Welcome to America's first National Park! Yellowstone! Yesterday we got out late in the evening, but we still got to see the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Mud Pits, Old Faithful at night, plus tons of animals! Today we're getting a much earlier start and seeing even more! Let's get started!
Tuesday, November 22, 2022
Exploring Yellowstone Day 2 - 2022/08/23
An earlier start means we're waiting in line at the entrance with all the other visitors coming to see the park. It wasn't as bad as some other parks we've visited though, only taking 15 minutes or so to get to the front.
Today we're going to start at the Midway Geyser Basin. As we drive into the area, it's clear that there's pockets of hot water bubbling from all over the ground in this area.
Our first stop today is the Grand Prismatic Spring. Hey! There's a Cruise America RV. I love that they put memorable spots from National Parks on their trailers as decoration. And this one has the Grand Prismatic Spring. At the Grand Prismatic Spring!
The Midway Geyser Basin holds Yellowstone's largest hot spring. The area has a boardwalk for guests to walk across to keep them safe from the boiling water below.
Crossing over the Firehole River, it's interesting seeing the runoff from the hot springs pouring into the river.
The Excelsior Geyser was once a major geyser in this area. In the 1880s it would burst with water plumes up to 300 feet high! So much violence shifted things underneath the surface and this geyser no longer erupts, but it's still a large pool of steamy water.
There's a large one-way boardwalk that leads you out to the Grand Prismatic Spring.
It's amazingly colorful.
When it's steaming, which is often because the water is 160F, the colors below seem to float up into the steam above and you see a rainbow across the surface of this amazing feature.
And it might not look like it, but this area is teaming with life! The orange, yellow, and red colors are billions of microorganisms called thermophiles. They love the heat and show off their colorful pigments along the banks.
It was a really amazing feature to see up close, but it's a little difficult to get a view down into the pool.
Good thing that just a mile away is the Fairy Falls Trailhead that overlooks the Grand Prismatic Spring!
This wide gravel path is an easy 0.8 mile hike to an overlook of the Grand Prismatic Spring.
Ian - That's my mini Prismatic Spring.
There we go. That's a good view. You can really see all the colors now!
This one will probably make the Christmas card this year.
After the Midway Geyser Basin, we wanted to go try to catch Old Faithful during the day. Once we got a cell phone signal we learned that we were about 45 minutes too early. A great time to check out the gift shop. The kids adore fluffy animals and love seeing all the critters.
Ah. That's a good picture of the Grand Prismatic Spring. Drones aren't allowed here though, so it must have been from a plane or helicopter.
Knowing we might not be able to time things perfectly, we planned ahead. If we're going to be waiting around, why not enjoy it? Let's have a picnic lunch! As we were going to the walkway it looked like another geyser was erupting (Beehive?).
Grabbing a blanket from the truck and trying to shoo away curious chipmunks.
What a feast!
Meats, cheeses, crackers, fruits and nuts.
The people around us expressed their jealously over our amazing looking picnic lunch.
There's lots of benches, but we're very comfortable right here on the blanket, right on the rail.
It has certainly filled up since we got here.
Quite the difference from last night when we were among the only people here. This time there's people as far as the boardwalk extends!
After multiple false starts, finally Old Faithful came to life and erupted! Definitely have to be mindful of the wind here! You could get soaked if it's blowing to the boardwalk.
A recording I made of it.
Afterwards we headed to the visitor's center. These kids have a Junior Ranger badge to earn!
On the way there, we saw a tent for Junior Rangers and went over to inspect. A touch table! We're not allowed to get close to the live animals, but this is a way to get a sense of them.
These big horn sheep horns are heavy! Each one can weigh 15 pounds, as much as a bowling ball! Imagine having 30 pounds on the top of your head how strong your neck muscles must be!
We also got to pet the skins and furs of many of the animals of the park. The kids thought the muskrat was so soft and fluffy.
Asking for a Junior Ranger package here though was unsuccessful. They only have them inside the visitor center.
Ah, they only have them in here because they actually charge for them! Most every other national park we've been to, they've been free. They were something like $3 each, but you know we're going to get them. The kids have to get a badge from the first national park.
But our day isn't quite over yet. After seeing so many of the big animals yesterday (deer, bear, elk, bison), we are on a mission to find a moose! Our best bet is further into the park and over into another nearby national park. The Grand Tetons!