Yellowstone Vacation – Part 3
Monday, September 10, 2001
Terry and I saw the elk again this morning. He had a stick with some streamers stuck in his antlers. Later that morning, we saw the rangers tranquilize him so that the stick could be removed. On a side note, The buck had a very shrill mating call. It was higher pitched than either of us would have anticipated.
On the way to Tower Falls, we saw a waterfall along the roadside. It was called Undine Falls. By now, you might have guessed that Terry and I have a thing for waterfalls. The sound of the water falling over the mountain is one to which we will always be drawn. The roar that we hear promises the beauty that will be seen once we climb that last slope in the mountain.
We hiked to Tower Falls, which was 1.2 miles round trip. This trail was not as difficult as the trails from the previous day. That was probably a good thing, as Terry has shin splints and my calves were aching. Once at the bottom of the trail, Terry climbed the side of the mountain to get a better picture of the waterfall. We then went to the upper viewpoint, which was easily accessible. While there, we overheard a woman complaining about why the park didn’t do something about the trees that blocked the view of the waterfall. We didn’t bother to explain that this was a national park, where trees should be allowed to grow the way nature intended. However, we knew that this complaint would stick with us the rest of our lives, and that we would make fun of its anti-nature stance forever.
Terry and I drove on the Grant Village in the West Thumb area. We were walking around the geysers on the boardwalk, when we saw a little girl. She told us that one of the geysers wasn’t that hot, and that she had put her hand in it. We told her that she probably shouldn’t put her hand in any of them, as she didn’t know how hot they were, and that she might be burned. However, her mother indicated that she had given her daughter permission to put her hand in the geyser. We were speechless, from concern that the child could have been severely burned as the geysers were not marked with signs indicating their temperatures.
We went on to Old Faithful today. There were bleachers in a semi-circle around the geyser. The eruption was impressive. However, Terry and I both place more value all of the places that require a little work to see. On the way back to our hotel, we stopped at Kepler Cascade, another little fall along the road.
Tuesday, September 11, 2001
On the way back to the Old Faithful this morning, we heard on the radio about the terrorists’ planes crashing into the World Trade Center. By the time we heard, the towers had already fallen. We knew that there was nothing that we could do, so we went to a trail that was supposed to have two more waterfalls by it.
When we arrived at the trail, we found that it was closed as a fire had been in the area the day before. The rangers were afraid of a flare up, and did not want anyone trapped in the woods, should the fire not be completely out.
Our heart was not in the vacation at this point. It was also quite difficult to get any information, as there were only three TV’s in all of Yellowstone. We cancelled the reservations for September 11, and drove back to Jackson Hole to try to get more information.
On the way to Jackson Hole, we noticed that the park rangers wrote down our tag number when we left Yellowstone. They also wrote it down when we entered the Grand Tetons. Additionally, a road crew wrote down our tag number. Our rental car was a franchise car only allowed in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming according to the rental contract.
On the way to Jackson Hole, we listened to NPR, as it was the only radio station we could get. One of the news crew indicated that some of their co-workers had to buy a car, as they were unable to get a rental car.
Once in Jackson Hole, we called home to advise family about our change in travel itinerary, and found out that my stepfather had passed away from emphysema that day. So, we started trying to get home for his funeral.
To be continued…