Sunrise in Big Sky Country26 Aug 2009, by Uncategorized in
There was a twilight zone moment early this morning when we stopped at the 3rd identical Montana rest stop after several hundred miles of identical stretches of road, when I wondered if we were actually making progress, or just rolling along a treadmill in the same place all night. I started wondering if I wasn’t dreaming, and maybe needed another cat nap. But it turns out working late the past several months has been good for something other than my career. I’ve grown accustomed to, if not lack of sleep, then at the very least a time shifted internal clock. Between the few hours of sleep I grabbed while Kim was driving to Spokane and the 5 hour energy shot that was just starting to wear off, I knew I definitely was not dreaming… which made the sameness of each rest stop bathroom that much creepier. So it was very thankfully that I watched the sun rise in front of me just before we turned south to head towards Yellowstone, marking the passage of actual time.
We stopped in the little town of Ennis for breakfast and were welcomed into the Yesterday Cafe by the waitress who called us darling and honey. These weren’t just colloquial greetings… they were punctuation. She ended *every* phrase like that. I’m not exagerating. Kim thought it was endearing, but I thought it sounded a little forced. We couldn’t decide if it was 6:30 or 7:30 since we didn’t know when or if we’d crossed into mountain time yet, but we decided we must have andupdated our clocks. Breakfast went down fast and we were back on the road.
Even with allies slightly congesting my nose I could smell the sulphur shortly after we entered the park, and then we could see the steam rising up in front of us. Bright blue pools of water with greenish yellow rims were bubbling with steam and mud pots churned a light gray batter. The trees near these sulphuric pools were stripped bare and dead, frozen in time with gnarled limbs like the victims of a disaster. We left them in peace and moved on to Old Faithful Geyser. Luck was on our side, and the geyser blew about a minute after we got there, erupting maybe 80-100 feet in the air a blast of water and steam. The weather was also on our side as the day turned out to be absolutely beautiful. Everywhere we went was picture perfect, especially Hayden Vally which was filled with grazing bison. Deer and Elk also came out for us throughout the day as we worked our way up past the lake to Canyon Village and Mammoth Hot springs. Mammoth was surprisingly dry, and most of the hot springs were empty, so we ate dinner and returned to the Canyon Village area to see the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and it’s huge waterfall at sunset. Not bad considering we left Seattle just about 24 hours earlier. We are definitely ready to head to bed early and get a full night’s sleep before embarking on another full day of driving tomorrow.
Click on thumbnails to see larger photo: