Tag Archive | Yellowstone National Park

West 2016: Yellowstone Tidbits

Day 8, 9 & 10, August 12, 13 & 14, 2016

Yellowstone is such a big park that even with the series of posts I have done, there were still things I wanted to share that didn’t seem to fit somewhere else – so here they are:

Continental Divides:

The Continental Divide is the line that goes down through the Americas, and separates the river systems that flow into the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.  The divide runs through Yellowstone National Park, and there are several places where they have signs showing the elevation of the divide at that point.

Mom and me at the Continental Divide

 

Me, Piddles and Elwell at another part of the Continental Divide

Fun cars:

This Ranger’s car was a Prius with a park scene!  He kept showing up wherever we were that day, so we joked that he was following us.

What a fun car!

 

Parkitecture:

The Old Faithful Inn is huge and hard to photograph, due to all the hordes of people roaming around.  Maybe next time I can get there early in the morning or late at night…  But I was in awe of this view up into the upper floors.  Wow!

The inside of the Old Faithful Inn

Lakes and Rivers:

Not all of the water in Yellowstone is a geothermal feature.  There are lakes and rivers that are stunning.  Lake Yellowstone is the largest Lake in Yellowstone, and also the largest lake above 7,000 feet in elevation in North America.  It is at 7,732 feet in elevation.

Lake Yellowstone

 

Another view of Lake Yellowstone

 

Me at Lake Yellowstone

 

The Shoshone River, flowing from Yellowstone to Cody, Wyoming

 

Piddles and Elwell enjoy Lake Lewis. They didn’t enjoy being attacked by ants…

 

Volcanic Eruptions:

Yellowstone is a land of volcanoes. One of the Visitor’s Centers had an amazing exhibit showing the size of the past volcanic eruptions of the Yellowstone volcanoes.  Think for a moment about the eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington State on May 18, 1980.  I felt it as a child, living a couple hundred miles away.  In the photo below, the small red cube in the corner of each of those larger cubes shows the amount of ashfall from Mount St. Helens.  The larger cubes are the amount of ashfall from the Yellowstone eruptions.  Wow.  Mind blown…

 

Yellowstone eruptions, compared to each other and to Mount St. Helens eruption

 

I am returning again to Yellowstone soon, so although this is the end of the series from my summer 2016 trip, there will be future Yellowstone posts I’m sure!  I hope you enjoyed.  Coming up – the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, and Grand Teton National Park!

 

West 2016: The Sad Story of Jelly

Day 9, Saturday, August 13, 2016

Into every life, a little trauma must fall.  And apparently, this was the trip for car mishaps…

When Mom and I got our car at the airport, we were assigned to a white Subaru with a little damage.  It had been pelted in a hailstorm a few weeks previously – great conversation starter by the way…

Then there was the unfortunate, may or may not have happened, mishap with the car rolling away when I left to take some photos…

And then there was Jelly…  Poor, poor Jelly…

One of the mornings we visited Yellowstone, we drove up earlier than usual to see the early morning wildlife.  We got up and left Cody for the hour long drive to the park.  It was a beautiful drive on a beautiful morning…

 

Early in the drive, there was a bunny on the side of the road.  He was facing AWAY from the road and the car, and I actually spoke outloud to him and told him not to turn around… Alas, it was too late…  The bunny, who we later named Jelly (for the old Yogi Bear cartoons – Jellystone Park), turned around and jumped into the car.  I heard the thunk…  But I saw nothing in the rearview…

We kept driving, and head in the entrance gate, show the ranger our pass and exchange pleasantries and make our way to the first restroom in the park.  On the way back to the car, I discover why I never saw Jelly in the rearview…

 

 

UGH…

So I do what any self-respecting woman with a travel blog and a morbid sense of humor would do, and I get out the camera…

 

 

My mom returns to find me documenting my find…

Being the no-nonsense mom that she is (she also has a pretty morbid sense of humor), she figures I’m not about to remedy the issue, so she takes matters into her own hands…  So I documented that too…

 

This has to be one of my all-time favorite pictures of my mom.  In 150 years, when she is no longer with us, I am totally using this pic at her memorial service…

 

 

A few days later, we discovered that we are actually unwitting felons, because we transported game into the park without a permit… Sorry about that, Yellowstone peeps!

 

Rest in Peace Jelly…

West 2016: Yellowstone Wildlife

Day 8, 9 & 10, August 12, 13 & 14, 2016

In my last post, I shared several photos of the gorgeous bison at Yellowstone.  Although bison are the most plentiful large mammals in the park, they are not the only wildlife, and I had the good fortune to see many others.

We saw about a half dozen elk, enjoying the “elk candy” grass at Mammoth Hot Springs.

We saw lots of birds, including Trumpeter Swans

 

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans

 

Canada Geese

 

Canada Geese

 

Ravens

 

A raven just getting out of the bath…

 

And Osprey!

 

An osprey nest with young ones!

 

We saw some butterflies, but they mostly didn’t slow down enough for a photo…

 

I believe this is a Comstock’s Callippe Fritillary

 

We didn’t see any bears, but they are around!

We didn’t see any bears – just a few closures signs

 

And we were treated to the distant sighting of two Gray Wolves.  One was black (in the center of the photo) and the other gray.  This was the first time I have ever seen wolves in the wild – what an amazing experience!

 

We saw two wolves – they were very far away, so this is the best I could do in photos…

 

Yellowstone was an unforgettable experience for me, with my love of animals.  I am so excited for my next trip there!

