Saturday, January 23, 2016

Snowmobiling Yellowstone, 2003

So we're parked, alone, in the Morrell Creek parking lot, near Seeley Lake, MT, waiting for it to warm up a bit. Having gotten everything affixed and adjusted Wednesday, we drove up here Thursday morning, parked, and went for a 20-25 mile shake-down snowmobile cruise. Alles in ordnung. The weather is relatively balmy for here, in the high 30s Thursday, and similar forecasted for today. Unlike our last visit to Seeley-Swan, in 2015, there's plenty of snow, and last night the groomer passed us on the way to doing the east side trails. Often this parking lot is loaded with mushers, but there are neither dogs nor sleds in sight. Which is a good thing.

Anyhow, in the interim last weekend, I was digitizing some new-found prints, and came across a set from 2003, when we'd first bought the Blue Wanderer (our snowmobile), and were riding in Yellowstone. In those days, you could just drive your machine into the park, pay the admission, stay on the roads, abide by the 35 mph limit, and enjoy one of the world's ultimate winter-lands. Oh yes, you could also poison the atmosphere and terrify the residents with your 120 decibel smoke- and fuel-spewing two-stroke. Ours was, and is, a four-stroke, 72 dB. But I digress. We visited Yellowstone a few more times in the early 00s, but, since the Park now requires "current technology," it's unlikely we'll be going back on our own any time soon. It was fun to look at these pix again, a decade or more later, and I thought I'd share them as a prelude to this season's snow-trekking campaign.
Bison, thermal basins, and geysers

Cow elk, pretty much oblivious to human presence after 140
years of protected status

Old Faithful

Also relatively oblivious, but don't push your luck

Me, before Old Faithful Inn (is that trade-marked?!); it was on
this trip, incidentally, that we learned (and later witnessed) that
Yellowstone ravens can open zippers and untie simple knots
("Spies of Saruman!"); historical note: I wore that same hat
yesterday and am wearing it now; is this a sign of aging?

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone,
Yellowstone Falls

Vicki in geyser-land; still have that red
parka, too...

Moi, ditto

Yellowstone in the winter is compelling for a variety of reasons,
but nothing tops having a herd of bison saunter past you

The bison use the roads to move from site to site (hey, they're
groomed); the protocol, if you encounter such a thing, is to stop,
turn off your motor, stay on your snowmobile, and keep calm;
apparently (the rangers say), if you stay on your machine, the
bison think you're just part of the machine, and they do not feel


They do tend to herd their young away from the machines

On several occasions they'd pass so close as to actually brush up
against you

Frozen lake and distant mountains

Winter wonderland; a special place among all the most special


Tawana said...

Glad you are back and all is well with the RV.

Mark said...

Actually it was just a propane bottle lock-out. Let them get too empty. Live and occasionally learn...