SUMMER 2016 – PART 2 YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
I can sum up our time at Yellowstone pretty quick so if you’re tired of reading this is the only line you need. Yellowstone was unique, it’s a science geeks dream, there are some crazy beautiful parts, the wildlife was cool but most of it was just boring dry grass.
Our revised travel plans put us in Yellowstone for 2 weeks giving us two full weekends to tour the park. You can read about our adventures during the first weekend in Summer 2016 Part 1. Our second weekend was packed with the rest of the sites of the park and then it was time to move on to our next adventure.
On occasion I have to travel for work which requires I wear real clothes, something on my feet other than flip-flops, do my hair, and put on makeup. Having no idea what to expect, we left the motorhome with plenty of time to spare. I literally laughed out loud when we pulled up in front of the airport – it’s always an adventure. Here is a good visual of the West Yellowstone Airport in August, I have to admit that curb side baggage claim is the highlight of the airport.
TSA Pre means absolutely nothing at this airport and evidently security screening starts 30 minutes prior to our departure time. Leaving nothing to chance the security agents scour every pocket of your suitcase in search of whatever is lurking in your bags. My head was spinning at this point and I wasn’t even on the plane yet. When I asked for directions to the gate and the agent pointed at the picnic table outside all I could do was shake my head. My expectations at this point were at an all time low so imagine my relief when I saw a jet from Delta show up. A real plane, not something from the 1930’s held together by duct tape and bailing wire that requires the use of goggles and a helmet.
Grand Prismatic Spring and Lower Geyser Basin
We were excited to see Grand Prismatic Spring based on all of the amazing pictures we have seen of it but when we got there we realized that most of the pictures were aerial photos and it was cold enough that it was covered in fog so we were rather disappointed. Some of the colors around the spring were pretty vivid and the smaller pools were interesting.
A trip to Yellowstone would not be complete without seeing the iconic Old Faithful so we got there early enough to get front row seats and waited, and waited, and waited. By the time it erupted there were a few hundred people watching the spectacle. My idea of how it would erupt was completely different from reality. It is a whole bunch of little eruptions that slowly build in size until it is in full eruption mode. It’s like it knows people are watching so it just keeps teasing you until you are ready to leave in frustration but then once it is going full force you realize it was worth the wait.
Norris Geyser Basin and West Thumb
This section of pools was right along Yellowstone Lake and there were even a few hot spots bubbling up a few yards out in the lake. As with most of the sights in Yellowstone the colors caused by the bacteria in the pools is mind boggling.
If you have lived in the Northwest your whole life Bison aren’t very interesting but apparently most of the people visiting the park aren’t from the Northwest because anytime there are Bison close to the road there is a traffic jam. Since we were stopped anyways waiting for the traffic to clear out we took a few pictures of this guy taking a dirt bath.
Upper and Lower Falls
The falls were one of our favorite places in the park because they are absolutely breathtaking. We could have spent a whole day just hiking around the falls and taking pictures.
Mammoth Hot Springs
The landscape here was so alien with the terraced pools but other than that there wasn’t a lot to see and in August there is very little water flowing over the pools but it was interesting to see what lots of calcium and time can do.
Parting note: One thing about the park that you can never get from just looking at pictures is the smell. The sulfur smells range from eye watering rotten eggs to the smell of a good Fourth of July fireworks show. There was a couple places we stopped that we just took a couple quick pictures and made a beeline for the car holding our hands over our mouth. So if you have a strong aversion to bad smells maybe it would be best to just look at pictures.