Friday, November 29, 2013

Yellowstone: Midway Geyser Basin

We're not through with September 20th yet. After our visit to Old Faithful and our hike to Mystic Falls, we drove the short distance to Midway Geyser Basin.

Footbridge over the Firehole River to Midway Geyser Basin

Can you see how the Firehole River got its name?

Excelsior Geyser Crater in Midway Geyser Basin
Once the largest geyser in the world, with eruptions up to 300 feet,  Excelsior is now a productive thermal spring, presently discharging 4050 gallons per minute. Numerous vents boil and churn the water within the crater, covering it in a dense layer of steam.

The main feature in Midway Geyser Basin is the Grand Prismatic Spring, which is the largest hot spring in the United States. It measures approximately 370 feet in diameter and is over 121 feet deep, with a water temperature of 147-188 degrees Fahrenheit. Its steam produces a blue haze that rises several feet above the water. The brightly colored algae surrounding the pool gives the impression of a giant prism.
These next three photographs are of Grand Prismatic Spring:

The views from the boardwalk just can't give the full effect of Grand Prismatic Spring. There is a footpath up the hill on the back side of the spring that allows a view of it from above. We just didn't have the energy to tackle that steep path at the time we were there. Maybe next time.

Another thermal feature in Midway Geyser Basin

Turquoise Pool in Midway Geyser Basin

More to come from this day in Yellowstone on the next post.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Yellowstone: Biscuit Basin and Mystic Falls

After enjoying the display put on by Old Faithful on September 20, we decided to take a hike to Mystic Falls. The trail to the falls starts at the back of Biscuit Basin, so the first two photos are scenes from Biscuit Basin.

Sapphire Pool in Biscuit Basin

A colorful runoff from one of the hot pools in Biscuit Basin

The hike to Mystic Falls was fairly easy and a pleasant walk. The next images were taken along the trail. Most of the trees along the trail are those that have grown since the 1988 fires.

The trail follows the Little Firehole River

This was our first sight of the falls. But it's only the bottom part.

This isn't a great shot, but you can get a better idea of the full size of the waterfall.

A look at the river as we begin our return walk.

What do you osprey nest maybe?

Here, we're almost back to the beginning of the trail,
but I stopped for photos of the reflections in the water puddles.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Yellowstone: Firehole Falls and Old Faithful

On the morning of September 20, from our lodging in West Yellowstone, we drove down the west side of the lower loop, on our way to see Old Faithful geyser. On the way, though, we took a side trip through Firehole Canyon.

Firehole Falls (Shot by Doug with the camcorder)

Firehole Canyon (Also shot by Doug with the camcorder)

Firehole Cascades

Yellowstone steam vents

Steam is everywhere in Yellowstone.

Crowd awaiting eruption at Old Faithful

Old Faithful at rest

The eruption begins...

    ...and gets stronger...                 

...until it looks like this!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Yellowstone: South Entrance and West Thumb

You've already seen a picture of the John Moulton Barn on my last post, but I found the following picture, shot by Doug, on the camcorder when I downloaded the video from our trip. I thought it was even nicer than the one I posted and wanted to include it here.

As we left the Tetons on September 19th, we drove into Yellowstone National Park by way of the south entrance, then continued up the eastern side of the lower loop, around the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake. (The road through Yellowstone is sort of a figure 8 and the sections are commonly referred to as the lower loop and the upper loop.)
 This map can help you see that figure 8, as well as the entrance roads into the park.
Lewis Falls

Yellowstone Lake. That's a steam vent in the foreground. They're everywhere in this park.

Another view of Yellowstone Lake, without the steam vent.

There had been a heavy snow in Yellowstone the day before, and the mountain peaks were putting on a show.

Another look at the mountains from Lake Village.

It was about 5:30 PM when we reached Lake Village, and I suddenly realized that we were supposed to call the motel in West Yellowstone by 6 PM if we weren't going to be arriving by that time. Yikes! I had no cell phone service in the park, and I couldn't get the pay phones at Lake Village to let me call out of state. (Yellowstone is in Wyoming, but West Yellowstone is in Montana.) So, instead of eating at the Lake Village Cafeteria as we had planned, we had to make haste to get to the motel.
All was well. We arrived at 7 PM, and our room was waiting for us. Whew!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

In and Around Grand Teton National Park

The photographs in today's post were all taken in and around Grand Teton National Park on the afternoon of September 19th.

Horse pasture at the base of the Grand Tetons

T. A. Moulton Barn

John Moulton Barn

Old Fencing at the site of the John Moulton Barn

Jackson Lake

A little fall color

We covered a lot of ground that day...meeting up with Betty in Dubois, then seeing the beautiful scenery and horses between Dubois and the Grand Tetons, then a quick tour of Grand Teton National Park; and we're not finished yet. Later that afternoon, we drove from the Tetons into Yellowstone National Park, where we did some sightseeing on our way to our lodging in West Yellowstone, Montana. So the next posts from this trip will feature some scenery from Yellowstone.

On another note, some of you who have been with me for awhile might remember when I wrote about my cousin, Bill, here. Well, we lost Bill on November 8, when he was killed in a motorcycle accident. He was a very experienced rider, having ridden motorcycles for probably 50 years. He has ridden solo on a  Four Corners tour, where he rode to the four corners of the continental United States. He also rode solo from his home in Ohio to Alaska, tent camping along the way. On the day he was killed, he was just on a day trip to the neighboring state of Indiana.

Anyway, I apologize for ending this post on a sad note, but somehow I just couldn't let Bill's passing go unmentioned.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Gates, Horses, and a Few Mules

After our reunion with Betty in Dubois on September 19, we continued our drive toward the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.

Following are photos of a couple of gates that we saw along the way:

No identification on this one.

Dunoir Valley Retreat

I'd never heard of the Dunoir Valley Retreat until I saw the name on this gate. Curious, I looked it up on the internet. It's a reasonably priced vacation rental. Click here for more information.
After we'd driven awhile, we saw a sign for the Tie-Hack Memorial at the side of the road, with some steps leading up to the top of a small hill. Well, we were ready to stretch our legs by then so we went up the hill to take a look.

A plaque on the memorial reads: "Erected to perpetuate the memory of the hardy woods and river men who made and delivered the cross ties for the building and maintenance of the Chicago and North Western Railway in this western country."

The real treat, however, was the view from the top of the hill:

As we stood admiring the above view, a bunch of horses suddenly emerged from the brush, running along the river in single file.

These two stopped for a drink after passing the hill where we stood.

I took this close-up shot off the video that Doug recorded.

Soon, more horses came running by:

This bunch included a few mules. One took issue with the horse behind for following too closely.

Here's a closer look at the action.

And then this rider showed up, and we realized he was what had put the horses in motion.

What a gift we were given when we decided to climb that hill!

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