The Upper Loop ...and still no bear!

Trip Start Sep 18, 2010
Trip End Oct 15, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Wyoming
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Up early and off we went for a drive around the upper loop of the
park.  This was a nice trip to Mammoth Springs (we went around
clockwise.)   The roads are much narrower in the upper loop and a LOT
of concentration is needed when traveling in a big thing like our RV. 

Once again lots of beautiful scenery and we saw a grey wolf,
bison walking along the edge of the road and in the fields and some elk.

Mammoth Springs was such a beautiful town.   It was an old army barracks and
has a lovely area near it called the Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces.  A
lovely boardwalk travels around these and white rock layers where the
mineral deposits have been left make interesting formations. 

I purchased my first American Hamburger in the diner and it was great! 
They sure can make burgers here if that was anything to go by.  We also
purchased our Yellowstone Junior Ranger booklets here and the girls
started to complete these.

They have signs all through the town to watch for Elk and as it is the rutting season, the males can be very aggressive in the fall.  We didn't see any until we were walking next
to the beautiful homes (with American flags flying on all verandas)
when a ranger indicated to us to move to the other side of the road. 
At first we thought it was because we were too close to these homes,
but when we crossed to the other side of the street we could see that
lying on the lush grass, hidden between the walls of the homes where a
herd of elk (and there was a big male there too!)  We didn’t expect
this at all and would have walked right next to them

Lunch and exploring done, we continued around the upper loop and although
beautiful scenery surrounded us ...let me say these roads made this
trip a stressful experience.  Darren had to concentrate so much and
could only really enjoy the area at stops.  There would have been
almost as many turns as the Yosemite trip, and the roads were equally
narrow.  He often had the wheels of the RV on my white line...and there
was no shoulder margin to move on when other big vehicles came in the
other direction....oh and then there was the cliff edge to deal with. 
We have definitely learnt to pull in the driver’s side mirror on these
sections of road as I’m sure he would have lost it again today.   He
laughs at me and told the girls that he does this for fun!  NOT.  There
were quite a few occasions where I closed my eyes so as not to make
noises or flap my arms and annoy my driver.  Emily laughed that there
were times that I was leaning so far to Darren’s side, willing the car
over by sheer might.  Now I am sure this helped us!!

Canyon Village was still open for a few more days (a lot of things close here
the beginning of October so be careful when coming) and this is where
we purchased a few groceries.  Darren bought himself a really good pair
of Nikon binoculars and even in a tourist location these were at least
a quarter the price of what we pay in Australia.  Another example of
this was souvenier t-shirts.  We purchased some for the girls at only $10 here!  If
prices are so good in tourist destinations, I can only imagine what
they would be like elsewhere!

It was another night of simple dinner out of a tin and then marshmallows over the fireplace.  At 8pm we had rugged ourselves up like Eskimos and we walked to the campgrounds
amphitheater for the nights Ranger talk.  This was a good talk on 'Winter in Yellowstone’ and once again he told us that we had been blessed with this weather.  He showed us statistics of the weather and how in the snow season the average daytime weather here is MINUS 30C
degrees.  It would have been beautiful to see a day of snow but it also would have made seeing what we have (and driving) not as pleasant.  It already can take us long enough to get out of the car...though we are getting this down to a fine art now.  The large night screen flicked
through lots of native animals and how they survive and adapt to the
environment.  It was interesting to all and when it ended we managed to find our way
back to the RV in one piece.  I highly recommend the head torches that
you can strap on.  At one stage we all turned off our torches and it
was so black that we never would have found our way back without them. 
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