Mueller State Park

20 09 2013

This weekend we’re in sites #37 & #39 at Mueller.  Next time, we’d like to check out sites #122-#124 which appear to be very unique with more privacy and great views to the west.

Site #39

Mueller State Park Site #39

Custer Cove, Lake Glendo State Park

7 09 2013
Two Moon #11

Two Moon #11

We’re camped in sites #10, 11, & 12 at Two Moon campground at Glendo State Park and decided to spend one extra night.  With daytime temps pushing 100, we pack up chairs and beverages and head out in search of shade, a breeze and easy water access.  Last month when we were here we found that Custer Cove was a great place to hang out under the tall cottonwood trees and with sandy beach access.  This time, we also check out some of the campsites.  Several of the Custer Cove campsites have good water views and access to what is today a very long beach (water level is only 25% of normal).  Sites #3 & 4 are nice deep back-in sites with good shade and tent spots.  Site #9 is a long level pull-through, but doesn’t have much shade.  Site #10 is a fairly level back-in site with better shade but does not offer lake views.  Site #7 would also be a good back-in site.

Eagle RV, Thermopolis, WY

5 09 2013

Leaving Grant Village via the Lake area, to Canyon, across to Norris, through Mammoth Hot Spring and exiting the park through the Northeast entrance takes us nearly 3 hours.  We meet one “buffalo jam” around the Tower-Roosevelt area.  A small herd of perhaps 10 adults and 10 young are slowly wandering down the road, literally weaving their way through about  20 stopped vehicles.  Once past this slowdown, we make our way out of the park, through Cooke City and toward Cody.  The Chief Joseph Scenic Highway including Dead Indian Pass is a beautiful and amazing drive.  The highway follows the route taken by Chief Joseph as he led the Nez Perce Indians out of Yellowstone National Park and into Montana in 1877 during their attempt to flee the U.S. Cavalry and escape into Canada.  Unfortunately Dead Indian referrers to their suffering in freezing temperatures without food and blankets as the Cavalry attacked for 5 days until Chef Joseph surrendered, turning over his guns and people.

Tonight we’re parked at the Eagle RV Park just south of Thermopolis, WY.  Full hookups and cable TV (with NBC) was important for tonight’s opening NFL game with the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens.  (final 49-27, Broncos WIN!)  This Good Sam park is set among about 100 tall old trees, nearly all pull-through sites 30/50 amp electric service, water and sewer.  The free Wi-Fi works great. The owners are wonderfully accommodating allowing us to park door-to-door so that we can have a somewhat private, outdoor TV viewing area.  This is an A+ park, we’d stay here again. Tomorrow we’ll have 1 more night on the road, at Glendo State Park, then back home.  It’s been a great trip, Yellowstone is a great vacation – winter or summer!

Yellowstone Geysers & Mudpots

4 09 2013

Today is much more casual than our grand (long) touring day yesterday.  We relax around the campground until about 11AM when we head out to see some of the sights we bypassed.  The first stop is Biscuit Basin with beautiful Sapphire Pool and Mustard Spring.  Then on to Midway Geyser Basin with Excelsior Geyser pouring over 4000 gallons of mineral rich water into the Firehole River each minute and the 121-foot deep Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest in Yellowstone.  Finally, Lower Geyser Basin home to Fountain Paint Pots and Fishhole Lake.  Combined the Lower Geyser Basin pumps over 15,000 gallons per minute into the Firehole River.

With a dry, rain free afternoon (the first since we arrived) we decide to return to Grant Village around 5pm and explore the campground a bit more.  After walking several of the other site loops, it has become apparent that we have the best locations with privacy and lake views.  There are 5 great spots, 305, 301, 299, 297 and 295.  Our site, # 297 gets slightly lowers marks only because of poor drainage that leads to ankle deep puddles and muddy conditions at the camper door.  With less rain, it would be a perfect spot.

