We slept in today to recover from yesterday’s big climb on Uncle Tom’s Trail. Our main goals were to go for a swim in the Firehole River swimming area and visit the West Thumb area. Here’s some pictures now that the yuckies are gone.
We stopped by the Junior Ranger Station in Madison for Debbie to get her Junior Ranger Badge and patch after completing her book work. It’s simple and fun stuff to keep kids engaged in the trip. I’ll detail it out in another post for you.
It began to pour down raining while we were at the Junior Ranger Station and quickly lowered the temperature from 82 degress to 69 degrees. But we were going swimming! And the forecast said “Sunny skies.” Oh well, we’ll adapt like we always do.
We waited at the Firehole swimming area for about 15 minutes for the skies to clear and the sun to come back out and made our way down. It was VERY cold water, but still fun. I hadn’t been feeling well the last couple of days as I battled allergies, so I didn’t want to feel worse.
After a bit of wading around in the water, we decided it was time to change and move on to our next adventure and head toward the West Thumb area. We crossed the Continental Divide along the way. The Divide decides which ocean will receive the runoff from the various rivers.
The hot springs and pools rest right beside Lake Yellowstone. This lake is the largest freshwater lake above 7,000 feet in North America. It’s teaming with trout, so various spots around the lakes and tributaries are favorite spots for Grizzly Bears.
With over 3,000 gallons of hot water pouring into the lake every hour, you’d think the lake was warm, right? The high temperature in the lake in the summer is 45 degrees. In winter the lake is covered by up to 3 feet of ice, except the shoreline in this area.
Early explorers used to catch trout from the lake and then drop them into this “Fishing Cone” to boil them. It was a convenient way to cook their meal, but fishing is now prohibited in this area to maintain the natural wonder.
Tourists have an affinity for throwing coins into bodies of water like fountains and pools. They think it brings them good luck. Don’t throw coins into any water in Yellowstone as it will eventually just clog up the hot springs and also cause them to lose their vibrant colors. Just save the pennies up for that 50 cent ice cream cone at the Imax in West Yellowstone!
As I said earlier, my allergies have been flaring up the last few days. I picked up some over the counter medicines to try to treat it before it becomes a full blown sinus infection. One of my little thorns in the flesh I’ve endured along the way. When I lived in Texas I would get sick several times per year.
Moving to Florida has been great for my allergies, I still have stuffiness from time to time, but rarely have the real yuckies. Well, on the way back from West Thumb it hit me. I was freezing cold, so I turned off the air in the car and my wife and daughter were then burning up, so they rolled down the windows.
The moment I returned to the cabin I was shaking and heading straight for the bed. I had my daughter bring me another heavy blanket to try to break the fever. My wife gave me some meds and my wife and kids prayed for me to get better. I had promised my little girl that we could cook S’mores in the firepit that night. After a one hour nap, my fever broke and we got to enjoy our S’mores time together!
We’re off to the Hayden Valley, we’ll see you tomorrow.