We got up this morning rather late by our standards, had a little breakfast, and then walked over to the Riverside Inn to pick up our rental jeep. It was quite a different experience than the usual rental pickup, as Angela and Rodney (who helped us) seemed more like friends than counter clerks. The whole process was both pleasant and painless, not a hitch anywhere in the process. Within 30 minutes or so, after Rodney walked us through a familiarization, we were driving out in our jeep. We took an easy and familiar road today (the road to Yankee Boy Basin, which is where I took the shot at right), partly to let me get familiar with the “feel” of this machine that is so much smaller than the LandCruiser I'm most familiar with. After a few miles, I was feeling pretty confident in it.
Our overwhelming impression from today's trip was water.
This year's heavy snowpack is melting, and the runoff is visible everywhere. Every cleft in the mountains has a stream in it. Streams we remember as rivulets a foot or two wide are raging rivers. Water is sluicing off the mountainsides from places that don't look like likely sources of water at all. Forests have turned into marshlands, some of them with a foot or more of standing water. It's nothing at all like the dry-floored forests we remember from our visit a few years ago.
Yankee Boy Basin is mostly above 11,000', and it's too early for it to be in bloom. We see a super-abundance of plant life bursting out of the ground, but very little is in bloom. We did see some, though, as you can see in the photos below.
As far as wildlife, all we saw today were marmots. Lots
of marmots. We also saw a few deer. We did see a very few birds (mostly crows), but no lizards or snakes, and no other mammals. I'm guessing it's still too early in the season...
We also took a couple of short side trips, just to see what was open. First we tried to go up to Governor Basin, but we were turned around in short order by snow drifting over the road. Then we drove for a mile or so down the road to Imogene Pass, which was clear but wet (nothing hard to get through, though). We'll be coming back to both areas before the trip is over.
Ok, now for the plant and flower photos. There are only a few of these that I can identify...
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