Saturday, August 28, 2010

Yellowstone National Park

This morning we excitedly got ready for our day in Yellowstone Park. We had a taste of what we were to see yesterday. So a quick breakfast and a lunch packed for the day. Thank goodness for our Koolatron cooler. It has done just sterling duty keeping our food cold!

The West Yellowstone KOA is wonderful. They have a big camp kitchen where there is a covered area with electric cook tops and wash up sinks. The internet is good and the grounds are immaculate. It is just a short drive to the town of West Yellowstone and then into the Park. We took the first leg slow, stopping to see the Elk in the Madison River Valley. We saw bison later in the day.

We saw Old Faithful erupt. The first leg that we did was on the way to Old Faithful in the South West portion of the park. We stopped at a few view spots on the way and got there at about midday. We found out that the geyser was scheduled to erupt about 30 minutes after we got there and there were people already starting to assemble. The fact that it was raining and the sky was black did not seem to hinder anyone, so we thought we had better find a view spot, which we did, right at the front. The benches were wet, so everyone stood. As we were waiting a ranger came out and gave us a talk about geysers and about the whole area in general. As she finished her talk, we noticed that OF was starting to spit up water and then suddenly, only a few minutes beyond the time they had predicted, the geyser erupted right up into the air. Unfortunately, as it was so cool and damp that the actual fountain of water was mostly obscured by steam, but we have seen it. After the eruption ended, the rangers came out and warned us all that there was a  severe storm warning for the area.

To tell you everything we saw would be impossible. This is the most surreal and beautiful place. We loved every part of this park, even the huge thunder and hail storm that we experienced later in the afternoon. We saw geysers, hot springs, craters, turquoise pools and whatever this wonderful place has to show. I am very glad that the huge caldera that is under Yellowstone did not choose today to erupt. We saw all too well what an eruption of a caldera could do at Craters of the Moon!

 We were forced to pull over into a rest area during the storm and after it ended, we drove to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, where I took a ton of photos between raindrops. What a spectacular Canyon! There are two waterfalls on the Yellowstone River and over a very long time, the canyon was carved out. The soil is multicolored because of all the geologic action that has taken place there. By now the rain was starting to end so I got some good photos as we drove along the rim road. After the canyon, we headed home because we knew had to get through a big construction area, where there is a half hour delay each way. The trip to Mammoth Hot Springs can wait until tomorrow after we leave the KOA, heading toward Manitoba.

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