Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fabulous Yellowstone

When it was established in 1872 Yellowstone National Park was the first national park in the world. A visit here makes you realize what a wonderful decision this was. The diverse, natural environment includes rivers, lakes, falls, mountains, forests, meadows, the largest geothermal hot spot in the world and many, many animals. The large, central part of the park sits inside the collapsed caldera of an ancient super volcano that last erupted 640,000 years ago with an explosion several hundred times more powerful than Mount St. Helens. This is why there are so many geysers, hot springs and mud volcanoes in the park. The Yellowstone ecosystem extends beyond the park making it the largest such area in the lower 48 states. We arrived at Fishing Bridge Campground with Mike and Sherri and immediately began exploring with a drive through Hayden Valley to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.Our first stop was Mud Volcano, where boiling mud pots steam and smell of sulfur. It is so strange to see these large areas of earth that look like something out of a science fiction movie.

This is Dragon's Mouth Spring, a boiling, steaming, hissing and burping mud spring that really does make it seem like you are looking down the dragon's throat and smelling its bad breath.

A sure sign that animals are nearby is a traffic jam with many cars stopped on and along the road. They are commonly called buffalo jams because they are the most seen animal. I can't even imagine what it would be like during the summer months. Our first such stop was an osprey jam to see this huge bird. I also had my first case of lens envy as many of the photographers had big, big equipment.

This is the 109 foot Upper Falls at the entrance of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The 1000 foot deep canyon was carved by ancient glacial floods.Looking down the canyon from Artist Point under the setting sun sure shows where the name Yellowstone comes from.

Even though it was cool enough for jackets, Nanc, Jim, Sherri and Mike are enjoying the warm sun at Artist Point.

Nanc and I returned to the Grand Canyon to hike the North Rim Trail and a couple of side trails into the canyon. It looks really different in a different light. Here is the view of the canyon, river and Lower Falls from Inspiration Point.

This is looking down the canyon from the same spot.

The hike down to the brink of the Lower Falls rewarded us with this great view and the rainbows in the mist.

This is the view of the Lower Falls from Red Rock Point. Look carefully and you can see the people on the brink of the falls where we took the above picture.

On day two we drove to Old Faithful then out of the park to Earthquake Lake in Montana. Here is a post of our earlier visit to Earthquake Lake. We also had dinner and did a little shopping in West Yellowstone.

Here is the first eruption of Old Faithful that was not very high and did not last very long. The duration can be from one and a half to five minutes and height can vary from 106 to 180 feet but this geyser still goes off within ten minutes of the predicted time. We don't think Sherri was too impressed.This is the second eruption that was higher and lasted longer than the first one. She liked this one much better.Two historic figures, Sherri and Mike, in front of one of the historic Yellowstone tour buses at historic Old Faithful Inn.

Morning Glory Spring is one of the most colorful and is located near Old Faithful. The color has changed over the years because idiots have thrown coins and other junk into the spring. It has to be cleaned out every year. There are several more similar springs in the area.

Another of the many geysers on Geyser Hill near Old Faithful. The eruption of most are not as often, as big, or as predictable as Old Faithful. Some show their stuff daily while others may not erupt for years. Much of this is affected by the thousands of small earthquakes that occur in Yellowstone each year. Old Faithful Inn is pictured in the background.

On our return from West Yellowstone we were stopped in an elk jam. This big racked buck was with a couple of cows and a young elk. All this is only a glimpse of a wonderful week in beautiful Wyoming. There will be more to follow.


Jim and Bobbie said...

Beautiful, beautiful photos. Thank you for sharing.

Doing It On the Road(Part II) said...

Believe it or not the bull elk is probably only two years old, they are amazingly big! Great images of one of our favorite places.

Molly and Bob said...

Wonderful photos and post Jim! We were so awed by Yellowstone and cannot wait to return! It was wonderful seeing y'all thanks so much for your wonderful help in Gillette!! More great memories!! See you down the road!! Hugs!

Sherry and Charley Dilworth said...

Great pictures!! We love Yellowstone and have been there several times. We will probably be back someday.

Enjoy your trip.... be safe!