DESTINATIONS
MACAU: Magical Charm
AUSTRALIA, TA: Hobart’s Half Dozen Treasures
USA, NM: Santa Fe – Downtown Retreat & Mountain Ranch Resort
PERU: Lake Sandoval, Amazonia: Mundos Intocados – Untouched Worlds.
AUSTRALIA, SA: Hopping Across to Kangaroo Island
USA, WY: The Legend of Buffalo Bill
AUSTRALIA, SA: Dishing It Out In South Australia
USA, NV: Top 10 Las Vegas Travel Tips
KIWI: Stewart Island's Natural Beauty
KIWI: Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track - Stairway to Heaven
KIWI: Sitting on the DOC of the Bay - A Campervan in the Coromandel
HONG KONG: Top Ten Must See Attractions
MACAU: A Macanese Affair to Remember
USA, Rockies: A Most Excellent Adventure - RV Trip Part 2
USA, Rockies: A Most Excellent Adventure - RV Trip Part 1
KIWI: Top 10 Kiwi Coastal Department of Conservation Campsites
KIWI: South by Southwest Auckland
AUSTRALIA, QLD: Campervan Adventures on the Great Tropical Drive
HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s Adventurous Atributes
KIWI: Top 10 Adventure Activities to Experience in Auckland
KIWI: The Gems and Jewels of the Tutukaka Coast
AUSTRALIA, NSW: A South Coast & Southern Highlands Tasting Seduction
KIWI: Island’s in the Gulf
USA, SD: Famous Faces in Great Places
USA, MT: Montana’s Forgotten Ghost Towns
UAE: Abu Dhabi - More Than A Flight of Fancy
WESTERN SAMOA: In the Footsteps of Robert Louis Stephenson
TONGA: Vava’u Island Group
KIWI: Unpack, Inhale and Unwind – Breathing Easy on Auckland’s West Coast
KIWI: Waiheke Island – Paradise Found
USA, ID: Sun Valley Lodge, Ketchum
USA, ID: A Big City with a Small Town Heart
SOUTH KOREA: Temple Tourism Where Silence is Golden
AUSTRALIA, TAS: Hobart’s Half Dozen Treasures
AUSTRALIA, TAS: A Taste and a Tipple in Tassie
KIWI: Conjuring Up Some Matakana Magic
FIJI: Cavorting on the Coral Coast
USA, CA: Jamaica Bay Inn, Marina Del Rey
NEPAL: Kartwheeling in Kathmandu
KIWI: Going With The Flow - A Day on the Dart River
NEPAL: Eat Pray Hike – Life on a Himalayan Trail Part 2.
NEPAL: Eat Pray Hike – Life on a Himalayan Trail Part 1.
SINGAPORE: Capella Hotel, Sensosa Island
USA, HI: Hairpin Highway to Hana and Beyond
KIWI: Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown
ENGLAND: Haunted by Heathcliff - Yorkshire's Bronte Country
USA, CA: Handlery Union Square Hotel, San Francisco
KIWI: This Restless Land – Hiking the Tongariro Crossing & Mt. Ruapehu
KIWI: On My Bike - Mountain Biking and the Queenstown Bike Festival
ENGLAND: Mark it in Your Calendar – Visit Skipton, Yorkshire
SCOTLAND: A Scottish Highland Fling
REPUBLIC of IRELAND: Wrestling Wrasse on the Beara Peninsula
REPUBLIC of IRELAND: 48 Hours in Cork
ENGLAND: The Land of Romans, Myths and Medieval Castles
SCOTLAND: 48 Hours in Edinburgh
WALES: Wandering North Wales
USA, CA: In Yountville Pushing the Epicurean Envelope
ENGLAND: On The Trail of Lancashire’s Pendle Witches
THAILAND: Sky High in Bustling Bangkok
TAHITI: Lazy Hazy Days of Winter - Tahitii and Moorea
AUSTRALIA, QLD: In Seventh Heaven
VENEZUELA: Where Angels Dared To Tread
NORFOLK ISLAND: Isle of Exiles
NEW CALEDONIA: Flavours of New Caledonia
KIWI: The Wonder Country - Campervan Ventures in Southland
MALAYSIA, Sabah Borneo: In The Land of the Red Ape
AUSTRALIA, QLD: Taste of the Tropics

USA, WY: Unadulterated Wilderness - Yellowstone National Park

The Madison River is a chalkstream-course that is largely the same today as it was nearly 200 years ago when mountain man and fur trapper John Colter first stumbled upon the bizarre natural geothermal wonders of this region. Today it’s better known as Yellowstone National Park.

