Vacation, Day 9 – Kayak Time!

So it took us 9 days but we finally got in the water. You might say the second half of our trip is the kayak part of our trip. Or at least, the water filled part. Today we kayaked around Lake Yellowstone and it was majestic to say the least. We kayaked the West Thumb Basin on Lake Yellowstone, which is this area on the map, below. The first arrow is where we put in and the second arrow is where we kayaked to (and then paddled back to arrow 1).

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As you may not know, the West Thumb Basin is an area of geysers in Yellowstone. It’s the last of the kind of group of geysers around Yellowstone, beginning with the… well, I guess starting up by the Mammoth Hot Springs and going down towards the West Thumb Basin. It’s hard to say because there are areas of geysers/springs all over Yellowstone, but this part of Lake Yellowstone is the same!

It’s really amazing and I love being able to say we did that on our kayaks. It was so peaceful too. The whole time we were out we only saw 5 other kayaks and this lake is enormous so it was nice to really feel like the only one on the water.

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This is one of the few times where I feel like the pictures convey the peacefulness of being out on the water. It was just so calm and such crystal clear water that it was really amazing. I say that, until this giant GIANT storm cloud started brewing when we had just started our return trip.

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This picture isn’t even the worst of it. It looked so much worse and so much darker from our boats. Not to mention, the rangers had told us when we got our permits to watch for storms because while they don’t come often, they come very quickly! That’s the biggest thing that had me worried.

We paddled like our live depended on it (or at least I did, as I felt like I should) but when we made it back to shore it turned out we’d still had at least another 45 minutes before the rain. It was good that we got out when we did though because then we had time to recover from all that hard paddling, and still get the kayaks back on top of the truck.

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That afternoon we did a little more animal searching but to no avail unfortunately. We did see a lot more elk including a huge male off in the distance, but no new animals today. We also started to do al the Non-Old-Faithful geysers, but it was raining and the pictures would’ve been really bad so we decided that would be a Day 10 thing. You can see pictures of some of the geysers and baby elks, here.

The good thing about the rain today was mostly just that it was the only rain we even experienced in the park! We really hadn’t seen any heavy rain since we’d left the Wisconsin (we saw a huge storm in Custer but it never rained). With all the camping we did it’s a miracle we didn’t hit more rain. Especially with it being their spring season.

But anyway, with the rain slowing down and clearly gone off to the west, we decided to head out west to our next campground, Rainbow Point. It’s a great campsite and I really loved West Yellowstone. I was almost mad we hadn’t been staying there the whole time. It’s much more of a “town” than East Yellowstone. Don’t get me wrong, I like solitude and all that, but only having to drive 20 minutes to a Yellowstone “sight” instead of 70, was really nice. And Rainbow Point is right on the Higben Lake (I think, something like that) so it was nice to still be on the water!

Tomorrow is our last day in Yellowstone and then we head up to Bozeman. It should be exciting!

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