Monday, July 17, 2017

Epic National Park Adventure: Yellowstone Pictures and Stories

The Whomptons spent four nights in Yellowstone, spending two at Grant Village and two at Canyon Village.  We devoted lots of time to other-worldly hydro-thermal features and tried to hit all aspects of the park.  We didn't see the Norris Geyser area but spent time everywhere else.

Major highlights:  seeing the sun rise over the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, learning about and seeing the geysers, mudpots, fumaroles (steam vents), and hot springs, seeing a bear!

Ruby was in charge of the maps and she took us everywhere!  We drove every red road on this map at one point or another.

One of many geysers in the park -- I don't know which one.  We saw Old Faithful erupt three different times, but the most surprising one to see was the Grotto Geyser.  
Yellowstone was alien, in so many ways.
Morning Glory hot spring.  The different colors of the spring communicate the temperature of the water because of the bacteria that can survive and thrive at that temperature.  

Overlooking one of the many rivers in Yellowstone.  The terrain changes were mind-boggling:  mountains to riparian areas to hostile hydrothermal areas to waterfalls.  Yellowstone has it all.

Lola initially liked the pools and geysers until she'd spent a whole day doing them and then, well, the smell got to her.  We'd drag her out of the van to do another set and she'd be so sad about it.  At least we have a smile here.

Our campground at Grant Village had a walking trail that led to 1. Yellowstone Lake and 2. a view of the Tetons.  We watched dusk fall over both as we tried and failed to find the evening ranger program.  

Bison butts.  We quickly learned how to identify animals by their backsides.

Kepler Cascades, I think.  We saw LOTS of waterfalls on the trip.
Gibbon Falls, I think.
See that smile on Ruby's face?  She was all smiles the entire trip.  Nothing fazed her or broke her positive vibe.

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.  We spent a full day hiking the area to get better views of the canyon, the Yellowstone River, the Upper and Lower Falls. 
The canyon was so gorgeous that it hardly looked real.
Also, the campground was entirely covered in fog because of the mist from the falls.  
We climbed down over 300 stairs to get ridiculously close to the Lower Falls, via Uncle Tom's Trail.
The Whomptons disagreed about what was worse: going down or coming back up.  Going down was easier on the legs but terror-filled because the stairs were narrow, not fully solid, and wet.  Going up was aerobically challenging but not as scary. 

Did I mention rain?  And mosquitoes?  The Whomptons retreated on two separate nights to a Lodge so that we could be protected from both rain and mosquitoes.  Note:  Stephanie is bringing sass and class to this photo.
While in Yellowstone, we saw bison, mule deer, pronghorn, ground squirrels ..... and finally a bear as we drove away the last morning.  Baby black bear on the side of the road, with no easily visible signs of mama bear nearby.  

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