Sunday, October 16, 2016

Yellowstone Geysers & Hot Springs

August 20th was our last day in Yellowstone National Park, and we used it to visit as many of the geysers and hot springs as we could. I should preface this post by saying that there are so many geysers and hot springs in Yellowstone that I couldn't begin to share everything we saw on that day. Consider this a sampling.

Terrace Springs

Milbert's Tortoiseshell Butterfly, Flame Skimmer Dragonfly, Mormon Fritillary Butterfly
(all seen in Biscuit Geyser Basin)

A scene in Biscuit Geyser Basin

Sapphire Pool in Biscuit Geyser Basin

Jewell Geyser at rest and the same geyser erupting

Osprey, carrying fish, flying above Firehole River in Upper Geyser Basin

Castle Geyser at rest

Giant Geyser
(Last two eruptions were September 28, 2015 and January 22, 2010.)

Firehole River

Morning Glory Pool
Morning Glory Pool was named for it's once-blue color that resembled the deep blue of its namesake flower. Apparently, over the years, people have tossed coins and other debris into the pool. The debris became imbedded in the sides and vent of the spring. As its temperature dropped, orange and yellow bacteria that formerly colored only the periphery of the spring now spread toward its center, changing the color of the water to green. It's still beautiful, but not with the same beauty that it once had.

Riverside Geyser
Riverside Geyser is always a favorite of ours. Situated on the bank of the Firehole River, it's one of the most picturesque geysers in the national park. It's eruptions, spaced about 5-1/2 to 6-1/2 hours apart, last about 20 minutes. If you look closely at the above photos, you'll see a rainbow in the mist.

Daisy Geyser
Daisy was our last geyser of the day. After that, we enjoyed supper at the Old Faithful cafeteria, then headed back to our motel in West Yellowstone. The West Entrance Road is often a good place to view elk in the late afternoon and evening. We didn't see any large groups on this night, but a lone female in the river was worth a stop.

Elk along West Entrance Road
Today's video is a little longer than usual (about 5 minutes total), but I wanted to give you the opportunity to experience the sights and sounds of bubbling hot springs and erupting geysers. Hope you find these things as fascinating as Doug and I do.

We left Yellowstone the next day and drove to Estes Park, Colorado, where we spent the last two days of our vacation. More on that next time.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Upper Loop of Yellowstone

Having toured Yellowstone's Lower Loop on August 18, we drove the Upper Loop the next day.

This is a scene on the approach to Mammoth Hot Springs, on the west side of the Upper Loop.

Gardiner, Montana, at the North Entrance of the National Park

Petrified Tree, between Mammoth and Tower Junction

Soda Butte in Lamar Valley

The sign at Soda Butte reads, in part: "This travertine calcium carbonate mound was formed more than a century ago by a hot spring. Only small amounts of hydrothermal water and hydrogen sulfide gas currently flow from this once more-prolific spring."

Lamar Valley is a good place to look for wildlife. On this day, we saw only one pronghorn antelope (sorry, no photos), buffalo, and a lone coyote pictured below:

Coyote in Lamar Valley

Calcite Springs Overlook, between Tower Junction and Canyon Village

Unique Cliff Formations Seen from Calcite Springs Overlook

Part of the Burn Area From the 1988 Fires. Recovery is slow.

Doug and Me at Upper Falls Overlook

Watching for Wolves in Hayden Valley
Apparently, some of the people in the above photo had seen wolves earlier; but the wolves had disappeared during a rain shower. The viewers had been waiting for over an hour for a reappearance. Doug and I joined them for awhile; but, as darkness fell, we gave up and started back to smoky West Yellowstone for the night.

And now, some video clips from this day in Yellowstone:

Geysers and hot springs were the focus of our next day in Yellowstone. But I'll save that for another post. 

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Yellowstone's Lower Loop

When we arrived in West Yellowstone the night of August 17, there was ash falling from the sky from two nearby wildfires. The streets were filled with smoke the next morning.

20161006 Yellowstone's Lower Loop
Smoke in West Yellowstone
The smoke made breathing a little difficult. Our motel didn't have air conditioning, and we couldn't leave our motel room windows open because of the smoke. Thankfully, it cooled down enough at night to be comfortable in the room. We half expected a knock on the door in the middle of the night to tell us we were being evacuated, but that knock never came.

The roads in Yellowstone National Park form a sort of figure 8, with an upper loop and a lower loop. Today's post features scenes from Yellowstone's Lower Loop, all from August 18.

PicMonkey Collage_Gibbon_Falls
At Gibbon River Falls

Lower Falls from Artist Point

Looking the other way down the canyon from Artist Point

View of the canyon from the brink of Lower Falls on the North Rim

An osprey nest, located on a pinnacle in the canyon, can be seen from Lookout Point. There was one osprey in the nest, and Doug just happened to catch a second one coming in for a landing. I never even saw that one and was surprised to find Doug's shot of it on the camcorder. But I did catch a series of shots of one of them leaving the nest and flying down the canyon.

