Do It Yourself Yellowstone

BETTER THAN A COMMERCIAL TOUR

virtual.jpgIf you are serious about your visit to Yellowstone: plan a little. Remember, the pap and pablum served by the commercial tours is designed to keep you entertained and generate gratuities.

Jokes, ribald tales, personal anecdotes, current social commentary, and other ploys are used to entertain. Some of the guides are very good at this, and it is entertaining. But, it’s like watching Jay Leno to get accurate world news – hardly substantial.

Should you choose to enjoy Yellowstone in any depth, a little time at your computer will yield enormous rewards. I took mom for a ride through the park the last few days. After day one she wanted to know about things that I wasn’t familiar with. Together we perused the available offerings on the web, and found what we wanted: quickly.

Of course the Yellowstone National Park web site was useful but hard to navigate. There are, however, three commercial web sites that are full of information and much more visitor friendly. And if it’s geysers you want visit GOSA.

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webby-0.gifThe WEBBY winner YellowstonePark.com is a magnificent site. It has a personal trip planner that you can build and then print or download. It has pod-casts that you can carry with you. It has videos of some attractions, and it is a very complete, (though highly commercial,) compendium of tourist attractions in and near to Yellowstone National Park. The navigation is logical and easy and it invites just one more click.

Yellowstonenationalpark.com is a site with similar attractions and includes some driving tours that summarize each road segment in the park. It is a bit more verbose, but no less informative than the Webby winner.

ttl-yel-scrnsht.gifThe Total Yellowstone Page, is a navigation nightmare. It’s a hodgepodge of information that seems to have grow’d just like Topsey. There is good information here, just spend the time and clicks to ferret it out. Thank God for Firefox.

All three sites have excellent fishing sections and I, (just like a girl,) believe everything that they say: contradictory though they may be.

These three will get you started on a visit that will be informative as well as entertaining. The visitor centers in the park are useful but seem more like “eye candy” than learning centers. They are understaffed and there is no way that the seasonal rangers have the answers to the questions that you will ask – after all, they just got there themselves.

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The Yellowstone fishing season opens in the park on Memorial Day Weekend. I’m going to join the rush to the Firehole. The fishing regulations for the park can be viewed HERE (PDF). There is a new section entitled “Yellowstone Fish Reports” that includes some recent investigative reports. One of the reports, “Effects of Snowmobile Emissions on the Chemistry of Snowmelt Runoff in YNP” is an attempt to describe the effects of accumulated emission products in the snow and the ‘toxic shock’ to fluvial systems. The separation methods are a bit sketchy, and attribution to only snowmobiles is a little stretchy; still fishermen should be more concerned than they are.

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On a similar note: the Billings Gazette has a tally of the ridiculous gyrations Yellowstone has gone through with the “snowmobile issue.” The cost is up to $10,000,000 and climbing.

I still think that plowing of the roads is the only rational solution. Rationality, (not being in the vocabulary of the YNP planners,) will come about in the next 10 years through more law suits and the effects of global warming. Oh, well!

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And, don’t worry about the cost to visit Yellowstone National Park. According to John Krist it’s only “89 cents per person, per day.” At that rate the parks should raise their fees 1,000-fold: such a deal! After all, plumbing that works would be a novel concept.

Click over to Park Remark & the comments for a less rosy and more realistic view of park fees and service. At 89 cents we’re probably still paying too much.

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Static & Iconic Yellowstone

LETS FREEZE TIME
AND
‘OLD FAITHFUL’ WHILE WE’RE AT IT !

A delightful little post in National Parks Traveler gives, (at least me,) insight into the enduring values of some key players in the Grizzly Bear delisting drama.

Deputy Interior Secretary Lynn Scarlet is quoted as saying:

“The grizzly’s remarkable comeback is the result of years of intensive cooperative recovery efforts between federal and state agencies, conservation groups, and individuals. There is simply no way to overstate what an amazing accomplishment this is.”

