I’m finally back to getting our vacation to Wyoming documented before I totally forget everything. Today’s post is long with lots of photos and I will not fault you if you decided to skip it! I’m splitting the page after the first couple of photos so you will not have to load all of them if you don’t want to read it.
This was our third full day and it was finally time to explore Yellowstone. To get you ready you might want to read this article that posted on Mental Floss this week. It has 15 fun facts about Yellowstone.
I knew it was going to be a good day when I got to see some mule deer up close on our drive out of Bridger-Teton.
I think we followed what most people do and saw Yellowstone primarily from the car. It’s SO BIG! It’s over 2.2 million acres, about half the size of New Jersey. It’s a lot of land to cover in 2 days and there’s something interesting and different everywhere you go in the park. See the gray dashed line on the map? That’s the volcano caldera boundary from an eruption 640,000 years ago.
We came in from the south and from the gate to the “lower loop” is 22 miles. The road to the West (toward Old Faithful) was closed so we headed northeast toward Yellowstone Lake and we focused this day on the entire lower loop. It was 101 miles from the south gate to Old Faithful…and another 101 miles back…and an hour to our cabin. It didn’t seem like a long drive because it was so beautiful.
Our first stop was at the West Thumb Geyser Basin where over use of the words “wow” and “amazing” began. I’m not kidding. That’s pretty much all I said all day long.
The mineral pools are amazing and the colors….oh, the colors! There are going to be so many new gradients and palettes coming from this trip.
Look at that green!
I loved this defunct geyser in West Thumb.
The other word that I used over and over is “vast”. There’s really no way to convey the vastness of the place.You see one place like this that goes on forever. What you don’t realize is that there are dozens of places like this all around the park and nearby national forests.
This photo was taken along the Yellowstone River between the Yellowstone Lake and Canyon Village.
Canyon Village is the intersection of the 2 loops and it’s also where you MUST stop to see the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. We got to the turnoff and there was a huge traffic jam. I wanted to see the rapids so I got out of the car to take these photos off the bridge while Chris inched along in the traffic. I came back to the car to Chris laughing at me. I completely missed the reason for the traffic jam.
Fortunately I didn’t miss them and one came really close to the car. I took this out of my car window. There are more below him.
But this was THE “wow moment” of the day. Now I know where the Yellowstone name comes from! It’s really hard to convey the vastness of this place. The Lower Yellowstone Falls are 308’ high. That tiny little 1/2” that you see on the screen is really 308’ in real life. They have several lookouts on both sides of the canyon so there are lots of photo opportunities.
Oh yes, there’s a palette in here.
After leaving the falls we headed West toward Norris and then south to the other geyser basins. Just as we turned left at Norris we were greeted by about a dozen bison in the middle of the road. The stupidity of people around bison is astounding. Just this week another woman was attacked while taking a selfie with a bison. Every close up photo that I took was from the car, and quickly. This fella was grunting as we drove by.
I expect that he was protecting this little one.
Here’s where we enter the color intensive part of the day. Most of the geysers are on this side of the park along the Firehole River. Because of the geysers draining into the river it has sections of amazing color, like this red, and it’s very warm. It’s also a fishing mecca and Chris wants to go back and fish this river.
This is driving to the Lower Geyser Basin. You can see the geysers steaming. The tiny brown dots are bison so that will give you and idea of the vastness (again with that word) of this area.
The next 4 photos are from the Lower Geyser Basin and are just a small sample of what you will see there.
The one geyser area that I wanted to see more than any other was the Midway Geyser Basin and Grand Prismatic Spring.
Look at that green!
This is beside the Grand Prismatic Spring. It’s really hard to understand the size of this so check out the photo on this page for scale. Note the size relative to the people on the walkway!
The selfie sticks were out of control here. You could hardly get a photo in for all the people being absolutely obnoxious with their selfie sticks.
After this we headed to Old Faithful. Honestly, I’ve checked the box but I don’t think I would fight the crowds to see it again. It really is a bit overrated and there are SO MANY PEOPLE! There were bison in the area wandering through the crowds. The park rangers surround the animals to make sure they have a buffer around them and are reasonably safely away from stupid humans.
I was more impressed with the beautiful mineral pools around this geyser basin. There’s lots more to see there than Old Faithful and probably only about 20% of the people walked past OF to see any of this. It was worth the walk. The color of this blue pool reminds me of my Tidal Pool fabric. I guess I named at least one appropriately!
We headed back to our cabin and Chris got to build a fire in the fire pit. He’s a pyromaniac at heart. S’mores for dessert this night.
Only 2 more days of posts on this topic for you to endure.