stillhowlyn's travels 2010 travel blog

Leaving Bozeman, MT, taking Highway 191 south towards West Yellowstone, we encountered first rain, then hail, sleet and finally full-blown snow! We were following the Gallatin River, remember one of the three that form the Missouri at the headwaters, along with the Madison & Jefferson. We found a great NFS (National Forest Service) campground, Bakers Hole, just on the out-skirts of West Yellowstone, with some sites providing electric though we opted for the non-electric, simply because it had less trees and provided us with satellite TV...though why, you wonder!

We have reservations at Grant Village campground for 5 nights..$10.91 per night, no hookups. On Tuesday morning we had scheduled a photo workshop tour, Picture Perfect Safari, with Betty Prange, a fellow Escapee Club member/full-time RVer/writer-photographer-guide, whom we met in Petaluma.

We met Betty and 4 other participants at the Old Faithful Inn at 6:45 a.m., in temps hovering in the mid-20's F. After a brief introduction and overview we climbed into the Park's very comfortable and classic old 1936 White Motor Company, wood framed yellow bus. The views were panoramic from all sides, as we headed out to catch the sunrise through the mist of steam pots. We mainly stuck to sites that Betty thought would best highlight good photo opportunities; not necessarily the major tourist attractions. She had us try different settings, F/stops, ISO & exposure compensation techniques, to demonstrate the varied results we could obtain. With frozen fingers changing camera settings was often hard! Our tour lasted 5 hours and was worth every cent of the $81 per person fee. The pictures will better tell our story! Needless to say, I have much to learn and look forward to days of practice ahead as we make our way around the park.

Yellowstone National Park is literally a caldera of fumaroles, geysers, mudpots & hot springs, created by huge volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone gives a glimpse of the earth's interior: its waterfalls highlight the boundaries of the lava flows and thermal areas. Yellowstone's wildlife includes bison, elk, grizzly & black bears, and trumpeter swans. Lodgepole pine covers 60% of the park with sub-alpine meadows and near-desert vegetation. Yellowstone Lake is North American's largest mountain lake, which over geological time has drained into the Pacific Ocean, the Arctic Ocean via Hudson Bay, and now drains into the Atlantic via the Gulf of Mexico!

The weather continued cold by our standards and as luck would have it, our big hydronic diesel furnace blew a circuit board. Running the generator before 8 a.m. is frowned on so the portable electric heater remained in storage and the heat pump was not an option, thus our ever-faithful catalytic propane heater practically ran around the clock! Luckily, the batteries on the carbon monoxide detector were recently replaced! We awoke several mornings to a smattering of snow!

So with map in hand and our newly learned camera settings and photo framing techniques stored somewhere in the remnants of gray matter, we set out most days to tour this incredible, America's first, National Park!

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