In the morning, I drove through the tunnel, past Mummy Cave, and the BB Dam again. About the time I stopped to pay my entrance fee to Yellowstone Park, I was struck by a blaze — the blinding kind you get before a migraine, if you’re subject to auras.
At home my remedy would have been to boil water, brew green tea with half a capsule of feverfew, and hit a dark room with an eye mask. On a 2-lane winding highway, I popped a cola for caffeine and downed Excedrin, and took a time out at a pull-out. Then I spent more time at the ranger station/stuffed animal museum. In the shade.
There were 5 fires burning in Yellowstone Park at the time, a few pull-outs were closed, but no roads closed that day. I remembered the summer of 1988 and the massive fires in Yellowstone. We could smell the smoke all the way over in Minnesota.
So far, going solo hadn’t been a problem (except for getting creeped out by a guy in a van who asked me where I was from. He had just been staring at my license plate, so I thought it was not a real question. This happened back at the Oregon Trail ruts and Register Cliff where we seemed to be the only tourists out in the 105 degree weather. Not a good sign. Maybe it was nothing, but I didn’t like being followed.)
Another reason I’m going to bring Mr. W next time came about at Isa Lake.
I really wanted to wade into the lily pads to see what was at the end of an under-water marker, but a couple (searchers??) from Salt Lake City was kinda killin’ time, like they were waiting for me to leave.
I don’t think I screamed.
From there, not far but too far to walk, I arrived at Old Faithful at the perfect time. People were streaming towards it so I parked and joined them. Another geyser was putting on a show at the same time. Serendipity strikes again.
And then, something else. Remember I left home without a GPS? The only place I might have needed it this trip was in the parking lot at Old Faithful Lodge and Visitor Center. It’s changed in the last 15 years apparently. The other thing about migraines is the mental shadow they leave you with. It took me an extra 15 minutes (or so) to find my car, and then I scared a poor family picnicking next to it when the alarm went off.
And then, of course, the much touted Madison River, which had lots of giant boulders lying around.
I tarried as much as I wanted that day. I had a reservation for that night in West Yellowstone, so no need to hurry. Just tried to absorb the beauty and if a potential solution to one of the TTOTC 9 clues presented itself, all the better.
No treasure yet, but so far, so good. Any day that doesn’t involve a trip to the hospital is a big plus.
- 25 years after 1988, Yellowstone reflects change wrought by fire (ravallirepublic.com)
- August pushes Yellowstone visitation over 2.5 million (billingsgazette.com)