Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fingering the Fumarole, and other adventures at Yellowstone

Day 2 of the no-shower camping marathon: The obligatory entrance shot at Yellowstone.


You wouldn't believe how many people were in Yellowstone. We could not even find a place to camp. Every campground was "Full" first thing in the morning. I don't understand how that works. At some of them you're supposed to reserve, so much for spur of the moment traveling! But at others they are first-come-first-serve. Naturally, we drove around and found they were all full by 8am. It's like, who do I have to fuck around here to rent a tiny stretch of land?

Finally, we went into Canyon Campground and just as the woman said, "We're Full..." another woman walked in and said, "We're checking out early, give 'em ours." And boom! Done. We wouldn't be sleeping on the side of the road.
Old Faithful. We stayed back from the tourists, not the gushing geyser.
CoolDan called them "Geezers", and who could bear to correct his cute little Lebanese take on the language? Not me! If you read National Geographic, you know that Yellowstone is one big supervolcano waiting to happen (again). It blew at least 3 times in the history of the world and each time changed the landscape of the entire earth and its atmosphere. Which kind of makes you not too concerned, ultimately, about human emissions.

Everywhere the earth bubbles, boils and steams.
An elk-ess?
A flyer handed out at the entrance warns: "Each year tourists are gored by Bison." This doesn't stop my best friend from egging me on.
"Closer, Jesse. It's practically asleep..."
Natural steam baths for the bison! The earth at several places is weak, as if you could fall into this steaming mess---and that sulpher stench! Not that we smelled any better.
Cooldan and Jesse above a big boiling hot broth in the cauldron.
Fingering the Fumarole. Totally against the rules, but c'mon...wouldn't you?
Dan thought maybe if we peed into one, they might explode. (They didn't). He also took off his socks and "washed" them in another big fumarole, which meant he did the rest of this hike sans socks. That kid will do anything for a good photo opportunity! (Pics on his camera).

We endured heat and a shocking bout of HAIL, until we came around Ribbon Lake and were surprised to find the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone right before our eyes. Wow!! We were only surprised to find the canyon there because we didn't have a map. The few other hikers we saw on this 7 miler had maps--and water, walking sticks, rain gear, and packs. We had no provisions at all, but we were dressed rather fashionably.

Here's a video that gives a bit of an idea of where we landed. It looks more yellow in person! Press Play!




I refuse to do death-defying poses if you can't tell I'm on the lip of a 100000 foot cliff!
Cooldan on his stomach. For once.

Yellowstone Falls. We took so many photos, BOTH of our cameras ran out of batteries!

By the 3rd or 4th night, we decided that going to bed at 9pm in a tent was really overrated, so we decided to leave the tent and traipse into Cody, Wyoming, to see if we could find the only gay in the village.
It's a lot further to Cody than it looked. We headed down a twisting Mountain Pass...
When we arrived in Cody, way past 9pm, Cooldan got out to take a shot of the sign "Welcome to CODY" when he gets back in the car and says, "I think I hear an outdoor....PLAY". What? I turn off the engine and listen. A play? It's a RODEO!!

We screech into the stadium and catch the last couple of bucking broncos. "I'd name this bull HILLARY CLINTON," says an announcer. "That'd scare me!" Ha! Cooldan had never been to a rodeo and what more perfect intro to Cody, Wyoming?

The announcers were a riot. "So my wife just turned 40," one tells the other. "Oh yeah?" "Yeah," he says. "So I traded her in for two 20's." "So how's that going for you?" "Not so well. I'm not wired for 220's." How's that for culture? An electrical joke!

After that we hit the Silver Dollar Bar. It was hopping on a Saturday night! After 4 days of not showering--we smelled great!--when Cooldan thought he spotted the only gay in the village. "Look at his shoes!?" They were some snazzy loafers, but after watching him for a while we decided he wasn't gay -- just uptight.

At that point we headed to the Hotel Irma. It's western-chic, and has a ton of history. I'd love to stay there one day. Inside, we met this cowboy at the bar who took us through the dining room (it was closed) and showed us a gorgeous Cherrywood bar. "Queen Victoria gave that as a gift," he told us. "Queen Victoria was here?" I ask and he says no. She sent it as a gift after HE did some show for her.

When you're in Cody, you know who HE is. "Buffalo Bill?" I ask and cowboy nods. Then he takes us into a room with a bunch of moose heads on the wall and over to a giant chimney and says, "If you can find the gold star in this chimney, I'll buy you both a drink." Cut to Cooldan and I practically scaling the outside of the chimney, scurrying inside of it, in a desperate drunken search for a gold star!

The cowboy is saying "hot" "cold. Colder. Really cold." Until finally, he grows weary and says, "I'm staring at it right now." Oh, there it is! We didn't hold him to the drinks.

The Irma Hotel

We saw no gay in the village, and we later learned that Wyoming (despite the whole Matthew Shepard Laramie thing) is the only state in the union without a gay bar! Shocking! And more shocking? We realized, at about 1 am, that in order to get back to our tent we still had to drive two hours back up a mountain pass and far into Yellowstone.

We are really sad not to stay in Cody, because on the way out of the Irma we come to a retail window and face to face with a pair of Hello Kitty cowboy boots. We briefly discuss busting the window to get at these beauties:

The stitching says, "Smoking Pussy"!!!

We managed to make it back through the tent, without killing one red fox ("that's the second most valuable fox fur," says Cooldan--implying I should aim for it? ) and one big buffalo which stood in the middle of the road. We've both decided we must return to Wyoming to:
a) open a gay bar.
b) get our hands on those gorgeous boots!
and
c) chisel that gold star out of the chimney.

1 comment:

Don said...

OK, tell me when to be there and at what trail head and I will be on my way - must get those boots at all costs!! Sounds like a great time but then you always crate your own fun and sparkle. Never change!!

Hugs,
Don