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July 17, 2006


I woke up this morning and packed up camp, planning to drive to the other end of Glacier (West Glacier) and head out that way. I did so, and got to see some nice sights I hadn't seen yesterday along the way. Glacier National Park is a very nice park. It has waterfalls, mountains, gorgeous lakes, great hikes, pretty much everything you'd want at a national park :-).


Anyway, once I finished my drive through Glacier I turned south, heading to Yellowstone National Park, another area rich in volcanic activity. It took me the remainder of the day to get there, and as I arrived it was twilight. I asked the ranger at the entry station about camping and he strongly advised against trying to find any in the park. Thus as I have done many times in the past, I backtracked about 3 miles to the National Forest and setup camp there. I should mention that I passed through the Gallatin Mountains along my way to Yellowstone, another beautiful mountain range. It was nice too, since I had left the Rockies and was getting tired of the rolling hills already.

That also reminds me that on my way to Yellowstone I passed through the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. That was neat as well - I even stopped to have lunch there.

Camp setup, dinner eaten, I went to sleep knowing tomorrow would be a long day.

July 18, 2006


Today wasn't as long of a day as it could have been, but it was still great. I packed up camp and drove the 3 miles into West Yellowstone where I had breakfast. Following that it was off to see Yellowstone. I decided to try and traverse the entire figure 8 road that covers the central part of the park, and almost accomplished that. I failed to traverse the final southeast quadrant.


I started out heading north and visited an interesting geyser basin and some paintpots. I continued north and saw the Mammoth Hot Springs after which I headed east where I saw a petrified tree and some waterfalls. Making my way again south I drove down to the Lower Geyser Basin where I saw the remains of an old geyser that had basically exploded. Finally I made my way to Old Faithful, where after sitting for a while in anticipation I saw the most impressive thing that I had seen all day - A huge geyser eruption. It's also worth noting that throughout Yellowstone there are small, beautiful blue ponds of water. Water that looks as though it may have come from a glacier. This is not the case. The blue actually comes from bacteria, something I found interesting. A lot of the orange stringy stuff is in fact bacteria colonies as well. Other colors are due to iron, sulfur, and other elements/minerals naturally occurring in the area.


After Old Faithful I ate dinner and decided that I was pretty tired. So, instead of doing the final leg of my trip through Yellowstone (which passed by a Mud Volcano, something I'm kind of disappointed to have missed), I instead resumed heading south and entered Grand Teton National Park. I plan to explore Grand Teton a little in the morning before heading off to Devil's Tower.

That brings me here, at my campsite typing on my laptop once again. And on that note, I think I'll pack everything up and go to sleep. It's only 9pm, so I'm going to bed early for a change. Good night!

July 19, 2006


As an aside, before I begin talking about today, I did drive by Big Sky, MT when I went to Yellowstone. It was interesting seeing it in the distance without snow. I'm pretty sure I recognized Lone Peak with the tram on top. Good memories from skiing, there.

So today I woke up relatively early and decided that I didn't feel like spending too much time at Grand Teton (especially since I had a long haul to Devil's Tower). So, I drove the "loop" that goes around the park, admiring the beautiful mountain range, and then began my journey to Devil's Tower.

I made it quite a ways into Wyoming and then got pulled over by a police officer. Fantastic, I thought to myself as I waited for the ticket. I was going around 75 when he got me, and the speed limit was 65. He clocked me at 74. After running my license he returned, gave it back, and said "slow down a little bit, and have a good trip." And that was it. No ticket, not even a written warning. I thanked him profusely and continued on my way, about 5mph slower.


I finally made it to Devil's Tower. About 30 miles before the monument I stopped at a nice restaurant and had some Wyoming steak after which I made my way to Devil's Tower proper. It was fairly late, though the sun was still up, so I pitched my tent and went to sleep. The tower, close in the distance, was amazing as the sun set. Before I went to bed on my way to the bathroom I saw a rather large snake in the middle of the road - later identified as a probable Bow Snake (possibly misspelled). They're similar in appearance to rattlesnakes, but without the rattle and poison.

July 20, 2006


Today was another interesting day. I woke up and walked the 1 mile trail around the base of the monument (the only trail open - everything else was closed due to the extreme fire danger). The monument is amazing - yet another product of volcanic activity. As I read about the monument it became apparent that it was a great thing to climb. I pondered doing it (without the safety ropes) but a storm was brewing and I figured climbing wet rocks would be difficult if not deadly. Maybe some other time, maybe even with the proper gear.


My time at Devil's Tower at an end I continued on to Jewel Cave National Monument. It was an interesting cave covered in calcite crystals. Many of them had a manganese oxide coating though, so they weren't as brilliant as they could have been. Nevertheless it was a fun and interesting experience. It was also nice to be underground, since intermittent rain was happening outside.


Once I finished with Jewel Cave I headed over to Wind Cave National Park, yet another cave in the area. This one was also unique with respect to the other caves that I've seen. It has an extensive amount of boxwork throughout the cave. In fact, it has over 90% of all known boxwork in the world. It was really cool and really interesting. The ranger that led the tour did an outstanding job as well.

That tour over, I decided since it had stopped raining to try and make it to Badlands National Park. I failed. Once I made my way past Custer it began raining again, and I decided I'd had enough of that. So I turned back to Custer where I now sit updating my journal and stuff in a Subway. Shortly I plan to head out to the National Forest and pitch my tent.

That's about it for now. It's almost over, and though I have enjoyed this adventure immensely I do miss my family, my girlfriend, and my friends. I look forward to seeing you all soon!