PicMonkey Collage_Osprey
Our last destination that day was the Firehole Lake Drive. It's the home of Great Fountain Geyser, and we were hopeful of seeing that one erupt. But it's next eruption was estimated for the wee hours of the morning. We continued on our drive to Firehole Lake, though. Actually, there was no choice since it's a one-way road.

White Dome Geyser on Firehole Lake Drive

Firehole Lake
The colorful sky in the last two photos is due in part to sunset and clouds, but smoke from the fires near West Yellowstone also contributed.

Lastly, I've put together some video clips from this day in Yellowstone:

The next day, we toured the Upper Loop; but that will be another post.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Tetons & Yellowstone

When we left Dubois, Wyoming on August 17, we drove to and through Grand Teton National Park, on our way to Yellowstone National Park. The views of the Teton Mountains were much clearer on this day than they had been when we made a day trip there a few days earlier.

Teton Mountains at Jackson Lake

At Jackson Lake Dam

Along Moose-Wilson Road

Leaving the Tetons and entering Yellowstone via the south entrance, we stopped for a few pictures at Lewis Falls.

Lewis Falls
Later, after a stop for supper at the cafeteria at Lake Village in Yellowstone, we drove through Hayden Valley on our way to our motel in West Yellowstone. Buffalo on the roadway were causing huge traffic jams.

Yellowstone Traffic Jam Caused by Buffalo 

Following is video footage from this day, including the Tetons, Lewis Falls, and a Yellowstone traffic jam.

I'll have more from Yellowstone next time.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Our Last Day in Dubois

August 16th was our fifth and final day in Dubois, Wyoming. On this day, we went for the second scenic drive suggested to us by the woman at the reservation desk at the Longhorn Ranch Resort.

Trail Lake Road is a gravel road which leads past a series of lakes and through the 12,181-acre Whiskey Basin Wildlife Habitat Management Area, home of the largest herd of Bighorn Sheep in the world. Unfortunately, at this time of year, the sheep were up at higher elevations, and we didn't see them. Whiskey Basin is their winter range. A good reason to return for a winter visit.

Torrey Lake Along Trail Lake Road

Trail Lake Road

Trail Lake Road

At the end of the road, at the foothills of the mountains, we found a lovely wooded area which made the perfect site for a picnic lunch and a little reading.

Our Reading Spot at the End of Trail Lake Road

Back at the Longhorn Ranch Resort, we found this little visitor 

Part of the Business District in Downtown Dubois

That night, John and Betty (our chariot-racing friends) took us out for supper. We had planned to eat at the Cowboy Cafe, but it was closed that night; so we wound up at the Nostalgia Bistro, where we spent an enjoyable evening of conversation during our meal. 

The next day, we left Dubois for a drive through the Tetons and a four-day stay in West Yellowstone, Montana, while touring Yellowstone National Park. 

More on that next time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Celebrating Our 29th Anniversary in Dubois

August 15th was our 29th anniversary. We were spending an extra two days in Dubois, Wyoming because we couldn't get into our Yellowstone lodging until the 17th, but we moved to a different motel in Dubois for the final two days of our stay. This motel was less expensive, had air conditioning, and served a breakfast, which, though not elaborate, was sufficient to avoid the expense of eating that meal in a restaurant.

The new lodging, the Longhorn Ranch Resort, was a combination of an RV park, campground, and lodging facilities, situated beside the Wind River. The first thing we did after checking in was to take a walk through the RV Park, and we were rewarded with sighting a mule deer doe and her fawn across the river.

Mule Deer. Look at those ears!

The lady at the desk at Longhorn Ranch Resort had suggested a couple of scenic drives that we might enjoy. The one we took that day was East Fork Road, on which we were told was a college for trial lawyers. The road passed through some beautiful, but desolate, scenery; and the drive was enjoyable. We never saw anything that looked like any kind of a college, but we learned later that the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College looks more like a ranch than like a college.

Following are a couple of photos from that drive along East Fork Road.



The following five images were taken at the Longhorn Ranch Resort:

Motel Rooms at Longhorn Ranch Resort

The motel rooms are long and go all the way through the building, so that there's a front door and a back door, each with a covered porch area.

A storm approached, providing lots of thunder and lightning but no rain.

Part of the RV Park

Some campers enjoying a meal beside the Wind River

Along the Wind River

That evening, we drove to the Lava Mountain Lodge for our anniversary supper at the restaurant there.

Lava Mountain Lodge Restaurant

Dining Room at Lava Mountain Lodge Restaurant

We were the only customers when we first arrived, but there were more by the time we left. And the food was very good.

This gentlemen and his traveling companion kindly allowed me to snap a photo.

A closer look at the two friends.

I'll have a post from our final day in Dubois next time.

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