After spending a brief couple of hours with my Wyoming friend at the Fishing Bridge we said our goodbyes, turned out of the parking lot and began the long journey back the way we had come.
When we left the Fishing Bridge the sky was still mostly grey and was filled with the promise of more rain.
I snapped the picture above from the bridge as we passed over it, and was surprised just how dark the world suddenly appeared.
By the time we stopped at a pull off only 10 minutes later the sky was rapidly clearing.
As though someone has flipped a switch we moved from ominous to beautiful in the span of only a few minutes.
Shedding my rain jacket as LC pulled off the road, the world had surprisingly turned back to summer and I was eager to see the beautiful lake.................
Compared to this time last year our small desert town is wonderfully green.
But as I climbed out of the Tahoe and wandered down the narrow dirt trail towards the water, with my Mountain Boy and Florida dog in tow, the sheer magnitude of color around me was overwhelming.
Blue sky, clear lake, grass and flowers that were brilliant colors because of ample rain - for a moment I felt overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the color.
It was loud. Very loud. Brilliant. Unbelievably brilliant.
For someone who these days spends more time among buttes and desert grasses and sage brush, it felt like a noisy but musical symphony of color.
Taking a deep breathe I looked around me, and then walked down to the lake shore, trying to take it all in.................
Click on any picture and all the pictures from this blog will turn into a slide show of enlarged images..............
After standing beside the lake for a few minutes we all wandered to our right, following a narrow path that led into the trees.
When we got to the treeline I stood looking at the large clump of tall pines in front of us and smiled.
The signs were everywhere.
The buffalo had been this way.
Every second tree told the tale, and I walked over to some trees that had been rubbed raw by itchy bison to look at them more closely................
I stood beside the lake one more time before reluctantly turning away from it and slowly wandering back up the hill to the Tahoe.
I hated to go, but it was time to go.
It was 3:30. We still had a long way to travel before reaching the West Gate, and then a long way to go before reaching Atomic City.
If we wanted to see the bison we would have to move on.
As I reached the top of the hill I looked over at the truck, smiled inwardly, shook my head in disbelief, and then called LC's name.
When he glanced over at me I smiled at him and pointed.
I had set my can of Diet Vanilla Coke on the tailgate as we were gathering up our things in preparation to leave the Fishing Bridge.
I had forgotten to retrieve my Coke, and somehow it had managed to balance precariously on the tailgate of our vehicle during the 10 minutes drive to the lake.
We drove all of five minutes before feeling compelled to stop again.
One more beautiful lake scene.
One more beautiful, grassy shore filled with pine trees and endless wildflowers.............
The weather was changing every few minutes, quickly moving from completely overcast, to sunny and clearing, to cloudy with struggling and watery sunshine.
By the time we arrived at this rushing section of river we were again enveloped in watery, filtered sunshine.
I knew this place.
We had stopped here a number of times over the past couple of years, always eager to see what the river was doing in each season that we visited.
The parking area was located high above the river. From the parking lot visitors climbed down a steep flight of wooden stairs, and then picked up a series of long walkways that overlooked the fast moving river.
LC elected to stay close to the truck with Kory while I wandered down to the water...............
LC and I have visited the park during three different seasons of the year.
Summer is the easy time of year to like the park. It is stunningly beautiful. Astoundingly green. Filled with wild life and color and.........throbbing energy.
But it is also filled with people.
Everything is a production in Yellowstone National Park during the summer. Driving. Parking. Walking. Going to the restroom. Getting gas. Buying a Coke. Everything. People everywhere.
My favorite times to see the park are early in the spring and late in the fall.
The tourists are gone. The campgrounds are empty and mostly closed. The rest stops and visitors centers are closed.
Colors are muted instead of brilliant. Temperatures are cold instead of warm.
There is a peace and a silence and a wonderment to the park that is impossible to see (let alone enjoy) during summer.
When I go to the park in summer I can almost feel the desperation of endless park visitors from around the world and around the country.
They have traveled ALL THIS WAY and are almost frantic to get that one picture of a bison or a grizzly that they have traveled so far to get.
That is not a criticism. I understand that feeling and appreciate just how lucky LC and I are to live in this part of the country now.
But having said that, I also appreciate just how silently beautiful this park can be during its down time..................
It was in this very place two years ago that I saw the pelican.
I noticed him from a distance as I was climbing down the stairs, and then continued to watch him as I walked along the boardwalk towards him.
He was resting on a rock on the front end of the set of rapids, and I was mesmerized by him.
He almost seemed to be posing for the crowd of appreciative tourists and I quickly snapped picture after picture, certain that he would take flight and leave at any moment.
He stayed balanced on that rock for the entire time that LC and I were in this place.
He was beautiful, graceful, and amazing photogenic, and I was ecstatic for having run into him.
Pictures of the pelican in this blog:
I was moving too fast.
Power snapping pictures instead of taking my time.
But time was moving and we needed to as well.
There was more to see.........................