Sunday, May 31, 2009
Grand Canyon of The Yellowstone
The canyon is 1,800 feet tall....a miniature of the real Grand Canyon....
The colors of the walls are like a painter's pallet.....beautiful.
Down the canyon is the view showing the depth of the place, and the colors, and the water, and, and, and....
One of our favorites of the entire Yellowstone experience.
Grand Canyon of Yellowstone - The Falls
The Upper Falls, the less-spectacular of the main falls, is still highly impressive and in the background the bridge crossing the river to view the falls.
The lower falls are beautiful, and seen here showing the 1800-foot-tall walls of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone...
The full view of the falls is best from the high pinnacle of Artists' Point from the Lower Falls Viewpoint. One must climb a number of stone steps to be here.A Marvelous place and grand views.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Lake Yellowstone. Closest to us is actually a separate lake with Yellowstone behind. Ice still on the lakes in late May. Two days later as we left the park, it was gone.
Yellowstone itself, and mixed open and covered with ice areas. The image was really striking. Beneath this huge lake occurs the majority of the constant tremors which indicate this area was created by a major volcanic eruption 2.1 million years ago. A 2nd major eruption then followed about 1.3 million years ago. Growing mounds in the park indicate there will be another. The question, of course, is WHEN!The place is awesome....every turn a new view, a new type of forest, a new animal. WOW!
Really Hot Mud & Battery Acid!
Nearby the mud is Dragon's Mouth...a deep tunnel choked with water. Pressure of gases behind the water produces eruptions with deep low rumbles similar to what we all perceive to be dragon's roars. These are accompanied by a wave of water driven out of the pool and running downhill. The requisite sulfur smell is horrible at times.
This deep cauldron is dry...no water in evidence, just a deep hole and erupting gases.
Located at the same site called Sulfur Springs is this deep green pool, looking for all the world like pea soup. In fact it is incredible acidic...just one point away from battery acid.Interesting places, as long as the wind is blowing away from you!
Friday, May 29, 2009
It is probably faulty.
The geyser is, of course, impressive. But it is, in my mind, too commercialized....except I find no other way the product could be presented.
The crowd which gathers for the eruption is seated/standing in a semi-circle of probably more than two football fields!
While the crowd waits, and guesses when the actual eruption will come....mini-eruptions and added steam bring oohs and aahs from the crowd.
Then Old Faithful lives up to its reputation. We all watch as the world's most-famous geyser makes it's anticipated appearance.It is, of course, marvelous.
It is what we expect.
Our two full days in Yellowstone; doing the South or Grand Loop, and the North Loop, were long and involved lots of walking on some places not friendly to get to the objects we sought.
The South Loop took us until 6:30 at night to complete. The North 6pm.
On each we could have spent at least another day or two.
For the two days we shot at least 300 pictures.
I am busy trying to catch up, but the task is made much harder as each new day bring more to see and photograph, and not a lot of time for editing.
Yesterday (Thursday) we traversed the way from Yellowstone to Jackson, along the glorious Grand Tetons. Today, an evening raft cruise along the Snake River, under the shadow of the mighty Tetons. This follows a drive along the base of the Tetons and a visit to the Wildlife Art Museum here in Jackson. (Lesley, we found the item you requested!)
Busy, Busy.....but tomorrow we may take our final day in Jackson as a down day to rest up and post my pics and stories.....then Sunday we begin a harried two-day 850 mile trip to Grand Canyon.
Whew.....We will need to get home just to rest up. But...that being said, we'd not trade these days and these visits for anything. Memories to last a lifetime!
Lower Geyser Basin
This deep spring feeds the bacteria mat. The water is so very clear, and scalding hot!
A steaming vent. There are lots of these where no water tops the spring, and only steam escapes. Some are quite noisy.
This spring is like a mud hole, bubling thick gooey material, and lined with red from some chemical source. The smell from all of these vents will stay in your nose for a day or more. Sulphur...
