My Travel Map

My Travel Map

28 February 2009

Yellowstone National Park: Part 1


Coming in from the South Entrance, we drove North, making our way through endless pine forest and the odd lake to the geyser basins near the famous Old Faithful. We planned on spending our first day taking in the Southwestern part of the park, where the majority of geysers and prismatic pools are found. Our first stop was just randomly along the side of the road in to check out this cascading river. It was quite a way down to it where we were standing and the water was no more than a foot deep and just streaming over the dark rock beneath it.


One of the smaller guys in the Upper Geyser Basin, with the Old Faithful Lodge in the background. This was one of the most built up places in the park since it is here that visitors get the regular showing from the Old Faithful geyser.



Some of these geysers were absolutely massive, and they can spray boiling hot mineral water hundreds of feet into the air.


The geyser basins are like alien landscapes... much unlike anything I've ever seen. Yellowstone is blessed with more geysers than any other geothermal area in the world. A couple other hotspots are Iceland and Rotorua, New Zealand.


Trees bleached white from the chemical steam.


The aptly named Firehole River.


The Morning Glory pool. I talk more about the colors in the next post, but this one isn't nearly as bright and vibrant as it used to be (the center used to be a bright, bright hue of electric blue) thanks to idiot tourists throwing garbage into the pool (which blocks up the vent at the bottom). Missy and I witnessed idiotic people doing a lot of stupid things in the park, like dipping hands into the mud and bright bacterial pools and acting like full-blown babbling morons at the sight of wildlife (running wildly, while drooling, flailing arms, and making weird grunts and squeals). It's people like that that I don't feel bad for when they are burnt horribly by the boiling steam of a geyser they got to close to or are horribly maimed by a wild animal to which they showed no respect. If people can't respect nature and what is there, if they do things to ruin it, then those people should never be allowed to go to such a wonderful place.


The geyser basin is just peppered with these venting white piles and swathed in massive open areas that are too unstable for trees to take root. This is the Old Faithful geyser before blowing its top....any second now...


There it goes...few minutes late....but it didn't fail to deliver.


Near-boiling hot mineral water streaming down into the Firehole River. Rudyard Kipling once visited Yellowstone and wrote about the immense courage it took to stick your head in one of the steaming vents along the Firehole. He said he never worked up enough courage to do it...which is why he was intelligent enough to be allowed in the park by my reckoning.


At most of the colorful pools, the steam was just too dense to see the full out beauty of the electrically bright colors. However, you do catch sudden glimpses through the shroud.


Once again...the landscape is so totally alien, yet here you find it in Wyoming of all places. If I didn't tell you, couldn't you mistake this for a picture taken from the air of the surface of some distant planet's icy moon? Meanwhile it was taken by me along one of the walkways in the Lower Geyser Basin. Amazing place!

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