Saturday was our last full day at Yellowstone. I had reached the coughing portion of my cold and didn’t want to go on a full-out hike but did want to see the more remote Geyser Basins and and the area farther from Old Faithful. We got out fairly early and went first to Biscuit Basin before the big crowds showed up. The Black Diamond Pool had some dead trees in front of it; as I said earlier, a nice foreground. On our way out of Biscuit Basin, I got a nice shot of a fisherman fly casting in the Firehole River. This place, being rich with shallow rivers, has fisherpeople all over the place. This guy is in a pink shirt – I like it. When we got to Black Sand Basin, we recognized some of our favorite geysers from a previous trip. We also remembered seeing an egret, enjoying respite in some warm water. On the way back, we played “Catch a geyser spouting”. The object of the game is to catch the geyser spouting. Since this one blows often, we won. Our plan was to hike from Black Sand to the outer area of the Upper Basin. On our way out of the parking lot we passed one more beautiful but deadly body of water. Opalescent Pool had killed all the trees nearby. After a short hike through a scrubby wooded area, we reached Black Sand Pool. It looked pretty but unremarkable. We gazed at it a few moments then I felt a throbbing under my feet and heard a deep rumble. Was it a heavy truck going by somewhere? Nope, it was the pool, getting ready to rumble. It was a small geyser but we waited to see if the same thing would happen again. It did though the geyser bubbled in a different area of the pool. Interesting. Our next encounter was Punch Bowl Spring. This was an unusual formation that had built its own container and bubbled away like a Halloween drink for the Addam’s family. We continued on and passed Grotto Geyser. When we came back from Morning Glory, it was spouting generously. One of the featured pools in this are is Morning Glory Pool. It used to be more spectacular but people threw so much trash in it that it affected the heat generated and that affected the colors of the algae. It’s the only feature I’ve seen that has a sign warning that throwing coins into the pool violates federal law. The colors and depth of the pool are still amazing. Dave had spotted a spouting geyser quite a distance away. When we finally reached it, it had been erupting for around an hour. And it was quite dramatic, rising 60 or 70 feet high. And it just didn’t stop. It was Grand Geyser. My final gasp of creativity was noticing the pink flowers by the Firehole River. I trudged back to the car and thus ended our Yellowstone outings. We actually put the chairs out and sat outside at the campground. I think it was the second time in ten days. After dinner, we took a final walk to the enormous meadow near the campground; no bison lingering around.
Sunday was departure day; the beginning of the drive home. This time, I allocated 6 days to drive the roughly 1,000 miles from Yellowstone to San Francisco. Our first day was the longest drive: 214 miles from Yellowstone to Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho. I know 214 miles doesn’t sound like a lot but when towing we don’t drive faster than 55-60 mph.
We found a nice, quiet campsite at Craters. We didn’t have the energy to do the drive around the monument or the several nice hikes. We just put on our shorts, sat outside and enjoyed the sun, had dinner and relaxed. It’s definitely a place worth visiting if you are driving through that area of Idaho. The nearby town of Arco also has some interesting facets.
The next morning we went back on the road, sailed through the town of Jackpot, Nevada and into high desert sagebrush country. Went into Angel Lake RV Park in Wells on I-80. Nothing fancy and the dryers didn’t dry very well, but we were registered and entertained by an amusing old guy. It was pretty warm and we appreciated the air conditioning. Tuesday was another 200-mile day and we got as far as Winnemucca. I had originally wanted to go to Rye Patch Reservoir, a quiet site, but it was too hot to enjoy it. The Winnemucca RV Park became our home for the night and we were disappointed not to get assigned a space with a tree. It was 90 when we showed up around 2. The swimming pool looked good but only had one shady spot that was occupied. So we holed up again. I’ve begun interior cleaning; it’s easier to do a little bit every day instead of trying to do it all when we get home. They had a large “library” of take one-leave one books, but about 25% of them were by James Patterson. That guy must have written 100 books by now. I think I’ve read one by him; it’s not what I like. We watched the no-hitter by Chris Heston and that was fun to see. He seems like a nice kid.
Wednesday was a short 150-mile drive. There was supposed to be really heavy rains in Nevada but they never transpired. I’m glad the trip was short because Dave now has the beginnings of the cold he undoubtedly caught from me. Too bad. Dave wanted to watch the International Space Station speed across the night sky and had an app that told him exactly when it could be sighted. It was warm and sunny when we pulled into the RV park and then it rained a good portion of the night. So much for our night sky hopes. Next morning, it was warm and sunny again.
We sailed over Donner Summit and had one more night out. I’ve been doing a little bit of cleaning each day for a while so I don’t have to do it all when I get home. That’s one of the lessons I’ve learned. Others are:
Don’t start home projects right before you go on the road.
Always physically check any work done on a vehicle.
Bad weather can still accommodate great images.
Appreciate all weather. San Francisco doesn’t have much weather.
Have adequate entertainment in the vehicle.
Go to fewer places and stay longer.
Take longer to go home. See more of Nevada if weather permits.
Gorp is still a good hike food.
Go back to Yellowstone.