On the other hand, Louisa Willcox, who directs the NRDC‘s Wild Bears Project, is quoted as saying:

“Grizzlies are part of the natural heritage that is shared by all Americans. Yellowstone and its wildlife have a special place in our history and in the hearts and minds of millions of people. If the grizzlies die out, it would be like Old Faithful running dry. Healthy bear populations mean that the land is healthy. It means that remaining pieces of wilderness will be here for our children and our grandchildren.”

Now there’s a pair to draw to. I prefer a more realistic view of our universe and the small bits of it that we call “National Parks.” It is certainly good to try and maintain a diversity of species. And my values suggest that a grizzly is a very important thing to try and preserve.

Dear, dear, Louisa: I would celebrate the occasion of “Old Faithful Running Dry.” I promise you that it will. Is that so tragic?

And if it’s here for your grandchildren, it most assuredly will be different than you remember it. Is that also a tragedy?

The problem with an icon is that it’s static. I don’t like the idea of a static Yellowstone. That would not be the way that I understand how the universe works. I shudder to think that the NRDC wants it that way. Now, that is a tragedy.

Dear, dear Louisa: try to celebrate change, dynamism, interrelationships, complexity, and the joy of the unexpected. If that’s too hard; go see “Yellowstone” at the Imax Theater. Old Faithful is the same every time at the movies. It does not run dry.

Dear, dear Louisa; losing the grizzly would be far more tragic that the drying up of Old Faithful. We can do something about the one, and should do nothing about the other.

My fear is not that Old faithful will run dry, (for it surely will,) rather it’s that the NPS will rapidly install plumbing to “RESTORE” it to it’s once natural splendor. I will rant against that. Many cheerleaders will want the plumbing. Go figure.

old-faithful-geyser-cone-nps.jpg

NPS PHOTO OF THE DRY CONE OF OLD FAITHFUL

Let’s All Go To Yellowstone

HELL IT’S CHEAP AT TWICE THE PRICE

Straight from the “XANTERRA WINTER PACKAGE PAGE.”

“Trail of the Wolf
This package provides a mix of guided park interior touring (by snowmobile) and wildlife watching in the park’s premier Northern Range (with van transportation.) This package offers a minimum three-nights lodging at Old Faithful and Mammoth, a round-trip guided snowmobile tour between Old Faithful and Mammoth (with an hotel overnight in between),a Walk (sic) Up To Wildlife Tour of Lamar Valley and the additional components typically included in our Winter Getaway packages. Package can based from either Old Faithful Snow Lodge or Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel.
With Mammoth Hotel as a base, rates start at $349.25 plus tax per person double occupancy and include:
* Two nights Mammoth Hotel, one night Old Faithful Snow Lodge
* Round trip guided snowmobile tour to Old Faithful (snowmobile clothing included.)
* Wake Up to Wildlife Tour
* 2 breakfasts (in the dining room) per person
* 1 continental breakfast (as part of the Wake Up To Wildlife Tour)
* Snow Card discount card
* Welcome Gift
* Unlimited Ice Skating (skates included)
* One-hour hot tub rental

Old Faithful Snow Lodge as a base, rates start at $469.00 plus tax per person double occupancy and include:
Two nights Old Faithful Snow Lodge, one night Mammoth Hotel
* Round trip snowcoach transportation from gateway entrance to Old Faithful
* Round trip guided snowmobile tour to Mammoth (snowmobile clothing included)
* Wake Up to Wildlife Tour
* 2 breakfasts (in the dining room) per person
* 1 continental breakfast (as part of the Wake Up To Wildlife Tour)
* Snow Card discount card
* Welcome Gift
* Unlimited Ice Skating (skates included)
* One-hour hot tub rental

Frosty Fun
Frosty Fun at Mammoth: This package includes 2 nights lodging, 2 breakfasts per person, 1 welcome gift per person, unlimited ice skating, 1 hour hot tub use per room, unlimited ice skate rental and ice skating and 1 snow card (discount card) per person which is good for additional 10% discounts on certain gift shop items, additional meals (except designated special events) and any equipment rental. Starts at $99.00 per person double occupancy, $166.00 single occupancy. Frosty Fun at Old Faithful Snow Lodge includes snowcoach transportation, 2 nights lodging, 2 breakfasts per person, 1 welcome gift per person, 1 snow card (discount card) per person which is good for additional 10% discounts on certain gift shop items, additional meals (except designated special events) and any equipment rental. Starts at $245.00 per person double occupancy, $375.00 single occupancy.

