08/01/05 to 08/02/05
Monday, 8-1, we headed out to Norris Geyser Basin to look at, that’s right,
more “thermal features.”  Yeah, we took pictures and they were neat and all,
but they’re starting to all look (and SMELL) the same.  However, on the way
there, there were a bunch of cars just pulled over on both sides of the road, so
as we putted by on the motorcycle I asked a guy what everyone was seeing.  
When he said a bear, Richard whipped that motorcycle over and I jumped off
and ran into the woods in hot pursuit of a bear picture.  There was a momma
and a cub black bear.  Here’s the best picture I got.  We were about 75 feet
away.  I would have been closer, but there was a park ranger trying to keep
everyone 100 feet back.  He had to actually physically move a Japanese
tourist who, surprisingly, was so intent on taking a photo that he was not
paying any attention to the park ranger.  
Then, farther on towards Norris, cars were parked all over the place again.  
This time it was for an elk.  
On our way home from Norris, we took a few side loops.  We saw the only
authorized swimming area, in a raging river.  Looks fun, we’ll probably go back
and do that.  We also saw “White Cone Geyser,” one of the most impressive
looking so far.  
On Tuesday, 8-2, we hiked to the natural bridge.  As we drove there,
about the same time of morning as we had driven to the West Thumb
Geyser Basin a few days ago, we saw the same buffalo posing for
pictures while he ruminated by the thermal feature.  I’d call him a ham,
but buffalo are more like cows than pigs.

Then we drove to the Mud Volcano area to see, that’s right, more
“thermal features.”  As we pulled into the parking lot, it started hailing.  
It was beautiful because the sun was shining, and only one dark cloud
above us was dropping hail, so the sun was hitting the hail and looked
like diamonds falling from the sky.  Of course, it doesn’t show up nearly
as beautiful in the picture, but I think you get the idea.
Mud Volcano is one of the more frequented areas, and was jam-packed
with people.  All the “features” were like all the ones we had seen before
except one.  Of course, now we’re not too sure if we remember the
name, but it was Dragon’s Cauldron or something like that.  It’s a cave
with green stuff growing around it, and it “growls” and puffs steam out in
sync with the noise.  It was very easy to imagine that there really was a
dragon inside.  I sat there with the camera ready and said things like,
“here dragon, dragon, dragon.”  You should have seen the eyes of the
kids standing around.  More than once I got a kid to grab his mom and
ask if there was really a dragon in there.  It didn’t do much to thin out the
crowd though.  
When we got back home, Richard was filling up the water tank (STILL no
hook-ups remember) when we were hit by another hailstorm.  I finally gave
in, and turned the heat on.