The center-piece spring for the Lower Basin is "Paint Pot", a near-mud basin bubbling away with dry vents, and mounds surrounding the pool. As the Spring waters recede the pot dries, and in Summer and Fall turns to huge mounded mud area, many of which burst with a giant pop and then collapse into holes. Each season brings another look to the spring.
There are Lower, Middle and Upper Geyser Basins....We quickly viewed the others, but found much of the same in shape, color....oh, and SMELL!!!
Firehole Canyon & Falls
As we entered the Grand Loop we passed this testament to the fact buffalo are no longer an endangered species. They roam Yellowstone by the hundreds and hundreds.
We came to a sign for "Firehole Canyon"....and, of course, had to go explore. The road was narrow and winding along the Firehole River.
The river was a torrent of rapids and boiling water...all moving, as were all park rivers, at a high speed as they tried to accommodate the Spring run off.
Deep into the two mile loop road we spotted the true reason for the road...Firehole Falls. It was a beautiful site, one not easily shown in a photo as cliff walls reached high above us on both sides of the river, and my camera was not capable of capturing the entire vista.
This little jaunt along a very narrow road was fun in Sideroad Suzie....Later on you'll read how it became much more challenging to us in a second trip thru Firehole Canyon.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Enjoy them, and know as you read that today we are embarking on the first of two full days doing the "loops" of Yellowstone. Today's trip....The Grand Loop....126 miles from our campground around and back. If one wishes to see the stops (today includes Old Faithful) it is an all day trip.
However, we have plenty of daylight. Sun rise here is currently about 5:30 to 5:45am. Sunset is close to 8pm, but it was still light enough to see well at 10pm last night.
Long days....probably a good thing for this visit.
Read on folks!
Geysers & Hot Springs & Waterfalls - Monday
We visited several hot springs areas. We are talking scalding hot here folks. People have died from accidently stepping/falling into them. Warning signs are everywhere. This is a small seeping spring. The temperatures and mineral richness is evident by the growth around the spring, and the colorful mineral deposits. In addition the flowing water produce algea growth, even in places where snow is evident.
The springs come in all forms. Here a small circular one feeds a wide draining area with the algae and mineral deposits in full evidence.
In Norris Geyser Basin there are a number of geysers...if you wish to walk a mile or so. This particular one is 28 feet deep, bubbling, steaming, and appears green. The color is an amalgam of yellow mineral deposits on the walls of the geyser hole, and the blue of reflected light from the sky.
The actual water is crystal clear....hard to see from most viewpoints as the reflected light and steam cloud your view.
I am sure this 1st short visit is nothing but whetting our appetite for the rest of Yellowstone.
The Animals Are Here...And In Charge!
We took a short drive into the park to get our bearings upon our Monday arrival. Now five miles in we had a long wait while 4 buffalo females, accompanied by their offspring meandered along and on the highway. They were completely unconcerned with our automotive presence.
One short side drive, Riverside Drive, produced a herd of doe Elk. There were also three of them on our side of the river. As with the buffalo, they seemed not to care about our being there.
On our return trip this large buffalo simply walked out into traffic, stood broadside across the center of both lanes, and then slowly gazed at the cars facing him/her from both directions! I am positive he/she knew what they were doing, and enjoyed it.After about 2-3 minutes the beast slowly shuffled off the roadway and resumed consumption of grass.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Yellowstone, Our Arrival
We stayed away from Yellowstone because of the holiday weekend. This was the line of traffic...mostly RVs, etc. leaving the Yellowstone area as we drove in.
We're at Grizzly Yellowstone RV Resort. Great place with friendly folks who really try to make your welcome outstanding!
I am working on a review of our camp spots in condensed form to send to the rating companies. Their input to us has been great.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Oh Well.....It is Yellowstone....then on to Grand Tetons.
We're, as I stated earlier, down for the Holiday. In Pocatello we visited the local Elks Lodge...which amazingly is closed Sat-Sun-Mon for the holiday. Completely closed!
Pocatello is home to Idaho State...
