Day 4 - to Canyon

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    Posted by Greg ( on January 22, 2008 at 23:26:52:

    In Reply to: Day 3 - to Old Faithful posted by Greg on January 22, 2008 at 23:25:57:

    When we went to bed, we knew it was going to snow, so we awoke every few hours and "peeked" out the window. What a kool site that was, all night, watching the snow come down (thanks to a light a few buildings away).

    We awoke at 6:00am and got ready for our big day to our trip to Canyon, Hayden and Lake.

    We got all of our heavy winter gear on, packed the cameras and video stuff and opened the cabin door and walked right into a 3+ foot high snow drift.

    The temp was 16 degrees and the snow was still falling. We were walking through about a foot of fresh snow as the groomer or plow etc had not been out yet. We headed over to the Snow Lodge about 400 yards away.

    We checked in for the Bombardier ride and then headed to the dinning room for breakfast. We had purchased the Frosty package and breakfast was included. We both had the breakfast buffet.

    After filling our stomachs and retrieving our boxed lunches we headed back to the lobby to wait for our snow coach to arrive.

    There were three coaches heading to Canyon today and we were hoping our driver would be Krazy Karen. But no such luck.

    Our driver was John, he introduced himself and then we all introduced each other. There would be a 8 of us today on the Bombardier.

    John started it up and it killed right away. Turns out someone left the gas cap off last night and the tank now had melted snow in it. Time for a new Bombardier. John returned with another coach and we all piled in.

    On this trip would be Bob and his wife Kathy, Jerry (from the basin on Friday) and his wife Penny, Robyn and her hubby Rainer and Ceri and I.

    This is when John informed us that we would not be going to Hayden or Lake today as the roads were drifted shut and white out conditions were being reported by Rangers. Major bummers.

    We headed out and what a difference a day makes, so much snow had fallen over night. We started to smell something, but thought it was just normal smells of a Bombardier.

    About a mile past the overpass, the smell was getting really bad. John pulled over and agreed it was bad. He said he would move it over to the side, but then the smoke poured in through the vents. He asked everyone to get out right away and take your belongings as well. All I could imagine was the Bombardier catching fire!

    He radioed in for another Bombardier, reporting a burning smell into the coach.

    We were outside for just a short time when another Bombardier appeared. Out stepped Krazy Karen. We hugged and then loaded our stuff up in the new coach and she and another driver would limp this one back.

    We stopped at Fountain Paint Flats and walked the board walk. We had never done that before. Very kool. Lots of snow and ice on the boardwalk, but we were aok. The trees were covered in snow/frost, thus making them ghost trees. I love those trees.

    We boarded back up and headed towards Madison, where the warming hut was waiting for us. Heated bathrooms for the ladies and hot cocoa too!

    By the time we got to Norris we were lucky enough to view 3 bald eagles, 15 swans, two elk, 1 deer and a few buffy's. The rest of the animals were all hunkered down.

    The winds were blowing pretty good and it was still snowing.

    We headed to Canyon and most of the time the visibility was less than 50 yards.

    We arrived in Canyon where we would be taking a lunch break in the heated warming hut. The snow was close to 3 feet deep and the drifts on top of the buildings were close to 3 to 4 feet. What an amazing view, looking at all of that snow on top of the buildings.

    We had our box lunches, this was probably our worst food of the trip - yuck! Raven food.

    Speaking of raven food, we watched from inside as a raven landed on a snowmobile and then opened up the zippered pack and stole the persons food and what ever else was in there. Those birds were thieves I tell ya.

    By now, all 8 of us were getting along great. Lots of stories, laughs etc. Turns out six of us are die hard Green Bay Packer fans and Robyn and her hubby are from Texas. Can you say Dallas! We agreed to not talk about football, we wanted to keep us all happy since we were going to be in Bombardier for another few hours together.

    We loaded up after John did not pass gas and we headed to the Canyon Rim Drive.

    We stopped at the overlooks and at Lookout Point, I clocked the winds at 45mph and a temp of 15, thus a wind chill of around -12. Sweet.

    We stopped at the Bridge and there was Vic, laid out on his stomach looking down into the river. He popped up and said he was looking for otters for his coach from Mammoth.

    I opened up the top of the Bombardier and popped up, Your stuck with him today he said to John!! Vic was laughing. We shared howdy's again and we also looked for otters, but they were not playing today.

    We came across the other two coaches from Old Faithful and they were heading back via Norris as Hayden Valley was still closed.

    Robyn and I were bummed, we both were looking forward to see Hayden and Lake in the winter.

    We then finished the Rim Drive on the south side. We were not able to see the falls as the snow, wind and a little fog were blocking the view. Major bummers, guess we will have to come back again in the winter.

    As we returned to the main road, John made a last call to dispatch to check on Hayden. They told him it was up to him, he was experienced enough that they trusted him. A loud ROAR came from the Bombardier. We were heading to Hayden!!!!

    Well, we were heading to Hayden, but that did not mean that we were going to see much. The visibility was near zero the entire time. We were able to see the river in a few spots. No animals, just white.

    You could see John's knuckles, they were white. You could tell he was out of his comfort zone.

    At one point, the visibility cleared and then puff! What was that. We opened the hatch and looked out, the snow drift was higher than us. We figured we were going through drifts that were at least 12 foot high.

    We made it, came across Mud Volcano and we could see again. Pretty kool in snow from the road. We headed towards Fishing Bridge to the warming hut and John did not want to pass gas. We stopped on top of the bridge for a few photos and then headed on.

    Inside the warming hut, or should I say the hot hut. Boy was it hot in there! We came across 5 snowmobilers that were heading for Flagg Ranch.

    They were really shaken up, they just drove from Canyon. The guide told us that they had problems getting through the drifts. 10 -15 feet tall he said. One of the snowmobilers asked us if we would trade, he had had enough of snowmobiling.

    We warmed up and then headed out, in the mean time the volunteer at the warming hut, closed the road heading to the east entrance, avalanche issues she said.

    We drove past Lake Lodge area and I was able to see the cabins though the trees, way kool. I wanted to check on the Lake Cam, was we could not get down there to it. It is covered up right now John said.

    Then on to Grant. John was not looking forward to this part because of the winds coming off the lake.

    We were able to see just a bit of the lake (ice) every once in awhile, otherwise, close to whiteout conditions.

    We arrived at Grant junction and since no one required a potty break, we headed up the hill to get back to Old Faithful.

    One final stop was at Keppler Cascades. Very very kool in the winter.

    Once back, we all gave John a nice tip, which he was very thankful for. We also gave him a big round of applause, as he deserved it.

    What a great day. We all headed into the Snow Lodge for a few drinks and then dinner.

    We tried to arrange our dinners so we could all sit together, but that was not in the cards.

    We sat at the bar for a bit and enjoyed our company.

    Ceri and I were then seated for dinner. Ceri ordered the 8oz new york streak and I ordered the bison spare ribs. HOW COULD YOU!! Ceri says, after seeing all of the buffy's and those big brown eyes....

    Dinner came and went, the ribs were pretty good. Ceri never asked how they were.

    We finished up and then sat by the fireplace in the lobby and then returned to our cabin. Along the way we took two plastic sleds with us as we were leaving in the morning.

    After getting the packing done, we popped a movie into the DVD and relaxed.

    What a great day, that trip to Canyon was awesome....

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