14 December 2014

Day 17 - Oregon and Yellowstone Trip

The Mud Volcano area is our main goal today.  Not all the vents are recordable from the trails, so some are just observed or heard; never to be shared in photographs or video.
We were discussing channel widths and how the water volume must change with time.  I said, "And remember, there's no telling how many Spring springs spring up with snow melt."

How's that for three different meanings of the same word in the same sentence!  :)  Yes, I patted myself upon the back.

Lunch stop at Nez Perce Picnic Area, easily the nicest stop we've made due to distance from the road.  For a while, we felt like the only people in the park.

My Asolo Athena hiking boots seem to have a tread pattern that encourages self-cleaning.  While Himself's Lowa Hiking Boots with super aggressive treads pick up mud with ease, my Athena's do not appear to have the same mud attraction.  Whether this is due to tread, weight, or something else entirely keeps my thoughts occupied for a time.

People lose all brain power while driving along and seeing large animals OR seeing two or more cars pulled over and assuming there's large critters nearby so they slow down to look ... and back up traffic.

And we joined the queue because ... 

We saw a Grizzly Bear!  He was so incredibly cute!  And he had two ravens hanging out with him.  Definitely a highlight of the trip!  Awesome!!!

I got a bit teary-eyed.  I basked in his presence.

A slightly hysterical woman hanging with a photographer went racing back to her car to get her bear spray because, "They can run fast and they are hungry."

I agree they can run fast, but only for a sprint.  And they aren't hungry, not yet.  They are packing on poundage anticipating winter.

Finally, Mr. Grizzly (sex is a guess) was rolling in the grass, digging up roots, and stretching out in the sun.  And he had two raven buddies hanging out close by.  In other words, we had no reason to fear him and needed only to respectfully observe his quiet afternoon from a distance.

I think the park has successfully instilled "bear fear" into the visiting population.  

I share the opinion with himself that bears are very like big dogs.  

Head to miniaturized "Grand Canton of Yellowstone" ... we would not make a specific drive for it, but since we are in the area ...

The upper and lower falls, as well as the canyon are more interesting than we anticipated.  And the light is such that all our photos of the area look like paintings.

A common call in the vehicle is "buffalo butt," since, well, this is the vast majority of photo opportunities.

It has been neat to see the fire affected areas, noting the dense growth of young pines.  I'm impressed by what I see if park mgmt.  However, we did overhear one park employee, whom we dubbed Ranger Rick, having a bit of a meltdown at the entrance (I believe it was our second or third day).  When we ran into him again at the historical center, I had to hide my grin.

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