After yesterday’s long, long drive, today appeared shorter but given the very different scenarios along the route, it was like driving through different countries. We started off in brilliant sunshine with temperatures in the 20s but 50 miles or so along the way, a peculiar haze covered the sun and the temperature began to fall. We were once again in agricultural country but mainly arable. A further 50 miles and we appeared to be driving through a very flat, very wide basin with mountains all around, albeit some considerable distance away. Was that cloud on the tops of one part of the range or was it snow? That particular example was cloud but we did see bits of the white stuff amidst the crags. The temperature was now only 10 degrees and falling.
The sky had darkened a bit more, although there were no rainclouds, just a rather dark and ominous haze. Pollution? Certainly the last time I saw this sort of thing was in China, but although agriculture had given way to mining, there appeared to be no major industry. It felt as though we were at altitude (blocked ears), but suddenly we were climbing fast and encountered a sign telling us we were crossing the Continental Divide. Having looked it up since, we discover this is about 8,000 ft in Montana. Strangely, the temperature also began to climb, the sun broke through and we switched from the car heater back to air conditioning. We followed a river for miles. Sometimes it meandered gently and people fished, but sometimes it was much more aggressive as it swept over boulders.
Finally we arrived. Yellowstone Park beckoned us in and we duly paid for a 7 day pass for the princely sum of $35. Bargain – even if we only have 2 days. So on we went, encountering a pair of elks in the rutting season. The bull wasn’t having the cow stray anywhere he couldn’t see her and the rangers were doing their best to keep people away from them! We moved on to Mammoth Springs to marvel at the hot springs and the burbling pools, the salt formations and the permanent smell of rotten eggs. Let the photographs provide a sample of the majesty here and we will crack on with our exploring tomorrow.
Carolyn’s Curios & Curiosities
Ok, so I don’t have high culture. As a teenager, instead of reading books and listening to Classical Music, I played in a rock band, endlessly repeated pop 45s (and 78s!) on my Dansette record player and… watched cartoons on TV! And here, dear reader, is where this story begins.
A long time ago, when summers were always sunny, my interest in nature – especially mountainous forests – began. At first, I thought that the place I was watching was referred to by its correct name but, as I grew older and wiser, I understood the error of my ways.
It was really called Yellowstone National Park and… here I am. We’ve seen real elks, stuffed eagles and beavers, mountain lions and coyotes, both post-taxidermy, but not my childhood idol.
Where is Yogi?!
Yogi Bear, created and anthropomorphised by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, was a smart-mouthed, lovable rogue who stole picnic baskets from tourists in the humorously named ‘Jellystone National Park’. The creators of Yogi Bear fought a law suit from famous baseball player, Yogi Berra, that my Yogi wasn’t named after him. I suspect Yellowstone/Jellystone didn’t have a connection either!!!
Anyway, back to the story…
Yogi was always playful and had a friend, Boo-Boo, who tried to keep Yogi on the straight and narrow. Albeit, without success.
The Park was patrolled, then and now, by Rangers and, of course, Ranger Smith (referred to by Yogi as ‘Mr Ranger, Sir’) chased after Yogi trying to protect the visitors from the ‘wild’ animals who may steal their “Pic-a-nic” baskets.
I liked Yogi. Self-deprecating, he wasn’t. His catchphrase still reverberates round my memory recalls… “Smarter than the av-er-age bear, Boo-Boo”.
No, not that I ‘liked’ Yogi (past tense); I still like Yogi!
Smart-mouthed? Lovable? Fun loving? What’s not to like?!
However, we’re not in Jellystone; we’re in Yellowstone. No Yogi or Boo-Boo or ‘Mr Ranger, Sir’; we’ve not even seen any pic-a-nic baskets but we have seen some incredible sights with more to see tomorrow.
(But, I would like to see Yogi! I miss him. CTMQ.)
LATE NEWS: I found Jellystone Park but I think its not the real one! Seriously! Its address is 9900 Jellystone Avenue, Missoula, MT 598086
“Smarter than the av-er-age bear!”