June 27 - Day three in Yellowstone

"Selfie" at the brink
Have noticed many trees in the Park, in some areas literally every tree, have the barked scraped or rubbed off from 2 or 3 feet to maybe 5 or 6 feet above the ground. We've seen this before and have always guessed these are animal "rubbings". But the phenomena was so extensive it was time for a definitive answer. A veteran park ranger confirmed our guess. The trees effected the most are lodgepole pine, which have a very thin bark. The culprits are elk, bison, deer, even bear... there's a chance you can identify which by examining left behind hair or fur. It's considered a part of the natural ebb and flow of things and the Park doesn't seem to be overly concerned about it. What's to be done anyway? Often the scrapings will completely girdle the tree, killing it. But the forest has a life cycle like other living organisms, and must renew itself on a regular basis. Fire is another example of a natural process that causes the forest to renew... to bring forth another generation.

We broke camp at Bay Bridge today and headed to Canyon Village. The weather was cloudy with light rain. Took a shot at driving down North Rim Drive, hoping that the relatively early hour combined with the light rain had most folks sleeping in this morning. And our hunch was right. Parking was plentiful and we headed down the trail to the brink of the lower falls. I look forward to this stop. There are few spots where, for me, one can get so close and really feel the raw power of nature. Sure, waterfalls are everywhere. But the sheer scale of this one... especially early in the summer after a big snow year, is stunning. Also stopped at Lookout Point where, as mere kids in 1974, we snapped a few pictures of each other.

Back in Canyon Village we claimed our reserved campsite, A14, then ran over to the Canyon Grill for lunch.

The weather was still iffy, intermittent light rain, so we drove over to Norris Geyser Basin to walk the trails and perhaps see a geyser in action. A small one, Vixen, as about the only real action (only 5 or 10 minutes between spews... maybe 30 or 40 feet high), but we enjoyed the walk.

Back at campground we ran into a Swiss couple who were on a 4 year journey of the Americas. Have already spent 2 years in South America, a half year in Central America, and have recently started North America. This summer heading to Canada and Alaska so they could be back in the USA by fall. We actually saw their 4wd Sprinter van (loaded with gear and solar panels and adorned with small flags from every country they've been through) a few days before down in Grand Teton NP. Enjoyed talking with them.

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Miles today 47; odo 8412
Camp: Canyon Village CG (NPS) site A14
elevatiion: 7985
GPS: ?

and, a few pics of our day...

Nature in the raw.

Redux of a pic taken in 1974

Had to stop to let this guy cross.

Norris Geyser Basin.

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