August 31, 2001

8/31/01 Canyon campground

24.5 / 6969 miles

A little warmer this morning, but not by much. Said my good-byes to Kris and Didier who are taking a short day to Grants Village.

One thing that Didier said last night still amazes me. He said that Yellowstone, the whole park is larger than his home country of Belgium. (actually Belgium = 30,510 sq km is about three times as large as Yellowstone = 8,987 sq km) We, Americans, are very lucky. I had planned a short day myself so I'd have more time to explore.

Yellowstone Lake

I know this is going to sound strange but I'm getting kind of tired of buffalo. They seem to be everywhere now that it's cooling off. Near Mud Volcano, I had to use a car to block my from a herd grazing at the road edge. Later I got to see just how fast they can move when several charged across the trail in front of me.

One of the more interesting features to me in the Mud Volcano area was Dragon's Mouth Spring. Also known as 'The Belcher', it makes a deep rhythmic bass rumbling as it shoots out water.

'The Belcher'

You meet some of the nicest people waiting in line for the bathroom . Dena and Darien asked about my trip, so I asked them about their trip in Yellowstone. "We're getting married tomorrow at the Madison amphitheater," they said, "and the reception is at the Old Faithful Lodge." Darien used to be ranger here in the park. They both now live in Portland, OR, he with a law firm and Dena works at the university. When I told them about the other stuff on my website like my summer in Kenya, their faces lit up. "We're going to Tanzania and Zimbabwe for our honeymoon." I think these two are kindred spirits. And they said I was invited to the wedding if I was headed that way.

Darien & Dena

As I got back out on the road, the clouds kept moving in. The Yellowstone River valley really spread out as I went. Saw more buffalo herds out on the plain. And I saw two more cyclists. Peter and Debbie Gosselink are from Holland. They started in Seattle, went north to Alaska, then turned around to go south through Canada and the US. They hope to get all the way to Costa Rica. Out here on a road with no shoulder, it's very hard to talk. Sometimes I wish I had a lot more time to really get to know these other 'wanderers'.

Debbie & Peter

It started to rain as we said our good-byes. You can tell this road is older because the shoulder is almost non-existent. There is a lot less RV traffic this time of summer but it still makes me nervous with cars whizzing by too fast.

When I reached the "Grand Canyon of Yellowstone", my first top was Artist Point. The rain had stopped and I wanted to take advantage of that to see one of the most photographed views in the entire park. Even with a cloudy sky, it was spectacular.


As the sun keep trying to pop out from behind the clouds, I tried to ride to all the other viewpoints on both sides of the canyon. I read once that no one was sure why they named the area Yellowstone. One look at the yellow, gold and white canyon walls might be a good guess. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny so I plan to be at Red Rock Point to catch a glimpse of the Lower Falls in the morning sunlight.

Thunderclouds chased me back to camp where I started to get wet. But it didn't last long. That was how it was all day, a few drops then it would stop for a while. But it was never far away. There is one other traveler here at the hiker/biker site, Bealt from Switzerland. He is going around the world but by car, boat or bike, whichever seems the best at the time. He was pretty critical of Americans and their huge consumption of natural resources and then refusing to help clean up the air. I hope he gets a chance to see the other side of America - the friendly, kind people in small town USA.