Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day one in Yellowstone - Old Faithful and more

Here we are driving to Yellowstone through Grand Teton National Park to meet Steve and Tahna and Dale and Mo with their families. We had set up our meet time and were driving along when we got a text from Jared (whose phone was the only one working there) that they would be late.

Well we thought we would get some time at Old Faithful before they got there.

Our drive was beautiful but we found out it was pretty slow and long too. Parts of the road through the park were narrow and some weren't even paved!

Finally we arrived at Yellowstone right on time...well kinda.

We found out the directions given to us got us to the entrance on time...from the entrance to Old Faithful was another hour.

Sorry guys now we were the ones that were running late.

We gave the kids a camera to let them get a view of Yellowstone through their eyes.

We had to get after Jacob for taking a picture from the backseat of the park ranger. She kept looking at him weirdly like we were doing some kind of undercover investigation...or stalking her... she probably couldn't figure out which.

Picture number 2

Picture number 3....and done.

He didn't want to hold the camera anymore.

When we met up with family they had already staked out a spot and were getting ready for Old Faithful to spout. The Visitor's center had the park ranger's prediction of the next time it would erupt (plus or minus 10 minutes)

and so we had Camera's pointed and ready...

We saw smoke and some of this...the appointed time came and went...was this all there was to see???

We're all waiting...silent...

A line of hundreds...

Until the real show begins!

All I can say is Wow.

We find out later that the boiling, steaming water being spouted here represents rain and snow from hundreds of years before. Amazing.

Evidence that

We were here!

There was hundreds of people around and this Buffalo walks nonchalant through them like it's no big deal. They would crack me up when they would do that.

Now that we saw Old Faithful we thought we hike around some and explore.

We thought we were going to walk around some of the other gysers (flat) but instead we followed the guys who found a trial to a lookout point (steep)...

with some resting...

and some cousin asistance...

Most of us made it to the top.

Our fearless photographer who we were afraid was going to fall off the ledge trying to take the above picture. (He kept leaning back over the drop off!)

We had a great view of Old Faithful and it was getting ready to blow again
soon but we decided to head back down to the trail to meet the ones that didn't come up with us. As we were walking down we could hear screams and cheers as the gyser blew.

Our crowd was silent...guess we had a dud audience :)

After we got back some of us took the walkway we missed the first time to explore the other stuff around Old Faithful. Afterward we took a break to eat some ice cream and cool off.

After Old Faithful we drove back to West Thumb Geyser Basin to explore another spot and spotted some elk hanging out along the road.

West Thumb Geyser Basin was right next to West Thumb on Yellowstone Lake.

(We didn't appreciate how large the lake was until later)

Mud pit

I loved the amazing colors in the water. Bacteria that loved these hot waters and seem to thrive in them give the geysers their color.

I loved the elevated boardwalks that they had everywhere. It made it easy to hike and to see everything without getting burned to death (there were signs everywhere to stay on the trail and there was never a question of where the trail was :)

Yellowstone Lake on one side...

And hot springs on the other.

At some point millions of years ago this whole bay had exploded.

Instead of normal volcanos that we are more familiar with Yellowstone is a caldera that exploded 3 times as long as 2 million years ago blowing out a large section of land that created ash clouds that covered most of the United States. It had some of the largest vocanic eruptions in history!

In the park the earth's crust is only 2 to 3 miles thick versus the normal 25 to 30 miles thick which is why there is so many geothermal features....before we came I never knew this!

Like this hole that happened to be covered by the lake at the time. I guess Indians and then tourists used this hot spring to cook their fish.

Catch your fish in the lake and then without taking it off the line plunk it in here and it was cooked for dinner.

The problem was this was damaging the structure and not to mention people kept getting burned so...that was off limits.

I guess you have to cook your fish the old fashion way now.

It was fun to explore with cousins...

Lot of cousins!!

These trees on the fringes were fried by the hot water and their "bobby socks" or the white ring at the bottom of them are the minerals that the tree soaked up from the water.

I just loved the colors!

After exploring West Thumb we split up from Steve and Dales family so they could go back to their campsite and get dinner and relax. We were staying in a cabin near Old Faithful for the night so we headed back that way and saw some of the the things we didn't get to see before.

We visited The Fountain Paint Pots. Even though their wasn't any brilliant colors or spouting geysers...


the oozing, bubbly, mud popping and plopping, squirting and spitting into the air then dropping it back down was interesting to watch.

Then we hit Midway Geyser Basin which I liked because we didn't have to wait for this geyser to blow....it was going the whole time.

One "hot" family (hee hee hee)

Then we hit Black Sand Basin....by this time the kids were winding down.

Close view...Crazy!

Taylor decided to come with me to check it out.

It looked like we were on another planet...or eat least one that was just being created.

Taylor couldn't resist

Jacob said he was done seeing geysers he said "You've seen one geyser, you've seen them all. 

What?? I didn't agree to me...it was fascinating!

During the winter all the animals come to these places in Yellowstone to eat because the hot ground, and hot water melt the snow and allow them to eat green stuff that would normally be covered until spring. Maybe thats why there were so many animals here.

Buffalo on the way back to our cabin.

After exploring we checked into our cabin it was small, no airconditioning, no TV, radio or phone but it had electricity, a hot shower and kept us away from the mosquitos!

By this point it was pushing 8:00 and everyone was hungry.

Food options were limited  in the park. No fast food, no big supermarkets so we opted for the cafeteria where we could pick what we wanted to eat.

Yum...we all slept good that night.

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