To Gardiner, Montana, I went. Along the way I saw the Mexican flag, and a bear, and the Roosevelt Arch. And a very nice person who didn’t laugh at me.
My first stop of my last full day in the park was at Norris Geyser Basin once more. I had walked the Back Basin trail a couple of days before, but I wanted to see the Porcelain Basin:
And, in my humble opinion, the stinkiest place in the park. The geyser basins do give off a faint smell of sulphur occasionally, but the Mud Volcano area reeks of it. Your classic stench of rotten eggs.
Heading back north, I went over Dunraven Pass, the highest elevation reached by road in the park at 8859 feet:
And I got stuck in another animal jam. This one was caused by my first bear of the trip, though, and I managed to get pictures. Very exciting stuff.
When I reached Mammoth, I had the crazy idea to stop at the park library (which is open to the public, and was in the basement of the Albright Visitor Center, one of the old Fort Yellowstone buildings, at the time) and see what I could learn about park history after the brainstorm I’d had at Grand Geyser the day before. A very nice gentleman kept a perfectly straight face while he listened to me burble on about my idea for a time travel novel with a geyser as trigger, pointed me to a number of very useful historical sources, then handed me his business card and said to contact him if I needed any further help.
I looked at the business card, and discovered I had just been monopolizing the time of Lee Whittlesey, the park archivist and author of a number of books on Yellowstone history. I swear I will be forever grateful to him for not laughing at me…
Still blushing, I headed for my night’s destination, Gardiner, Montana, where I was supposed to meet with an email pal and a friend of hers from Atlanta, who were on vacation and had just driven down from Glacier National Park that day. Gardiner is where the Roosevelt Arch is:
We did manage to meet up, and have supper, and then my friend got the crazy idea to do Mammoth Hot Springs by moonlight. It was fun, but silly.
The bed and breakfast we stayed at in Gardiner had every room done up in a different theme, and the one we stayed in was the Teddy Roosevelt room. Bears everywhere. The lamps, the wallpaper border, the furniture…