Home > Uncategorized > Falling through the earth

Falling through the earth

August 1. I waken this morning before dawn to the sound of rain pattering on the roof and a chilly 50 degrees. Too sweet the warmth of my bed, I semi-doze until 8:00 o’clock. What was I going to do today? Oh, yes! Hike to Fairy Falls and Imperial Geyser. Well, the rain will postpone that because I don’t have adequate foul weather gear. I’ll have to look into that.

Instead, I decide to drive to West Yellowstone, MT, a small town just outside the western boundary of the park about 16 miles from camp. I top off the truck with fuel, then walk up and down the main street of shops, which sports a covered sidewalk—fortunate, considering the weather. I find that the local McDonald’s has free wifi, which I use to post the past 3-4 days of blogs and check my email.

By the way…I appreciate those of you who read this stuff (some of whom I find, to my surprise, I’ve never met.) The truth is it’s only partially a travelogue; the rest is a glimpse of an internal journey.

Mama elk and baby

On my way back from town, the skies brighten and the rain slows to a few sparse drops. I spot an elk cow with her baby across the river that runs beside the road and stop to take a few pictures of them grazing, oblivious, or at least unconcerned by my presence.

Following an impulse, I decide to take a detour to Norris Geyser Basin, which contains a variety of geological freaks in its many acres. I hit the boardwalk and begin the tour, taking two or three pictures before the camera battery dies. My backup battery is in the trailer so I take the short route through the basin, with the intent to return.

I should point out that my fears as a child of falling through the earth were actually quite rational. I read a sign that says a dozen tourists have done just that and been scalded to death. Hundreds of others have been badly burned over the years. If you have a wardrobe malfunction and part of your clothing blows away from the boardwalk, you are not to fetch it. You are to call a ranger. The ranger will assess the risk of retrieving it. That explains the number of hats, scarves, gloves, etc. that I’ve seen laying twenty or a hundred feet off the trail. Serious business.

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