We didn’t have a very long drive from Ennis, MT to Island Park, ID. We have decided to stay here for just one week. We’ve been here before and have seen a lot of Yellowstone so we think we can see what else there is in that time. If Jay and Stella were along, we would have gone back to see things again; but they’re not, so we’ll just take in the things that are new to us.
Once we got settled we took a ride into Yellowstone Park. We got caught in a long traffic slowdown which we eventually learned was caused by five buffalo roaming along the roadway. There was a hill to the left and a river to the right so they just walked down the middle of the road. Eventually a Park Ranger came and did his best to herd them to one side using his cruiser so at least one lane of traffic could pass. Sometimes he was successful, other times one or more would wander the opposite way. They have the run of the park so you just have to be patient in these situations.
We stopped near Old Faithful for bottles of water and the restroom. The geyser was to go off within a half hour so we decided to stay and watch it though we saw it last time. All of a sudden the wind whipped up and it got very dark. We quickly changed our minds and headed for the car. We started back and were caught in a terrible storm and then it started hailing. By the time we got home, it had stopped. There has been crazy cool weather here this year.
Monday afternoon we rode down the Mesa Byway here in Idaho to the Upper and Lower Mesa Falls. They certainly don’t waste a lot of money on signs! But we found what we were looking for and it was definitely worth the ride. These falls thunder through a chasm carved by the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River. The whole Snake River pours over the crest and drops 114 feet to the canyon floor with an explosion of spray. The water is a constant 52 degrees and doesn’t freeze in winter. The spray creates it’s own mini-ecosystem on the opposite canyon wall. Instead of the lodgepole pines that cover the rest of the canyon, mossy green grass covers the spray area. A little way down the gorge the river makes a 90 degree turn and the water is perfectly calm.
We stopped at a Frosty Top root beer place on the way home and had a root beer float. As soon as we got home it started raining very hard for a short time. It was really cool the whole day and we all wore jackets.
After dinner we went to Rick and Brenda’s motorhome to play Chicken Foot. The game room here closes at 7 p.m. and it was too cold to sit outside. When we came in around 11 p.m. it was already 66 inside our RV. We certainly needed the blankets.
In the morning it was 57 inside and I turned on the heat. It doesn’t take long to warm up and once the sun comes up it is pleasant outside. Today we did the lower circle of Yellowstone Park. The roads are laid out like two circles sitting one on top the other with a road at the bottom of the lower circle leading south right into Grand Teton National Park and on into Jackson, WY which we took last time we were here.
Right off the bat we were stopped in a traffic jam as people looked at the bald eagle despite the sign that says no stopping, parking or walking in that quarter mile. Finally a ranger came and sent everyone along. We did see the eagle on three separate occasions just driving by and he was magnificent. We had seen ospreys and their nest while at Mesa Falls. The birds are spectacular.
Then we hit another delay as people stopped to see the elk. Finally we got to a road we had to take that we knew had construction delays. In 14 miles we were stopped once for 15 minutes and another time for almost half an hour. But we bit the bullet and hung in there. We stopped at Canyon Village and had lunch. Then we continued down the east side of the bottom circle all the way around to the west side. There were loads of buffalo along the way and the road ran night alongside Yellowstone River until it emptied into Yellowstone Lake which is very large and deep. To the east was the Absaroka Mountain Range. The views were breathtaking. We stopped to see some of the thermal pools also.
We eventually made our way home after seven hours in the park. We’ve done both circles completely now and been through Teton into Jackson so I think we won’t subject ourselves to the crowds anymore this trip.