Sunday, November 1, 2020

There was a lot I didn’t write down

August 1, 1972

8:40 AM
Woke up cold on face and shoulders. Rest of me was cozy. Windows all wet from me breathing last night (so I shouldn’t have?) Still can see your breath. Running the car with the heater on. Had cigarette for breakfast. Too cold to cook out there. Washed very little in a john (again cold water only). Wished I brought the jacket Fran gave me. Checking maps for places to see.

9:00 AM
Heading out for the “Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.” Again, wish you could see this. Motoring thru tall pines with the calm Yellowstone Lake on the right. The mountains on its far shore are snow covered, and touch the clouds. (Ok, I’m a poet, eh? So I’ll take a picture and show you! Took two.) (The hell with you!) Don’t mind no radio, just digging all this. Just ran into more road construction; they are doing a lot of it. Just fantastic scenery! People fishing in big red waders in still, mirror-like water.

9:25 AM
Stopped to see mud volcanoes (2 pictures) Note: here and there throughout the park you see smoke that looks like a large or sometime small fire. It’s just from these thermal pool areas.

Took one picture of “Dragon’s Mouth.” Black steaming mud and water bubble out of a pool covered with stinking steam. I hope the picture comes out. The other was just a small mud hole with no stream to show what it looks like. Sulfur makes water black, so place smells like hell both figuratively and literally. One pool I didn’t take picture of was green water, bubbling like someone dumped in a truck-load of Alka-Seltzer. Oh! The average degree of the water is 191 in Dragon’s Mouth. This was created by a fissure in the earth in just 1947-48. (Note: had to hike to top of hill to see best ones – 9 in all – and was puffing like a locomotive. Was really ashamed. Cigarettes for breakfast not such a good idea. 

Moving on…

Entering Hayden Valley. Grizzly country. More road construction. Passed a couple more sulfur pits (can’t stop for everything, but wish I could.) Did I mention that I refilled my collapsible water jug? Water here tastes great! Passed Elk Horn Creek and Trout Creek. Fishing here is supposed to be great, so I bet Terry would like it.

10:10 AM
Stopped at Artist’s Point. Took three pictures. 2 of falls, one of canyon. Getting warmer.

10:30 AM
Stopped at Upper Falls. You will note have stopped all descriptive phrases. Have overworked words like beautiful, fantastic, etc. till they seem trite. If pictures turn out they can speak for themselves. Oh, took 2 pictures, one just before Upper Falls, and one of falls. Another hike, another bursting lungs. This body is a wreck!

10:50 AM
Got picture of a bear. Looked like a hobo, just sitting on the side of the road.

11:15 AM
Stopped to take picture of Mt. Washburn, ele. 10,243 ft. (two pines in pic.) and one general view of mountains.

11:25 AM
Stopped to take picture at Tower Falls. There’s a boulder right in the middle at the top. The question is: how soon will it fall? Forgot to mention: re: waterfalls: you can hear them long before you can see them. A pleasant sound.

11:35 AM
Stopped at Calcite Springs Area & took picture of it. Pic may not show it, but area was once thermal and puffs of steam still come out of banks. Getting real lesson in walking. Clouding over.

11:40 AM
Starting to rain. Stopped for gas. Gas here (as all along the way a real rip-off) 40¢ for regular!

12:00 PM
Rain stopped, sun out.

12:25 PM
Stopped at Mammouth Hot Springs. Walked 15 minutes up a Nature trail only to find a parking lot on top! Springs are everchanging lime deposits made by hot water. Nine (I think) pictures. They say that deposits in the 30s are now ruins. I put my hand in the water at base. About like a hot bath.

1:40 PM
Raining again. Stopped in town to mail post-cards.

2:10 PM
Heading out. Rain stopped; sunny again. Passing thru Willow Park. Supposed to have moose. Didn’t see any. Wait! Now I did. Small herd in distance. Too far for good picture.

2:50 PM
Saw first accident in park. (Not serious.) Have been passing up small steamholes and geysers and a small waterfall because it’s getting late. Looks like rain again.

3:02 PM
Stopped at Gibbon Falls. 1 picture of falls, 1 picture of bird and squirrel eating on a rock. Saw mule deer feeding, couldn’t stop.

3:45 PM
Old Faithful. Picked up two girls who work as maids at hotel in Old Faithful complex. Picked them up about 15 miles back. Had to rearrange half the car to put both of them in, but it was worth it to talk to someone. Said you could get jobs here easily. Both were from Washington (state). When I mentioned cold they said that’s nothing, that it had snowed in July this year and in the winter they can’t even dig out most of the roads here.

