July 6th ~ Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is HUGE – like 2.2 million acres huge. There are five ways you can enter/leave the park, from the east, south, west, north and north-east. The major roadway through the park is in the shape of a figure eight.
There are over 10,000 thermal features in Yellowstone which includes steaming pools, hissing fumaroles, boiling mud pots and of course erupting geysers. Yellowstone had more thermal features than the rest of the world, combined!
We met a lady today who only had ONE DAY to see the highlights here. My heart shattered. There is just no way to do justice to this amazing place in only a few hours. Our last time here we were fortunate to spend 10 days and felt like we got a fairly good overview. I so hope that if you are planning a trip to see our nations first National Park, that you can spend at least several days.
I think that my favorite part of the park is the area between Old Faithful and Madison Junction. If your time is limited however, and if seeing geysers is your primary interest, that is where you should concentrate your visit.
MIDWAY GEYSER BASIN
This is where Grand Prismatic Spring is located. As one of the most popular features in the park (after Old Faithful), the parking lot fills up early and the boardwalk can become crowded. We planned our visit to hit here first thing in the morning to try to avoid the worst of the masses.
We quickly found out that when there is no wind, or early when the steam is rising, it is difficult to position yourself for a great shot of the magnificent colors of Prismatic, but we still got some interesting shots.
The male bison seem to be solitary creatures. We occasionally saw two together, but most often one lone fella would be found grazing with little or no interest in posing for us.
I took these shots of two different male bison from the safety of our car.
BLACK SAND BASIN
Some great and colorful features can also be found here including Opalescent Pool, Cliff Geyser, Emerald Pool, and Rainbow Pool.
I was also amazed by how much variety we saw in wild flowers that can grow and thrive in this sometimes hostile environment.
UPPER GEYSER BASIN
This is where the most famous geyser can be found, Old Faithful. We have already watched her in all her glory several times. It does not get old.
The hike around the basin above Old Faithful is mostly gentle and after the first few minutes some shade is available which helps on hot days. I loved how they have used recycled chopped up tires to form the walkway on the first portion of the pathway. I would love to see that more often as it is spongy and comfortable to walk on.
A few of my favorites from this section include:
Late afternoon we stopped in at the Museum of the National Park Ranger which was right next door to our campground.
Returning to “Home Sweet Home”…
In case you missed the story behind this sign, see the previous post…
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that I am still healthy enough to walk all day long, as that is what we did to cover this amount of ground. I realize it is NOTHING like doing a long hike/walk like the Camino, but, I was still pretty proud of myself for doing this in the heat.