Thursday, November 12, 2009

Road Trip Day 19- Geysers and Wildlife

If there is one thing that Yellowstone is known for, its geysers. There is more geothermal activity in Yellowstone than anywhere else on the planet. Just gazing out across Lake Yellowstone, it isn’t hard to find steam rising from hotspots along the shore.

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Any first visit to Yellowstone must include a trip to see Old Faithful. Not because it is the biggest or most amazing geothermal spectacle in Yellowstone, but because it an American right of passage.  Yes, its crowded and a bit of a let down in all honesty, but I still think it is an important part of the Yellowstone experience.  Personally, I enjoyed watching the geyser while gazing out of one of the giant windows of the Yellowstone Snow Lodge from the comfort of a cushioned chair. This experience is elevated even further with a chocolate ice cream cone from the cafeteria in hand.

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There is so much more to Geyser Basin than Old Faithful. The region is filled with bubbling pools and exploding geysers. There is a fantastic loop trail that will take you from Old Faithful to Morning Glory Pool and back around through many more geysers, springs, and pools. It is only a mile from Old Faithful to Morning Glory and there are plenty of great things to see along the way. The route to Morning Glory is paved and the route back is boardwalk so if you have little ones who aren’t up for the walk, you can bring your strollers. 

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We were lucky enough to stumble upon the eruption of Riverside Geyser, which occurs every 5-6 hours. It was really cool to watch the geyser explode directly into the Firehole River.   Of course there was one member of our family who was much more interested in the gravel than the geyser….

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I could not believe the colors in some of the pools. They looked like polished cross sections of beautiful stones. The colors are caused by algae who can live in certain water temperatures. Collages6

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Another great geothermal experience is the bubbling mud pots. There is something about the gurgling and spurting of hot mud that entrances me.  It even managed to hold the attention of two rambunctious two year olds for a few minutes.

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We couldn’t end our day without another visit to the Hayden Valley. It is truly a magical place filled with amazing beauty and spectacular wildlife. I highly encourage you to plan your visits to this special place to coincide with either sunrise or sunset when the animals are most active. You'll have the perfect lighting to get those shots for your next Christmas card or to put on photo mugs as a keepsake.

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On our trip back to the Lake Yellowstone Hotel, where we were staying, we saw a bunch of cars pulled over to the side of the road. Bear! People were creeping through the woods, cameras in tow, trying to get a closer look. I used my camera’s zoom to get a better view and was surprised by what I saw. The bear had looked small and thus appeared to be a black bear but on closer inspection, it was a juvenile grizzly!  This was my cue to get back in the car. Wherever a little grizzly is, a mamma is sure to be close by. Grizzly bears are much more aggressive than black bears and I was not about to be in the middle of a mother grizzly and her little one. I hope  nobody else was either…

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If you would like to see more great travel photos, check out Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday here.



16 comments:

Carolina said...

The photos are so serene. I'm with you on seeking the best viewing spots for Old Faithful, it makes all the difference.

Tim Marks said...

Really like the waterfall shot and the thermals. Good classic of Old Faithfull as well. The Griz shot is serendipitous, thank goodness for long lenses and crop sensors :)

Jen@TwoKidsandamap said...

I love the photos with the clouds reflecting in the water. We traveled several days through Yellowstone and never saw a bear! I am with Tim...good thing for long lenses!

marissa said...

wow I've never been drawn to yellowstone but your pics are amazing, it is now on my list

Lorraine said...

From one day of your road trip? I feel like I've just toured Yellowstone, unabridged! Phenomenal photographs!

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

Gorgeous! my favorite pics are of the pools...amazing colors.

Helly(Travel by the Calendar) said...

Awesome shots. We went all the way to Chile to see geysers, quite a different setting but still incredible to see. There is something enthralling about bubbling mud!

Dominique said...

We loved the geothermal pools as well...such amazing colors.
As for the grizzly photo...those are the times I'm happy for a sunroof on the car (long senses and crop sensors are all well and good...and Tim will tell you I spent a bunch of time popping up into the sunroof to take photos when we spotted bison, etc. near the road).

Amy @ The Q Family said...

Great pictures!!! I would love to visit Yellowstone soon and your blog will be a great resource for me. :)

kerry dexter said...

My favorite is the one of the bison.

glad you got to see the grizzly from afar. I met a bear in the Smokeys once, much more up close than you were, but fortunately we both decided to go in opposite directions!

thanks for taking us along on your trip.

TheWordWire said...

Oh man, I love Yellowstone -- that place is otherworldly. I love your comparison of the pools with cross-sections of polished stones. Perfect description. Thanks for sharing!

Marina K. Villatoro said...

I loved all your pictures but my favorite was the one about the bubbling mud pots look soooo great!

Sight Seer said...

Fantastic pictures! I also enjoyed the Geysers while in Yellowstone. We camped there for three days. The changing of scenery throughout the park still amazes me.

Spriggs Family said...

such gorgeous photos! Pictures like these make me miss living on the west coast.

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Jedediah said...

Gorgeous photos. This brings back memories, Yellowstone is one of my favourite places on earth (how can you miss something so much that you have seen only once?).
I second your opinion about the trail to the Morning Glory Pool, it's awesome. Take your time and you will see so many things.

I really enjoy browsing your blog, so many great things to see!