Went over to the geyser, it had stopped. Next act 60 to 90 minutes away. Thundering and lightning, then rain just started as I took the most uninspiring picture of Old Faithful ever. Got back in my car as rain hit. Making another brief supper; 1 tuna sandwich and some cold beans. Back on the road, didn’t stop at Geyser Basins because of the rain.

4:45 PM
Rain stopped, but skies still overcast.

5:05 PM
Left Yellowstone. In a word: awed. Determined to go back when I have more time. Now back to reality. Heading south on Hwy 20 in Montana.

5:15 PM
Entered Gallatin National Forest. Trees everywhere. (What else?) Terrible headache for last couple of hours. Didn’t take any aspirins with me.

Montana’s famous “Big Sky” is covered with big clouds. Lots of saddle ranches around. Still surrounded by mountains. No illusions about next 115+ mikes. I have to get to the freeway and find a rest area by tonight. Oh, yes. I crossed the Continental Divide again (stupid thing). Stuck behind 2 camper pickups for the last umpteen miles. Can’t get a chance to pass.

5:30 PM
In Idaho. Sky clearing. Misjudged the Cont. Divide. I crossed it at the state line. Am in the Targhee National Forest. Still pines, still mountainous, only the name has changed. One thing different. This has telephone poles. Got used to Yellowstone not having any. These look junky. Radio back. KID out of Idaho Falls, Idaho. Passed the trucks.

5:40 PM
Now on plains. Mountains & pines in far distance.

5:47 PM
Spoke too soon; back into pines. Heard Rick Nelson’s song again. Had the name wrong before, but really dig it. Using a Wash & Dri to get the gunk off my face.

Saw a little old man with long flowing grey hair and an Indian hat walking down the road. Not hitchhiking, just walking. No houses around for miles.

6:10 PM
Left the Targhee Forest. Going down long grade. Now into plains again. 6 min. later passed Ashton, Idaho.

6:30 PM
Finally can’t see the majestic three Tetons anymore. Crossed Henry’s Fork of the Snake River. Going thru St. Anthony & following a state cop. He finally turned off. 37 miles to Idaho Falls.

6:40 PM
Sign says “Entering Idaho Potato Country”

6:55 PM
Radio says 78 degrees. Oh, oh. Bridge ahead… It was the Snake River again.

7:05 PM
Stopped and took picture of Idaho. To my shame, father, I can’t pick out a field of potatoes. Only two rolls of film left.

7:25 PM
Idaho Falls. Got on Interstate 15. Hope they have rest areas. Shaking all the small towns. Speed limit 70 and trucking! Now see field after field of potatoes with huge sprinklers (I figured out what a potato field looks like.) Took picture.

7:40 PM
Headache still killing me. Found rest area – bad again. Nothing like near home. Two outhouses and some picnic tables. (Outhouse terrible) Only interesting thing is that area here is all hardened lava. Right back on road.

Lots of bugs here. Windshield looks like it was raining and I washed it at last rest area. Really “bugs” me! (urrgghh!)

8:00 PM
Reached Blackfoot, Idaho and Fort Hall Indian Reservation. Running into strong winds and dust. Coming up to more mountains.

8:20 PM
Stopped at Pocatello, Idaho for gas; found a McDonalds. Hurray! Hope it’s better than that A&W.

8:35 PM
Leaving. Still need gas. Big Mac great. Filet of fish lousy. (win some, lose some) Can’t believe it! Stopped at gas station and it was 30¢ for regular. Wow! Asked about mountains. Said no range name, but there are three: Wild Horse Mt., Kemp Fort Mt. and he didn’t know the other. Then, back to x-way. 

P.S. Have officially caught a cold.

Back in mountains again. 158 miles to Salt Lake City. Again fantastic scenery. Mountains on either side; sun has set, but pink clouds still to be seen. Rest of sky is medium to deep blue. No cars but mine on my side of hwy.

9:30 PM
Dark now. Tired as hell. Head is killing me. Body aches. Windshield covered with bugs. Can’t see the page to write on lines.

10:30 PM
66 miles to Salt Lake. Car running hot again. Brake handle hot to touch. Tired as hell. Got to keep going, no place to sleep. Can’t tell what countryside looks like: can’t see it. Stars out. Am on another x-way. Wow, I’m tired. I could swear I passed the same truck twice.

11:40 PM
Salt Lake City, Utah. Found a Texaco Station; got gas. I know that the previous pages will be hard to read, but not only was I tried and sore, but it’s hard to write when car is moving 70 mph and it’s too dark to see pages.

12:00 AM
Found rest area. Before I say goodnight, I would like to say there was a lot I didn’t write down, plus I couldn’t see a lot. Sorry about that.

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