Saturday, July 19, 2014

7/16 Yellowstone - Part 1

July is not the best time to visit Yellowstone.  It is packed with tourists, both domestic and foreign.  Last year, I was here in mid-August and had problems with cars parking in spots that were supposed to be reserved for large vehicles such as my motorhome.  This year I decided a rent a car for a couple of days, but still had some problems with parking. 

One good decision I made was to go to some of the places that I could not go last year because of restrictions on large vehicles.  One place was Firehole Drive.  This was one of the fields of pools along the way.  

As I was looking at the area above, I noticed this geyser going off in the distance, so took a quick couple of photos.  This is called White Geyser, for obvious reasons.  The nice thing about it is that it erupts two or three times each hour, I was told. 

This is a river flowing out of the geyser and the nearby Firehole Lake.  Looks like a nice place for a swim, but I am sure it was very hot!

This is Firehole Lake.

The really nice part of these out-of-the-way drives is that they are one-way roads and there is also MUCH less traffic.  It was peaceful and quiet, for the most part.

This is a much busier area--the Middle Geyser Basin.  The Madison River flows through here.  Over the bridge is several pools, and the most famous, Grand Prismatic Pool.  (Parking is horrible here because, as was true last year, there are no rangers or anyone directing traffic and people are parked everywhere--no parking signs or not.

This is Grand Prismatic Pool.  Nice reflections of the sky and mountains.

This is a bacterial mat.  The bacteria that live in these hot pool mats are very similar to the bacteria that first formed on earth.  So say "Hi" to your most ancient relatives! 

Now we come to the worst part of the tourist area--Old Faithful Geyser.  There is a long sidewalk from the visitor center and a semi-circle of benches for people to sit on to watch eruptions.  EVERYBODY stops here!!  The parking lot reminds me of the main lot at the Magic Kingdom at Disney World, except the aisles are not named or numbered.  Should have taken a photo of it!!

The Native Americans called Yellowstone "Land of Many Smokes."  This photos shows why that name was so appropriate.

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