Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Butte, Montana

Today's drive involved snow. A lot of it. We drove to Yellowstone Park this morning. It was raining when we left Cody, and by the time we arrived at the park entrance, the rain had turned to snow. On the way to Yellowstone, we saw these amazing rock formations, some gray, and some an interesting shade of orange-red. They looked like buildings or giant people. It was crazy.

Once inside Yellowstone, we headed for Old Faithful, the big geyser that supposedly erupts every hour or so. The snow was getting heavier. On our way, we saw several bison, including this one, who was walking down the middle of the road!

Some of the bison we saw were in groups, and we even saw a group with a few baby bison.

Also on the way, we saw a bear. There were a lot of other people trying to photograph him (including several people with big telephoto lenses and tripods). We pulled the car over and walked towards where the other people were, but the ranger told us to go back to our car. I think he was worried that the bear was getting too close.

We finally arrived at Old Faithful, and a really cozy log-cabin lodge. The clock there seemed to say that it would erupt in 15 minutes. We started waiting, looking out the window of the door. It was snowing very hard and it was cold.

Then Jim realized that I had read the clock wrong and that it wasn't going to erupt for another hour. :) I don't think he's going to let me live that down. But we walked around the lodge, bought some tourist stuff (like t-shirts and postcards), and then began waiting again.

Here's me, waiting outside for Old "Faithful":

We waited. And waited. And went inside and waited some more. And it was getting foggier and foggier. And it was snowing harder and harder. And finally, we could not see the geyser at all. It was completely fogged over. It really wasn't far away. Perhaps 100 yards. But we couldn't even see the steam coming out of it. (The geyser always has steam coming out of it, and then scalding hot water shoots out of it every so often). At that point, we gave up and got lunch. We're not sure if it ever did erupt, except that after we finished lunch, no one was waiting out there for it any more. And the lodge clock said that the next eruption would be in 6 hours. So much for eruptions every hour.

We brushed off all the snow - thank goodness Mom thought to leave the snow brush in the trunk. And then off we went. We were going to see the rest of the park, but we couldn't see anything due to the fog and snow. Just a few pine trees along the road. Everything else was covered in fog. We did see one more herd of bisons before we left the park and headed north to Montana (where there was no snow).

We are now in Butte, which is pronounced "Byoot." :) It is an old mining town in the mountains that looks like it has had its booms and busts. There are a lot of beautiful old brick buildings and Victorian architecture, but it seems very deserted. We drove around downtown around 6:30pm and it felt like a ghost town. What do people do here for a living? There's no farming. I don't know if the mines are still operating. I guess there are positions for school teachers and factory workers. But that doesn't make for a good economy.

We had pizza for dinner and we're doing laundry tonight at the hotel. Tomorrow we head to Twisp! We think it's about 7 hours from here, plus we pick up an hour as we go into Pacific time. We should be in Twisp by dinner time tomorrow.

I don't know if we'll have Internet in Twisp. I believe Laurie can access it in one room of her house. So if we can, I'll blog while I'm there. If not, then you'll see me next on Sunday, when we head south.

1 comment:

A Fuss said...

Wow, this post came close to my bedtime! I'm gonna miss your posts this weekend because we're heading to Baltimore without a computer.