We were able to conclude all the business for our Board meeting on Friday afternoon, so Saturday was a freeyellowstone day. Peter Pashley and his daughter Charlotte invited Thorny Steele and me to go with them to Yellowstone National Park. We left bright and early at 8:30 a.m. in the morning, with Dean Kent Syverud and his wife Professor Ruth Chi-fen Chen following us in the car behind. The route to Yellowstone was interesting. Because some of the entrances to Yellowstone were not yet open for the season, we had to take a circuitous route.

We left from Wyoming, crossed the Tetons to Idaho, crossed briefly into Montana and then came back around into Wyoming in order to get to the West entrance of the park. On our way to Yellowstone we passed through Driggs, Idaho and Charlotte was able to find out more about it on her iPhone. Our initial impression passing through was that it was an interesting place and it turnTrails Inned out that it was more interesting than we knew. We learned a lot about it. It’s one of the top 100 artist communities in the United States. There’s a film school there and regular street theater. If you go to the internet and look up Driggs, Idaho the Chamber of Commerce website will share some of that. We didn’t stop in Driggs, but at least we could say that we stopped in Idaho.

We stopped in Ashton, Idaho for breakfast. The name of the restaurant was Criswell’s Trails Inn Restaurant and we ordered breakfast there. Our hotel shuttle driver from the day before told us that it was the absolute best place to have breakfast and boy, was he right. For you foodies out there if you ebreakfastver get to Ashton, Idaho you must stop at Criswell’s and have breakfast. Apparently it’s pretty famous. There’s a huge map that asks you to identify where you are from, so we all put pins in the map. The breakfast was huge. Kent Syverud had a trout and egg breakfast with hashbrowns, and Thorny had a pancake, eggs and sausage breakfast and the pancake was the size of the plate. I had what was called the skillet scramble, which was egg, cheese and ham, and came with toast and a side of hashbrowns. It was thoroughly filling and delicious. After bisonbreakfast we headed out and got back on the road and headed to Yellowstone National Park.

When we entered the park we were greeted by a number of bison. In fact, I have a picture of one who walked right up to the car. Many of them were on the road and people had to stop and wait until they cleared the roadway. The first thing we did when we arrived at Yellowstone was get aold faithful map and head for the geyser, Old Faithful. We arrived a little before it was to erupt. The rangers give you a sense of when it will erupt, with about a half an hour between eruptions. So for example, the time will be posted and will indicate 10 minutes before or after a certain time. Since we knew we had a bit of a wait, we went into the science station to see the exhibits and souvenirs. We watched the film that is shown half an hour before the geyser is scheduled to erupt, which talked about all the geological features in the park.

geyserI never realized how many interesting things were there in addition to the abundant wildlife. There are a number of geological features. These include hot springs with a number of colors in the run off channels. The colors occur because of the suspended minerals and the microscopic organisms that flock to the warm water. There were geysers, which periodically erupt (Old Faithful does) because of a large volume of hot water stored beneath the surface. There were also mud pots with acidic hot springs, which were like big pits of mud. The mud would kind of bubble because of the gas that was beneath the earth’s surface causing it try to break out. The gases escape through the wet clay mud and cause it to bubble and that’s called a mud pot. Then there was something called a fumarole. A fumarole is like a dry geyser. It’s a crack in the ground from which gas escapes and makes a whistling noise. You can find out more about these at the website for Yellowstone. It was pretty fascinating. We took the time during our visit to go and visit each of these features.

canyonAfter we saw the geological features in that section of the park, we drove east so we could see the large canyon and it was amazing. I had never seen it before. I do have to say though that it was very difficult for me to walk right up to the rail and look down. I tended to take my pictures standing back a little bit. After that we drove so we could see the upper falls of the Yellowstone River and it was really beautiful. Once we had finished seeing all those sites it was pretty late in the day, so we got some gas and a few snacks and headed back to our hotel in Jackson Hole.

By the time we got back, we had worked up and appetite for dinner, so we headed to The Cadillac Grille in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The food was very good. It was Saturday night and the restaurant also has a big bar area. That was pretty rowdy and loud, so we sat in the dining area, which was a little bit smaller and quieter. The service was excellent and the food was great. For the foodies out there, I had an interesting starter- trout salad. It had smoked trout on top of various mixed greens, pears, and a champagne vinaigrette. It was very good… very unusual, but very good. Peter Pashley started with what was called won ton cigars. They were won tons rolled and then stuffed with cheese and shrimp. They looked yummy. His daughter started with a soup, a potato with chorizo and blue cheese soup. It looked pretty good. Thorny didn’t have an appetizer because he had the wild game grill, which was huge, so he didn’t want an appetizer. My entree was grilled mahi mahi with wild rice and grilled veggies. It was really well-prepared and seasoned. Peter had the bison steak and Charlotte had oysters. For dessert I had a tiramisu, Charlotte had raspberry sorbet, and Thorny had an interesting maple crème brulee. It was really a good meal. We got a chance to visit and relax a little bit after our day’s exploits. Then we headed back to the hotel and called it an evening before too long because we were all pretty pooped.