Monday, August 14, 2006

Travelogue - Yellowstone National Park

I just returned from a week's vacation at Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. If you have never been there, I highly recommend a visit. These are just some of the pictures I took.
This is Old Faithful Geyser at dawn. It isn't erupting at the moment, but the ever-present steam is drifting with the wind. Old Faithful erupts approximately every 92 minutes and is quite spectacular with the shooting water and the whooshing sounds.

This is an eruption; the stream can go as high as 180 ft, although this one was not that high. Still pretty cool to watch.

This is the site of another geyser - Grand - which is the tallest predictable geyser in the world. It goes 200 feet in the air and often erupts simultaneously with 2 other geysers in the same area. It erupts about once every 13 hours, but there is plus or minus 90 minutes for each predition. We sat on the benches waiting for 2 hours during the window of 5:30 to 8:30pm. Most of my group left but I stuck it out until 9pm, by which time it was way too dark to take any pictures. And it was getting quite cold, so I left. Grand finally went off at 9:15pm.

I took this picture of the sunset while waiting for Grand.

This is my husband and grandson walking on the boardwalk. Aren't they cute?

These are the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River.

This is the Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest spring in the Park. These colors are not exaggerated - they are truly this spectacular. The temperature range of this water is between 147 and 188 degrees Farenheit and the different temperatures determine which algae and bacteria are present.

I think this one is Morning Glory Pool, but I'm not certain.

One day we take a drive through Hayden Valley, where herds of bison can be found. The thing about bison is that they are not intimidated by anything and they're just like house pets in that they always want to be on the other side of where ever they are now. If there is a road, it must be crossed. Traffic has no option but to stop and let them cross. Of course, everybody is eager to see bison, so stopping is not a problem.

This is my husband and son, and they're not as close as it looks. It's not a good idea to approach the wildlife, even though they are quite accustomed to the presence of humans.

I think that bison were designed by the same committee that designed African wildebeests. And they make a most unattractive bleeting grunting sound that only another bison would find alluring.

Elk are also frequently seen in the park. This is a 12 point buck who happened to be grazing alongside the road. I stood sort of behind a small tree and took pictures. He suddenly stopped grazing and began to walk towards me. The tree no longer seemed to be much protection and I very slowly and quietly backed away. At this time of year the bucks are not aggressive, but in another month during mating season, being this close would be very dangerous to my health and well being.

Outside the west gate entrance of the park is the town of West Yellowstone, and in this town is the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. This place is a research center that rescues grizzlies and wolves and also provides opportunities for the public to see them up close, but not too close. As part of the research, the GWDC also is a testing facility. In order to keep bears and humans separate, it is important that bears not be able to get to human food. Garbage cans must be made sturdy enough to ensure that bears cannot get to the contents. Businesses that make such garbage cans test them with the grizzlies. The cans are filled with enticing food and the bears have the chance to work on them. Any can that lasts 90 minutes with the bears passes the test. This one didn't make it.

Next installment: Grand Teton National Park.


Gerrie said...

These are two of my favorite places. Thans for reminding me that I need to go back for another visit!!

Rayna said...

These photos are gorgeous, Cathy.
Thanks for posting them.

JulieZS said...

Cathy your photos are soooo inspirational! You could sell prints of some of those. I really want to go there next year, I'm thinking Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier would be a good tour.