Another active day with Mr and Mrs L braving the strong winds, sun and rain to tackle the Beaver Pond trail from Mammoth. This was a 5 mile round walk starting with a steep climb up 350 feet – we were whacked already!! Mr and Mrs L don’t think that Everest base camp would be quite their thing as walking and climbing steep hills at an altitude of 7,000 feet is quite taxing enough thank you. Breathing hard and with heart rates racing we made it to more level areas and easier walking. The trail is through known bear country so we were on full alert at all times. The last sighting was of a black bear and her 2 cubs on 19/9/13. Mrs L walked clutching her Bear Spray at all times and ho hummed and di dummed loudly as we went round corners and through thicker undergrowth and treed areas – Mr L had told her that he didn’t want her singing!! No bears sighted I am pleased to say……..
Walk wildlife spotted included a couple of deer sitting minding their own business and who only gave us a cursory look, a chipmunk that scampered out in front of me, and two mountain goats high up on a mountain spotted by Mr L with his binoculars. Sadly no beavers spotted at the Beaver Ponds.
By the time we got back to Mammoth the rain was beating down and we were getting cold but fortunately remained dry in our waterproof clothing.
Picnic lunch was had overlooking a picturesque valley – we sat in the car and couldn’t see a thing because of the weather! Time then to continue to drive up the mountain road to Norris. Just outside of Norris we were suddenly on bear alert as there were a huge number of cars stopped and people by the side of the road with cameras at the ready, we slowed down but were moved on by a park ranger. However, we just managed to glimpse a good sized grizzly bear resting on a hydrothermal area. Mr L quickly parked the car in the next pull-out (lay-by in English!) and we started to walk back to where the crowd was gathered. The park ranger gesticulated wildly telling us to either go back to the car or move forward quickly as the bear was on the move and heading towards the pull-out. Unfortunately, neither us got a decent photo – back end only of the grizzly bear! She was a beautiful bear and slowly walked up through and over the road and disappeared into the bushes on the other side of the road.
Back on the road we got up to the Norris Geyser Basin which is one of Yellowstone’s hottest and most acidic hydrothermal areas. We only managed to walk round the Porcelain Basin, a 1km walk; the Basin is the Park’s hottest exposed area. It was like looking at the landscape of another world – green pools of water, steam erupting, water boiling, travertine landscape – absolutely stunning.
Check out the Norris Geyser Basin in action…………. Norris Geyser Basin
We hope to get back there and walk the longer walk up to the Steamboat Geyser and go to the Norris Geyser Basin Museum but today time was getting on and we didn’t want to leave it too late to start heading back as snow tyres are recommended after 4.30pm and the temperature was only 39F/3C as we left at 3.30pm. Mountain roads with sharp bends and sheer drops are not Mrs L’s favourite thing at the best of times, adding icy roads to that combo was not an option!
Dinner venues in Gardiner are somewhat limited. Many restaurants and even shops are all closing this weekend as it is the end of the season. A bowl of chili was what Mrs L fancied for her dinner tonight so with research done on Trip Advisor we set forth for Silvertips in Gardiner to be told as we arrived that they were closing……next option was Cowboys, a venue that had very mixed reviews on Trip Advisor. Nevertheless there was a good crowd of people in the place and chili was on the menu. We opted to give it a go, the meal was good, the price very reasonable and worth a visit another night.
Back home and Mr L is now planning the walk for tomorrow……….weather forecast still wet and windy………ho hum, di dum!!!