AUTHOR & PHOTOGRAPHER: ©Shane Boocock 2013

 

My artifitial fly drifted downstream across a few riffles, a deep holes and the dark, mossy, glassy-surface of the bourbon-coloured river where lurking below browns, rainbow, cutthroat and whitefish were waiting for a feed. Earlier I’d slipped away from our campsite at Madison Campground and walked to the waters edge of the river. It was wide and swept silently around an ox-bow bend that created an undercut banking. On the far side a small meadow gave way to lodgepole pine trees that had been burned by a forest fire on a rocky hillside.

 

The Madison River is a chalkstream-course that is largely the same today as it was nearly 200 years ago when mountain man and fur trapper John Colter first stumbled upon the bizarre natural geothermal wonders of this region. Today it’s better known as Yellowstone National Park.

 

I ‘d picked out an Elk Hair caddis fly and attached it to my 4x leader. This was my first time fly fishing without a guide since I’d been travelling in the Rockies. On the fourth cast a fish rose and snatched the fly as I instinctively snapped the rod tautly when suddenly a cutthroat trout leapt clear of the river, a few rays of sunlight glistening from the spray and the dripping water as my line tightened and the tip of my rod arched over. For anyone who takes fly-fishing seriously the Madison River is one of the finest fisheries in the USA.

 

My travelling buddy Mark, a writer form Sydney and I had arrived just after mid-day in Yellowstone National Park from the Grand Teton National Park south entrance, a spectacular drive beginning in Jackson Hole with the alluring backdrop of the spectacular Grand Teton Mountains as a backdrop. We drove for about 130 miles (200 km) to our campsite at Madison near the west entrance at an altitude of 6,806ft (2,074 m). On checking in the park rangers advised us it would dip below freezing that night.

 

On March 1st 1872, the US Congress set aside nearly 2.2 million acres of what is now Yellowstone thus creating what became the world’s first national park – for good measure it was signed into law by no other than President Ulysses S. Grant. Well before the birth of the modern environmental movement, Americans had quickly recognized that the snow-capped, bear inhabited mountains, deep cold lakes, trout filled rivers, buffalo plains and geothermal volcanic plateaus of Yellowstone were more than a little unique, a place containing more than 10,000 geysers, hot springs, prismatic pools, steam jets, mud volcanoes, huge forests, steaming geysers, crystalline lakes, thundering waterfalls and panoramic vistas.

 

This is a spectacular wildlife sanctuary, a region where on any one day you might spot black bears and grizzlies as they roam freely as do wolves, bison, coyotes, big horn sheep, moose; where bald eagles circle above herds of elk as mule deer graze in lush pastures. It’s also a place where ospreys are as keen on trout fishing as the many fishermen who visit the park – well over 50,000 fishing permits a year are issued to anglers. For hiking enthusiasts there are over 1,000 miles (1600 km) of backcountry trails. Roads and facilities take up less than three percent of the park; the rest is pure unadulterated wilderness.

 

As we departed for a full day tour of the park it started snowing and this was the start of summer. Heading north we aimed our El Monte RV towards Mammoth Hot Springs where the mineral-laden boiling water from deep beneath the earths crust bubbles and spurts to the surface building tier upon tier of cascading terraces, much like New Zealand’s famous Pink Terraces in Rotorua before they were destroyed. 

 

Yellowstone is worth spending at least four days in to fully appreciate the scenery and the wildlife.  Driving around Yellowstone is easy except for the frequent road delays caused by animals crossing the road, bison in particular cause huge traffic jams daily. We even saw one motorcycylist almost get headbutted by a bison who turned on a dime and charged his bike when he got too close. People who don’t use common sense get injured every year as wild animals are just that, wild.

 

At the Park Ranger Museum near Norris Geyser Basin housed in a log cabin a lone bison grazed on the grassy plain about 100 yards away. On entering we were greeted by Joan Meyer a Park Ranger who had retired but now volunteered to meet stragglers like us on the Yellowstone’s figure of eight circuit. “Know how to tell a grizzly from a black bear?” she asked. “If you’re chased up a tree and the bear comes up after you, it’s not a grizzly.” This wonderful museum is well worth visiting to learn about the historical content associated with the National Park Service. It is housed in an old patrol station, known as Norris Soldier Station built in 1908. It was named after Philetus W. Norris, a colourful former frontiersman and one time superintendent of Yellowstone. 

