Friday, July 27, 2007

Yellowstone: Day 1

July 18th

The Mr. and I woke up to a bright morning filled with chirping birds, chattering chipmunks, cool air, and Mom J's sweet voice saying "Are you ready to get up yet?" I can't remember her exact words, but that was the basic message. The Mr. then looked at his watch and scrambled out of bed with a "what happened?" and an "oh no." Well, as we soon realized, our alarm didn't work. Actually it was working properly but since we were in a different time zone than home, and the watch had the ability to keep two separate times available at once, the alarm was set to go off according to the prior time zone, and not our present one. Thankfully we were able to rush getting dressed and eating breakfast just enough that we were able to make it to the cabins only a few minutes late. It was a good thing too, because the vehicles were just getting ready to pull away. Phew!

First on our list for the day was to visit Old Faithful. No trip to Yellowstone starts off on the right path without an early visit to this geyser. It took us about an hour to reach the Old Faithful area from the Canyon area where the cabins and our campground were located. Fortunately, there are sights to see on the way, and many look out points and roads to the side that definitely keep you interested and creating a list in your head of what you would like to stop at and see on the way back. I saw my first Elk herd and my first close up Bison.

Arriving at the Old Faithful, we tumbled out of the vehicles and headed over to an interpretive center where we watched a video to bide the time until Old Faithful's estimated eruption time. It was very interesting, and also eye opening about the animals that can be found within the park. The video had footage of a buffalo charging a photographer as well as elk ramming into vehicles. It served a good purpose of reminding us that even though the animals seem docile and tame, they can act out at any moment and be very dangerous. From there we, went over to the Old Faithful viewing area and were rewarded by a few suspenseful false starts, and finally the huge eruption. It is incredible how fast it shoots up into the air. I have seen other Old Faithful videos around the web, and they do not seem as quick as the video I captured so I will include it here. Unfortunately, I have a confession to make. I had been taking photographs with the camera held in a vertical position, so when I switched to video, I forgot to switch my grip on the camera. So, please enjoy holding your head or laptop screen sideways as you watch this video.

Next after watching Old Faithful, we continued for a bit around the boardwalk. There are so many more geysers, boiling springs, fumeroles etc. to see in the same area as Old Faithful but we could only see a few of them because by that time we were getting very warm. Each one looks, sounds and smells different and it was hard for me to turn back. (Well, maybe except for the smell part!) God's creation is too beautiful to comprehend, and when looking at these wonders, you never get bored. Only hot!

Chinese Spring

Chinese Spring

Mineral deposits

This one had a large crust around it's edges.
It was neat to be able to see underneath the crust
and deep down into the pool. All of these pools are
at or around boiling temperature.

We also stopped at the Old Faithful Inn, which is an amazing log hotel built in 1903 and was basically the first building built in the park. When you walk in the front doors, you are blown away by the immensity of it, and all the matching logs. As you can see from the photo, there are many structural features made out of matching naturally curved and knotted logs. It is really cool.

We ate lunch in the cars on our way to the next stop- Upper Geyser Basin, which Old Faithful is actually part of. It is around 2 square miles in area. There is no way to describe it all, so I will let you look at the pictures instead. On our way back to the cars, we ran into my Uncle Dan, Aunt Gwen and their three kids. What's the chance!? We knew they were in the area for their nephew Dave's wedding, but couldn't believe we bumped into them. They were on their way to Old Faithful and we were coming from there. We just happened to both stop off at the same spot!

Bacteria Mat

Beautiful blue colored sulfur smelling water.

Huge rolling boiling mud pot.

Some warm looking kids.

These steam vents were amazing. They sounded like huge hair dryers.

See the video here.

Uncle Dan, Aunt Gwen, Janell, Jacob and Sara

Our next stop was a stop of desperation. We were ready for a swim. Debbie had heard that there was a swimming hole somewhere but we couldn't find it so Lamont took the lead and we ended up turning off quite quickly when a pull out was located alongside the Firehole river. This river was perfectly cool and refreshing, but not very deep so we basically sat among the rocks and let the water rush past us. The kids thought it was very exciting, because if they let go of the rocks they would go rushing downstream. Of course you can imagine that the mothers didn't think this was quite as fun so rules were quickly created to keep all the kids safe.

Firehole River

After we all were loaded back into the cars and on our way we stopped at Gibbon Falls. It is just a simple turn out off the side of the road, but it is so beautiful! We also stopped at Artist's Paintpots but since it was so dry, we didn't see much of anything.

Gibbon Falls

On our way to Artist's Paintpots.

After a quick trip back to our campsite and dinner at the Canyon Lodge Dining Room it was fairly late so we all decided to go our own ways so some of the younger ones could get to bed. Dawn and Dusk are popular wildlife watching windows, so The Mr. and I went with Bob, Debbie and their three kids to go for a drive. Right away we saw a huge 6 pointer elk still in velvet. It was incredible. He was creating quite the traffic jam as people were stopping to take pictures, so a park ranger used a siren to scare him off the road into some nearby trees. It was all very exciting.

It seems ridiculous that this is all being squished into one post. I really need to have a weeks worth of posts for each day!!! I hope you will bear with me.

We went to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. It is incredible. It is so deep and so wide, that it messes with your vision and your depth perception quits on you. There are two waterfalls, lower and upper. At this point, this is probably the largest blog post in all of Bloggityville, so the rest of the photos can be viewed by clicking the album at the end of the post. There are some amazing things to be seen at Yellowstone.

Well, if you think the excitement for the day ended there, think again. Not only was I completely overwhelmed by this time at everything that I had seen, but I was starting to think that it couldn't get any better. That was when we saw a few cars pulled over on the side of the road, and people pointing and snapping pictures. We jumped out of the car to see what was going on and it was a bear! We actually got to see a bear- close up! I took a video, and it turned out ok, so here it is. It was a black bear and it walked across the meadow right in front of us. (Well, The Mr. says it was "a couple hundred feet.") What a perfect ending to our fun, busy, beautiful, awe-inspiring day.

View the video of the black bear here.

Well, you made it. This is the end of Yellowstone: Day 1. If you are still awake and interested, click the album below to view the full set of photographs from Day 1.

July 18/07, Yellowstone Day One

(Well, since it is 1 am, I might as well go ahead and post this now instead of waiting till "Friday.")


  1. Hey! I survived the marathon post and enjoyed your photos. How bizarre that you ran into Gwen & family in the middle of all that! Can't wait to finally see Yellowstone one of these days...maybe this fall!

  2. Wow - quite the day! Maybe I shouldn't be reading these posts, I'm getting depressed. :)
    We went to Yellowstone as a family when we were quite young and all I remember is the heat and the smell (like rotten eggs). :) I don't remember seeing the Canyon - that looked really cool!

  3. Yellowstone is awesome - It's been a few years since I was there, but enjoyed many of the same places!


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