Yellowstone Grand Tour

3 09 2013

We’re on the road early today hoping to cover as many miles and see as many sights as possible in a grand loop tour.  We head out through Lake Village and stop at Fishing Bridge to look at the RV campground.  Then it’s up to Canyon Village for stops to see both upper and lower Yellowstone River falls.  We head toward Tower-Roosevelt over Dunraven Pass with a stop at Tower Falls.  We exit the park at Mammoth for a quick drive through Gardiner and to view the Roosevelt gate.  Then back south through Norris and Madison, along the Firehole River and past Old Faithful to Grant Village. It’s been a long day but we’ve managed to see most of the sights on the east side, tomorrow we’ll focus on the Geyser Basins between Old Faithful and Norris.

To Grant Village, Yellowstone

2 09 2013

After a leisurely morning, we’ve packed up and left Flagg Ranch.  It’s only about a 30 minute drive into Yellowstone and to Grant Village RV Campground which will be home-base for the next 3 nights.  By the time we arrive at Grant Village, it’s raining hard and the campsites and roadways are full of water.  We’re in sites I-297 and I-299, tight but beautiful sites with views out over a small inlet on Yellowstone Lake.  Just as in Flagg, the campsites are set in densely forested areas, with barely enough height and width to maneuver RVs.  This is huge campground, around 400 sites organized around several loops.  The only sites that have lakeside access are on the right side of the I loop – we lucked out!

After getting set up, we take the short drive (about 30 minutes) up to Old Faithful just in time for the 3:50 eruption.  Even in the steady falling rain, a fairly large crowd gathers in the area around the famous geyser.    We wander through the Visitor Center, check out the old Yellowstone Inn and then head back to Grant Village.  Tomorrow we’re planning a grand park circuit going all the way to the north entrance at Mammoth.

Flagg Ranch and Jackson Hole

1 09 2013

It was a long day, nearly 6 hours up from Rawlins, but we’ve arrived at the Flagg Ranch RV campground on the shores of the Snake River and just south of Yellowstone National Park. This campground has about 100 RV sites and 75 tent sites. All RV sites offer plenty of dense forest, good privacy with full hookups including water, electricity and sewer. The campground has shower and laundry facilities. The lodge provides a small convenience store, restaurant/bar and a gift shop.  There is no cell service here, but there’s complimentary WiFi at the Lodge.  We found the satellite WiFi to be barely usable and were advised there’s better Wifi at Colter Bay Visitors Center or in Jackson.

The Flagg Ranch area was initially occupied by the Snake River Military, part of the network of US Army posts to patrol and watch over Yellowstone National Park which was originally under military administration. In 1910, Edward Sheffeld established the Flagg Ranch as a dude ranch and exploited hot springs along nearby Polecat Creek for bathing and health effects. In 1972 the areas around the Flagg Ranch were transferred to the National Park Service and taken over by a concessioner. In 2011, the Flagg Ranch Company, an affiliate of Vail Resorts, acquired a 15 year lease to operate all aspects of the ranch.

During a conversation with the restaurant manager we find out that the hot springs of Polecat Creek still exist and are in fact used by employees and guests that want to make about a 30 minute trek through the woods. Sunday morning turns out to be bright and brisk, perfect for a short hike through the woods in search of hot springs. As we get close, the hot water isn’t hard to spot with steam rising out of the creek and alongside ponds. The first, Huckleberry Springs is larger, but sits right over a vent that produces very hot, deep mud. We were warned that the high mud temperatures could be uncomfortable – he was right, unless you’re on the side, or able to balance on a rock, the mud is too warm to stand in. Moving on after several other groups arrive, we find Polecat Springs. Set in an open field right along the Polecat River with beautiful views of the Teton range, this pond is cleaner with a rock bottom and more moderate temperatures.

After returning to camp for a shower and quick breakfast snack, we’re bound for Jackson, WY for lunch and souvenir shopping. It takes about an hour to drive south along Jackson Lake and past the Jackson Hole airport before arriving at the old town section of Jackson. Mostly art galleries and tourist shops, it reminds us a bit of Steamboat Springs. We enjoy lunch on an outdoor patio before locating the Snake River Brewing Company for a few samples of the local brew. Then it’s back to Flagg Ranch, more from there tomorrow…