Thursday, July 25, 2013

Travelogue: Day 4, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

The National Parks: America’s best idea. –Ken Burns

8:47 am
Good morning, Montana! West Yellowstone is a fun touristy town, but today we're going to the main attraction — Yellowstone National Park. I can't wait!

10:56 am
We've checked out of our hotel, got everything loaded in the car and we're foraging for food. The continental breakfast left a lot to be desired, especially for the non-dairy eaters.

11:32 am
Food: check.
Gas: check.

And I've decided to go back and get those earrings made from moose antlers.

Pete & Vicki Gould go out in the spring and pick up antlers, which are naturally shed at that time. Then they make pretty things from them. Lots of the designs had a very distinct Native American flavor to them. I picked a fairly subtle pair, which I think will be good to wear any time. I love the pretty turquoise accent.

11:58 am
We're off on a treasure hunt. Mr. Bug thinks Forrest Fenn might have hidden a million dollars in gold near Hebgen Lake. It is in the opposite direction of Yellowstone Park, but it should be fun to have a look around.

12:38 pm
Hebgen Lake. Beautiful, no?

In 1959, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit Hebgen Lake. Part of the highway that ran through the area fell right off into the lake. As a result of the shifting earth, the water in the lake appeared to tilt. Several cabins came off their foundations and were set adrift. The earthquake caused the capacity of the lake to increase by 2.6 billion gallons and moved the shoreline of the lake; boat docks were left high and dry on one side, while dry land on the opposite side became part of the lake.

12:46 pm
Mr. Bug has found a trail to a lookout over the river that flows from Hebgen Lake. He thinks that the "F" created by the change in terrain on the mountain behind him is a clue to the treasure. The river in the bottom right of the collage runs for miles and miles and is famous for fly fishing. As we walked along the trail to get there, we saw tons of the black and white butterflies and when one finally landed, I had to get a picture.

Mr. Bug was satisfied with this scouting trip and we're on the road again.

1:51 pm
We are now entering Yellowstone National Park. We have been warned to be bear aware.

1:54 pm
Welcome to Wyoming!

2:28 pm
We are at the Lower Geyser Basin. There is a raised wooden walkway that allows you to see all kinds of neat geothermal and hydrothermal activity. On the left, hot water has seeped up to ground level. The temperature is just right for bacterial growth, which gives it that pretty caramel color. The top right photo is of Celestine Spring, which, as you can see, is boiling hot {temperatures above 200˚}, and gives off a strong sulfurous odor. I did my best to keep notes, mental and written, but I'm not exactly sure what that bit of muddy water is called in the bottom right picture. But it was pretty interesting.

On the top left, the Bug Clan is standing in front of a morning geyser. It continuously spit hot water and was really fun to watch. The top right is Silex Spring. It is fairly deep. The orange on the ground behind the spring is bacteria growing in the warm water. On the bottom, the hot water seeps up through the ground and flows downhill. It kills any vegetation it comes in contact with. I think the white tree trunks are really pretty.

3:08 pm
1 mile to Old Faithful! So. Excited.

3:22 pm
We've found a parking spot and were going to the Old Faithful Museum and Information Station. Objective: bathroom.

3:24 pm
The signs say that Old Faithful is erupting in 1 minute. New objective: find Old Faithful.

3:25 pm
Just as we came into the museum, Old Faithful went off. This picture is through the observation window in the building. Amazing. When does it go off again?

4:36 pm
We've filled our bellies and had a look around the General Store. It's time to see if Old Faithful is on schedule.

4:53 pm
The signs say the next eruption should be about now.

Waiting . . .

4:56 pm
False start

5:11 pm
After several stops and starts, we finally get the big show.

5:24 pm
In the two areas we stopped at today, the Lower Geyser Basin and Old Faithful, we saw license plates from 30 of the 50 states: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii {yes, really. It is more common than you think}, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin. We also saw plates from three provinces in Canada: Alberta, Québec and Saskatchewan. We weren't really even trying. We only read license plates from one side of the aisles we drove down. It was a fun game to play.

Time to move on {although I'd really love to stay and explore more}.

5:53 pm
Continental Divide, elevation 8262 ft above sea level. This is the point at which water on one side of the divide flows into the Pacific Ocean and water on the other side flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

5:56 pm
We just passed a group of bikers. They have saddle bags and it looks like they are in it for the long haul. I wonder how long they have been travelling and what their destination is, or if they are just enjoying today's journey. I'm also super impressed that they are chugging along up this hill instead of pushing their bikes.

5:58 pm
Squirrel. Or was it a chipmunk that just darted out in the road in front of us.

It is my turn to drive. I'm trying to keep myself occupied.

6:01 pm
Continental Divide, elevation 8391 ft above sea level. Weren't we just there?

6:13 pm
Continental Divide, elevation 7988 ft above sea level. Apparently, this road snakes back and forth a little.

6:26 pm
Yellowstone Lake. This is now the main screen on my iPhone.

The shoreline was only about 50 feet from the road, but it was a different world. The sound of the waves hitting the shore was so peaceful.

6:43 pm
Lewis Falls

6:59 pm
Now leaving Yellowstone National Park.

8:38 pm
We're staying in Grand Teton Village tonight. We've just checked into our hotel.

We went to Yellowstone when I was a kid. I'm not exactly sure how old I was; perhaps 7 or 8. We slept in a rough rider cabin, much to the annoyance of a squirrel who had squatter's rights on the place. The two things I remember most from that trip are seeing the mud pots and visiting the Morning Glory Pool. I wasn't sure what to expect for this trip and hoped we'd be able to see and do a lot while we were there. We didn't really have time to do Yellowstone justice on this trip and part of me is really sad about that. I forgot that Google knows everything, which is helpful for planning. Even so, we {meaning Mr. Bug} are kind of a fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants operation around here and only booked our hotels for last night and tonight five days ago {Mr. Bug's brother & his wife were in charge of the reunion and took care of plans for Monday & Tuesday}. Minimal planning notwithstanding, what we did see was absolutely amazing! I had a really good time and I would definitely love to come back. Soon.


Shay said...

Love those earrings – very cute.You have to treat yourself ever y now and then .

Thank you for the Old Faithful Geyser show – I really felt like I was there and part of it ! And your lake picture is glorious!

Paulette said...

Thanks for sharing all the great pictures of your Yellowstone experience. I've really enjoyed your travelogue. Great earrings! You will remember your trip every time you wear them - the best kind of souvenir.