Nordic Heaven
Nordic Heaven at Mammoth includes at least 2 nights lodging, breakfast each day of stay per person, unlimited ice skating, 1 welcome gift per person, 1 hour hot tub use per room and unlimited ice skate rental and ice skating, 1 day ski rental per person, 1 ski drop per person and 1 snow card (discount card) per person which is good for additional 10% discounts on certain gift shop items, additional meals (except designated special events) and any equipment rental. Starts at $119.00 per person double occupancy, $186.00 single occupancy.

Nordic Heaven at Old Faithful Snow Lodge includes snowcoach transportation, at least 2 nights lodging, breakfast each day of stay per person, 1 welcome gift per person, 1 day ski rental per person, 1 ski drop per person and 1 snow card (discount card) per person which is good for additional 10% discounts on certain gift shop items, additional meals (except designated special events) and any equipment rental. Starts at $265.00 per person double occupancy, $395.00 single occupancy.

Snomo Deal
Guided Snowmo-Deal at Mammoth includes at least 2 nights lodging, breakfast each day of stay per person, 1 welcome gift per person, unlimited ice skating, 1 snow card per person discount card) per person which is good for additional 10% discounts on certain gift shop items, additional meals (except designated special events), any equipment rental, 1 hour hot tub use per room, unlimited ice skate rental and ice skating and 1 day guided snowmobile tour to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone or Old Faithful (snowmobile clothing included in the package). Starts at $199.00 per person double occupancy, $366.00 single occupancy.

Guided Snowmo-Deal at Old Faithful Snow Lodge includes at least 2 nights lodging, breakfast each day of stay per person, 1 welcome gift per person, 1 snow card per person discount card) per person which is good for additional 10% discounts on certain gift shop items, additional meals (except designated special events), any equipment rental and one guided snowmobile tour to either the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone or Mammoth. Starts at $345.00 per person double occupancy, $575.00 single occupancy with snowcoach transportation to Snow Lodge.”

Enjoy yourselves in your one hour free hot tub rental. Pluses not included: lunch, dinner, gratuities, viewing “another” attraction, entrance fees, etc. — OH! — Nearly forgot, these packages must be booked by telephone! And don’t forget to pay someone to watch your car. Or just charter a helicopter like Ted Turner and Mike Findley do. Check this!Or this.

Finally, read how over-the-snow travel disappointed this visitor to Yellowstone. Quotes to watch for:

“. . . this one ended up costing me plenty with hotel and restaurant expenses, not to mention a trip to the expedition store (where I bought my “Mad Bomber” fur artic explorer cap).”
“. . . there was no good way to get out to see Old Faithful, which was about 50 miles from Mammoth Lodge, where we were staying.”
“. . . disappointed visitors congregated, drank mulled cider and groused.”
“. . . So after traveling almost 2,000 miles, including the last leg on snowmobiles over mountain terrain, we left without ever seeing Old Faithful erupt.”

Yellowstone, Fly Fishing, Posting & Travel

The fires are causing the sky to block the moon and turn the sun purple for the sunrise. Check the fly fishing section for the first of the free pages. They are a little thin but will get you started.

The Yellowstone Park section starts with excerpts from the free encyclopedia. It has a bit better information.

I’ve nearly got the Word Press software figured out. Photos are difficult because there are some wrinkles that keep the resolution lower than the original. Check the logo out and see what I mean.

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More soon when I get the pictures figured out. No promotion for this site. If You find it — you find it.

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