Thursday, June 4, 2015

June 4 Yellowstone National Park

 Lauren and I woke up to birds singing, and morning light peeking into our tent. I cooked pancakes and bacon over a fire (Really a metal fire disk type thing which is super great!)
Our first destination was Old Faithful. We stopped along the way several times to see interesting sights, and take lots of pictures.  Then we eventually made it to the geyser about 10am.
We waited for it to errupt, which happened about 10:45.  Even when it was quiet, steam was billowing out.  At first just small spurts of water bubbled up, then died back down.
The spurts got larger, then it was spraying water high into the air.  What a truly stunning sight to see water gushing out, spraying high into the air, with mist and steam blowing off to the side.
Next we wanted to go around the entire loop of road, but the southern part was closed.  We still drove quite a bit around it, and saw plenty of sights.
One interesting sight was the many hot springs, and random small geysers we saw.
The hot springs are very sulferous, and smell quite awful, sort of like rotting eggs.
The hot springs are all over, steaming, and bubbling boiling water onto the surface of the ground.  The hot water quickly spreads out, running in rivulets to the nearst stream or river.
Wherever the hot water runs, mineral deposits form, and certain species of bacteria abound.  Some are red-these eat iron.
Others green-these I think are mixed with or part of algae. Some spots are a bright blue-I don't know why.  We walked the insides of a colapsed volcano, seeing the hot water bubble all over the ground.
Some of the places we drove were flat, some very steep. Long, dead, sun-bleached pine stalks lay all over the mountain sides from a fire that apparently happened in the late 80's.
New trees have grown, but they are still small.
We didn't see many types of wildlife, but did a few including many bison, a fox, some deer, and a few birds.
Bison abounded, standing sometimes, curled up in the sun napping other in other places.  Bison are large, and fascinating, but somewhat ugly creatures.
They are a deep brown, and their bottom halves appear smooth, while their tops are ragged and matted.  We also saw a fox, and some deer.
The many rivers and streams are very stunning to view.  Some of the rivers were rough waters, carved into rock, others calm, and clear, flowing through grassy slopes.
I had several chances to take photos of waterfalls, the largest of which dumped water 308 feet straight down.  This particular waterfall was in the middle of a indescribably large canyon.
I looked at it, and took some photos, but I was much to frightened to spend time climbing down steps, and hiking narrow trails on the edge to get a closer view.
It was very breathtaking to be sure, but I do not like heights at all, and this thousands of feet almost straight down into a river at the far away bottom of the canyon was quite to much for me.
Lauren was adventurous, and climbed many paths, and steps up and down to several overlooks.
I took some photos of deer while she did this. I was right next to the car, so when the rain started pouring down I did not get wet.  Lauren had quite a hike back, and got nearly drenched.
The rain stopped soon, and we headed back to our campsite for the night.
Along the way back we saw a mother bison with her young, trotting down the middle of the road, causing much traffic. We stopped to gather some firewood just before we got back.
When we actually got back to our tent, I cooked burgers, and broccoli, and ate a bunch of pickles.  We built a small fire just for fun, and then the sun was setting, and time for bed had arrived!
All this walking, hiking, seeing, and driving wore us out!  What an amazing experience!
**After I wrote this, we decided the night was much to young (and bright!) to be sleeping. We drove back to Old Faithful to watch it errupt once more at 9:25.  Seeing it at dusk was an amazing sight.  We also saw an elk for the first time, and a pair of swans**

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