 

The most popular geysers and tourism hot spots are found around the loop roads that create a figure of eight in Yellowstone. Here are some of the highlights: the Midway and Lower Geyser Basin offer a good network of trails, the Norris Geyser Basin is always very popular as there are multiple loop trails to choose from. Mammoth Hot Springs is where you can drive a loop road on the Upper Terrace Drive, and Tower-Roosevelt is one of the few places in Yellowstone to go horseback riding. Nearly every visitor to the park will visit the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone where they can hike down to the Upper Falls or Lower Falls.

 

Then of course there’s the Old Faithful region. Old Faithful Geyser (it was the first one named in the park) blows about every 90 minutes and you can always tell when it’s getting close as all the available seating is usually taken early. It shoots out an estimated 32,000 litres of water to a height of between 32 m to 36 m.  Nearby is Old Faithful Lodge, the largest log built hotel in the world an a popular tourist attraction in its own right. Access to geysers and thermal mud pools are usually by raised boardwalks so good walking shoes are a requirement as many trails loop out many kilometres into steaming, sulfuric smelling basins.

 

Our second campsite was at Bay Bridge looked out across Yellowstone Lake at 7,735ft (2,358 m). On this night the temps dropped to 24f or -4 degrees Celsius and our picnic table the next morning had a veneer of hoarfrost coating it, but our faithful RV heater kicked in at around 4am so we survived the coldest night so far out of the four below-freezing campsites we stayed at in Yellowstone National Park.

 

We had booked a four hour fishing trip on Yellowstone Lake. Our fishing guide Eric Lane introduced himself as we cruised out of the dock at 8-o’clock well-wrapped up in cold weather gear.  Eric, originally from Michigan, is passionate about dry fly fishing, a man determined to find us a big one. He casually told us he had boated 437 trout for visitors in the 2012 season (late May to Nov 2nd) and the largest was 11 pounds (5 kg). Not bad statistics we thought.

 

In the depths of Yellowstone Lake lay some monster cutthroat trout and lake trout upward of 30 pound (13.5 kg). The most common form of fishing here is spinning big lures. At our first fishing spot Eric pointed out a bald eagle returning to it’s huge nest high in one of Stephenson Island’s many pine trees.

 

It took an hour before our first cutthroat was boated and even Eric admitted that the fishing so far was slow. During the morning we netted and released about six to eight fish. However on the last cast of the day I hooked a 22-inch (55 cm) cutthroat trout that tipped the scales at just over 4 pounds (1.8 kg) . . . after taking a few pictures we sent him home back into the depths of the lake. I returned back to our RV later that afternoon smiling as Canada geese flew overhead, one very happy camper.

 

 

Fact:

 

Camping vs Lodging:

 

If camping is not to your liking then staying at some of the park’s hotels and lodges is another option.

 

Closest to North Entrance:

At the northern entrance you’ll find Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins

 

Closest to West Entrance:

The closest lodging to the west entrance is the most famous hostelry in Yellowstone, Old Faithful Lodge, built of stone and huge logs in the early 1900s it of course has views of Old Faithful Geyser from the main lobby area. Nearby there is also Old Faithful Lodge Cabins with either private baths or budget style alternatives or Old Faithful Inn and for anyone planning on visiting out of season Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins are open right through winter.

 

Closest to Northeast Entrance:

At Tower-Roosevelt there are the Roosevelt Lodge Cabins.

 

Closest to South Entrance:

Grant Village has a lodging complex comprising six two-story buildings each offering 50 rooms.

 

Closest to East Entrance:

If you prefer staying in the grandeur of the 1920s then the restored Lake Yellowstone Hotel that was built in 1891 near Fishing Bridge is a perfect spot. There is even a four-piece orchestra (three violinists and a cello player) in summer to go with the evening cocktails.

 

For more information on Yellowstone fisheries go to: www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/fishing.htm

 

For more information on Yellowstone NP go to:

www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit or www.wyomingtourism.org

 

Assistance with outfitters, campgrounds, resorts and attractions was courtesy of Rocky Mountains International. Visit www.RMI-RealAmerica.com

 

Shane Boocock travelled to the United States courtesy of Fiji Airways ‘The Worlds Friendliest Airline’ who offer daily flights to Los Angeles via Nadi. 

Visit: www.fijiairways.com

If you would like to read this article in full or licence it for your own publication, please click here to contact Shane.