 

 

West 2016: Yellowstone Bison

Day 8, 9 & 10, August 12, 13 & 14, 2016

Yellowstone is well known for its wildlife – it would be nearly impossible to visit the park and not see at least several of the iconic Yellowstone bison.  But there are many other animals in the park as well; other large mammals, birds, fish and reptiles.

We were fortunate enough to see a lot of wildlife on our trip, and I want to share them with you!  Since bison were the most plentiful of the animals we saw – here’s a whole post of them.  Enjoy!

 

West 2016: Fort Yellowstone

Day 9, Saturday, August 13, 2016

Yellowstone National Park was the first National Park in the United States, created almost 45 years before the National Park Service was created.  In the early days of the park, poaching and vandalism were huge problems so the U.S. Army, most specifically Company M of the 1st U.S. Cavalry, was sent in to restore order and get things under control.  Between 1891 and the early 1900s, Fort Yellowstone was established and grew, with 35 buildings still surviving today.

The Fort is in the Mammoth Hot Springs area of the park, along with the Mammoth Hotel, which is one of the lodging options in the park (with hot springs!). The area also boasts the Mammoth Terraces, which are terraces created from travertine stone.  The stone is originally limestone, but becomes travertine due to the precipitation of calcium carbonate from the hot springs waters.  So in case you wondered where are those floors in public buildings came from, it wasn’t Yellowstone.  But the same kind of stone…

We visited in order to check out the terraces, as well as to see the historic buildings at the fort.  And, of course, to see elk.  Let me explain…  Back in the 1880s, the Army planted grass at the fort, to spruce things up and to cut down on the dust.  Well, as it turns out, the elk LOVE this grass! The ranger described it as ‘elk candy’.  You can’t beat elk candy!  We saw about a half dozen elk during the course of our visit, including a calf, and a couple of yearlings.  And, of course, we found tourists being dumb and getting way too close to the elk…

Mama elk with her baby! With spots!

 

Yearling Elk – with crazy Tourists (FYI – I was in a car, with a high zoom…)

Mom and I stopped in at the Visitor’s Center, which has a museum downstairs that has specimens of the animals found in the park, as well as an exhibit where you can compare the various types of horns and antlers of these animals.

We also toured around with a walking tour map and looked at the various historic buildings.  It was a cool place!

West 2016: Yellowstone Waterfalls

Day 8, 9 & 10, August 12, 13 & 14, 2016

Yellowstone has a lot of waterfalls.  It makes sense; there are several rivers in Yellowstone, and they each have quite a few falls.  In total, 45 of the falls in Yellowstone are named, and there are hundreds more unnamed waterfalls within the park.  The tallest, Silver Cord Cascade, is 1,200 feet tall; it is a horsetail type waterfall.  The tallest plunge type waterfall is the Lower Falls of Yellowstone Falls, at 308 feet.

Lower Yellowstone Falls – 308 feet

Mom and I went to see the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.  It certainly isn’t as spectacular as the actual Grand Canyon, but it is quite impressive in its own right.  It was well worth a visit.  The canyon begins at Yellowstone Falls, and extends 24 miles downstream.  It ranges between 800 and 1,200 feet deep, and is between 1/4 and 3/4 mile wide.  And to be honest, the actual Grand Canyon doesn’t have waterfalls like this!

Yellowstone Canyon – view from the Brink of the Lower Falls

There are hikes on both the North and South Rims of the Canyon, which can either be done as an out and back or as a thru-hike if you use two vehicles.  I didn’t do either of them on this trip, but they are definitely something I want to do when I go back!

The first written descriptions of the canyon came in 1869, but Native Americans had surely seen the canyon, as well as fur trappers traveling through the area.  The canyon contains two impressive waterfalls, the Upper Yellowstone Falls, at 109 feet, and the Lower Yellowstone Falls, at 308 feet.  There are numerous viewpoints to get a glimpse of both falls, and several hikes nearby.

Upper Yellowstone Falls – 109 feet

 

Me with Lower Yellowstone Falls

I did the Brink of the Lower Falls hike, which takes you down several switchbacks to the point where the Lower Falls begins its fall.  The trail is 0.9 miles round trip, with a descent on the way there, so obviously you have to climb back up on the way out.  It was worth the trip!  Mom wasn’t up for it, so a nice man took my picture when I got to the viewpoint.

The Brink of the Lower Falls Trail

 

The Brink of the Lower Falls

 

The bottom of the Lower Falls, from the Brink of the Lower Falls Viewpoint

 

Me at the Brink of the Lower Falls – Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in the distance

Next time I am there, I would love to see more of the waterfalls and do more of the hikes to get a closer view!

West 2016: Yellowstone Mud Pots

Day 8, 9 & 10, August 12, 13 & 14, 2016

Yellowstone’s most famous mud pots are probably the Fountain Paint Pots in the Lower Geyser Basin.  They are colored by the state of oxidation of the iron in the mud. When the weather is wetter and cooler the mud pot has a more soupy mud, which dries out over the summer as the weather gets hotter.

When I visited, the mud just seemed gray.  I don’t know that I noticed reds, browns and yellows in the mud there.  I did like watching the bubbling of the mud…

Fountain Paint Pots

 

Nearby though there is another mud pot with some red color.  Later in the summer as the water table goes down, Red Spouter becomes a fumarole, hissing steam.  In this picture, you can see that there is steam coming from it.

Red Spouter – another mud pot

When I went, Mom hung out in the car for this one, so I went to go see the mud pots by myself.  They were popular, and there were a ton of people there!