Thursday, August 26, 2010

Aug 25, Wed - more Yellowstone, part 1

Randy had an early morning walk by the river, and thought he saw a moose through the haze. There was a car on the road above, that driver also stopped and took a look. Randy later went back with Bret, but didn't see anything. As we left the Flagg Ranch area, we all drove by that area again. We saw a pair of deer, but no moose.

Remember the grizzly by the elk yesterday? Apparently they were both still there. The road in was a difficult drive – impacted with cars and slow traffic. There was a ranger out there yelling at people to get back in their cars and to keep moving. Slowly we inched through the area. Then we noticed people looking uphill and pointing. Another bear was coming down! It crossed in front of us, then continued down the other side toward the river and the elk carcass. Wow, two bears on this trip!

Today was the big dedication of the new Visitor Center in the Old Faithful area. We didn't want to be in the mess, so we drove right through and went to the Firehole River – Midway Geyser Basin area. Bryn and Bret saw A-0 Geyser go off. According to Randy's geyser book, that's a rare one. We liked Gemini, a pair of small geysers that go off in tandem. Most impressive was Great Fountain Geyser. It was due to go off between 12:25 – 4:25, so we decided to gamble and come back later. Bret really liked the White Dome Geyser in this area. It is very old and quite tall, like a white pyramid. The opening is very small, so it shoots a thin stream high upward - see above. Firehole Lake and next-door Black Warrior Lake were beautiful, so many colors due to various bacterial mats and minerals. The photo of the 4 of us above was taken by these lakes.

We returned to the Madison Junior Ranger Education Station for our picnic lunch. We did see a really fat squirrel here, but we didn't feed it. However, the wind knocked Randy's plate over, so there were probably some tiny chips left in the dirt. We tried hard to pick all of them up.

Next, we went to the Jr Ranger Ed Station. The same ranger was there, so the boys were awarded their Scouts and Rangers badge. This is what it consists of: over 10 hours spent with rangers!

A boy scout needs to have at least 10 hours spent with a ranger – as talks or hikes, or as other programs such as volunteer projects. We have a log book in the car that we took on our big road trip last year, so we took it out. We had a list of the junior ranger badges they earned in 2009, and approximate dates because we also had our mileage log that recorded the city and date when we bought gas. After dinner last night, we sat down and reminisced about all of last year's national park visits, which ones had ranger programs, what they were about, and how much time they took. Almost 10 hours. Then we added two projects that the boys did this year. Each had a school field trip to Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Bret planted trees, and Reed did air quality and weather projects in the Parks as Laboratories program. That took them well over 10 hours each!

The ranger was from Ohio, and was the mom of an Eagle Scout. She chatted a bit about Hopewell Mounds and Dayton Aviation, two of the badges that the boys earned last year. This is a great new award available to scouts, so Reed's troop and Bret's pack will both be hearing about it when we start back in September.

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