We took a tour into the mountains to see Lava Springs...a hot springs area. It was so commercial as to be unbelievable. We drove on into the mountains to Soda Springs....a small town which hosts this geyser...the drilling of a local created it, and the town has capped it and it blows once per hour, on the hour.
The geyser tops 60 feet when blowing. On the way in we had spotted smoke over the nearby mountain and on the way out this picture as the apparent forest fire had expanded considerably.
The day trip was fun, and we saw a lot. This old homestead spoke of both the hardship of the folks who lived here, and the magnificent views they had as they toiled the prarie.
Things we read in school books, and now we see.
Mountain Home, ID & An Owl
It is a "Burrowing Owl" which lives in a burrow...usually one abandoned by another critter. I got within about 50 feet of this creature and then zoomed in for this marvelous shot as he/she stood there almost oblivious to my presence. Did I mention he was only about 6 inches tall?
Truly wonderful to see the critters of our country as we travel.
Today (Sun) the mundane things like vacuuming, laundry and grocery shopping. As one might guess, we shop often and in small batches as storage is good in our coach, but not at all like home.
Tomorrow we're off to West Yellowstone for the three days while we take "Side-road Suzie" into the park and explore.
Then on to Grand Tetons....and Jackson Hole.
On The Road Again!
And now, after a long trek to the West Coast, and an enjoyment of our visit to Washington and Oregon, we are doomed....simply by demands we be in Tampa by 20th, June, that we begin the process of return. We are again on the road.
Coming out of Portland (following our potty replacement) we are traveling along the Columbia River Gorge. Beside the highway, this beautiful falls of several hundred feet. Duchess caught it well, albeit with a reflection on the glass or two.
A tunnel along the highway.
One of our final views of the gorge before it dissolved into a river flowing through desert-like land.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
We have paid as high as $2.59 for regular unleaded. Currently, in Pocatello, ID, the price is $2.21 per gallon.
Unusual things.....In Oregon you are NOT allowed to pump your own gas. In some places only cash or debit cards can be used....no actual credit cards.
Strange things.....in some places mid-grade unleaded is 10 cents cheaper per gallon than regular unleaded. (HUH???)
Diesel prices have changed. Last year diesel was 20 to 40 cents per gallon higher than regular unleaded. Out here, at least, the diesel is flirting with staying even with regular unleaded.
I will comment that last Summer's Blue Ridge tour at $3.80 to $4.08 per gallon has made this trip seem painless! I actually get almost twice as far per dollar....well, not actually as the Blue Ridge is "hills" as compared with our currently rugged ups and downs in the mountains of the West.
Monday (after a layover in Pocatello, ID to avoid the Memorial Day crowd) we will be climbing into the area of the Continental Divide as it meanders through Yellowstone Park. We'll stay in West Yellowstone, MT...and drive "Sideroad Suzie" thru the park.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Tonight (Thur), we'll be in Mountain Home, ID. Then on to Pocatello, ID Friday for three nights to take a break while the Memorial Day celebrants run around. Monday we're off to West Yellowstone, MT for three nights to explore Yellowstone.
Then to Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons.
Ahead: Vegas, Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, Houston (with kids and grands) and Jacksonville, FL (for golf with Little Duke) and H-O-M-E by mid-June.
Mt. Hood #2
To get to and from the lift we walked in 6 inches of soft snow in our regular shoes for about 200 yards each way. That was a challenge as I had on flat-soled shoes, and Duchess was in clogs. This view shows the top of our lift, and then from there a further lift can take you up to the 8,000 foot level. You can spot it st the right of this picture of the peak of Mt. Hood....12,000 feet high.
On the way down I snapped a picture of the panorama before us. The long grey area is the roof of the 4 story lodge...the only part visible from above!
The weather was clear and sunny....but it was still 50 degrees with 25-30 mph winds on the ski lift. I had to place my jacket hood over my fedora to keep it on my head. It was a beautiful ride and something to see at least once.
Thanks to our friend Peggy who braved the trip in her electric wheelchair so we had the chance to see Timberline Lodge.