Yellowstone National Park
Leaving the upper north corner of Yellowstone, we drove over to Yellowstone
Canyon and then to Yellowstone Falls. We camped at Norris Junction.
The falls and canyon were absolutely fantastic—a must see. At the
campground, we drank a few beers with the two Connecticut fellows.
The lads told us about a natural hot spring over at Madison campground.
In the morning, after checking out the Norris geysers one more time,
we headed over to Madison. Upon arrival at Madison, with some help from fellow campers, we found the hot spring. It was a large pool of water, which was continuous with the little stream that ran along side the campground. It was
outside of the campground, but not very far from where we camped.
After dinner, Carin and I hiked over to the hot spring and found eight
people –four girls, four boys—already in the water. The temperature
was around 90 to 100 degrees, just perfect for the muscles that were
still aching from our trip into the backcountry. Our prayers had been
answered. We were very happy campers!
We submerged our bodies in the hot water just before sunset and remained in
the water as we watched the daylight fade into starlight. Two of the girls
left early, but the rest of us stayed until the patterns in the Milky
Way were crisp and clear. It was obvious that the temperature had
dropped, but it was not obvious how far it had dropped until the steam
off the water began to interfere with our view. We finally took the
hint. The transition from hot spring to air temperature was
excruciatingly painful. It was too cold to even dry off. Climbing into dry
clothes being cold and wet was nasty and difficult, but the alternative was
turning into a human icicle.
Back at the camp, we built a quick fire and then poured wood into
it. Charley and Bill, our two hot spring buddies from Tennessee,
followed us back and helped with the fire. The fellows were from
Chattanooga, real southern boys. They were easy to talk to, humorous,
and very excited about traveling in the northwest. They were 23 spent
rolls of film (three weeks worth) excited to be in Yellowstone. We laughed and
talked late into the evening. Topics of conversation ranged from
Charlie’s Vietnam outrage, Bill’s engineering job frustrations,
finding women, and, even finding God. After a spent bundle of firewood,
eleven beers, a half pint of brandy, and two large bowls of
marijuana, we called it a night—a good night!