for 15 minutes to find a free spot, we finally walked towards Old Faithful. It's hard to imagine how busy it would have been if the weather had been better...

A large audience awaits the old geyser...

A circle three deep waiting for up to 90 minutes for...

...this. There was so much steam that most of the water went unseen
Having never visited Yellowstone before, one of the surprises to us was the generally high altitude of the park. Much of it is at 8,000 feet or more. As a result, road closures for snow are very common late in the season. By the time we'd seen Old Faithful "perform", we had to head for our hotel which took us 90 minutes or so to reach in the snowy conditions. Bison roam the park, and often stand close to, or on the roads. As a result, there are frequent hold-ups. Park Rangers try to move folk along, but were often unsuccessful, and became frustrated at motorists...
A bison approaches the E-Type for a closer look
We finally made it to the hotel at around 5pm. The Lake Yellowstone Hotel, is set right by shores of the large Lake Yellowstone at 8,000 feet.

Lake Yellowstone Hotel

On close inspection we found our headlights to be totally covered with ice, which probably meant they were invisible

We each stayed in "Frontier Cabins", which turned out to be cozy and warm 
The group, which by now was down to 16 strong, got together for a final dinner at the Lake Yellowstone Hotel. At the conclusion of our dinner, we got together in the lounge and toasted our dear departed friend Jerry, with a bottle of Glenfiddich kindly donated for the purpose by Lynn Gardner at the start of the tour.

A final toast...
And so, with thanks to Christine and Rick for organizing this tour of the sights and roads of Montana and Wyoming, we said our goodbyes. Many of us have several days of driving to go before we reach home, but have a lot of memories to take with us. Though some of these memories will, no doubt, fade over time, our fond memories of Jerry Mouton will endure. We will memorialize him in future tours, and hope to join together again in October 2018 in Arizona and Utah. Safe travels home to everyone...

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