Friday, June 22, 2012

Yellowstone- Part 1

Whew, what a day! It was a busy, but pretty wonderful day! There is so much to do at Yellowstone! When Jason first told me that he wanted to spend 3 days at Yellowstone on our road trip, I thought he was crazy. What could there be to keep us interested for 3 days? Well, I take it back- I am confident that we'd have plenty to do if we stayed here longer.
As soon as we entered the park, we were greeted by TONS of bison... Every few miles, people (including us) would pull over to the side to get pictures of these interesting animals. Grace tried to keep track today and we saw over 250 bison. Even so, we didn't get tired of trying to spot them along our journey.

Our first stop was called Madison Junction where Grace received information on how to earn her Yellowstone Junior Ranger badge. Luckily, she'll have 3 days to complete all of the requirements. We got to the station in time to listen to one of the park ranger's presentations about the birds that live in Yellowstone.

From there, we continued on our way to Fountain Paint Pot. This area contains several geysers (hot springs that are constricted and forced through openings in the ground), hot springs (unlike geysers, have no constrictions so often pool), fumaroles (steam vents in the ground), and mudpots (breakdown of rock to clay/mud through heat, acid, micro-ogranisms). Such a unique area!

We continued on our way and stopped along the road at various geyser sites. Yellowstone's most well-known geyser, Old Faithful, was next on the map. We got to the site about 10 minutes before it was predicted to erupt. Sure enough, it was quite the sight! Even more so was the number of people who were there to witness it. Wow! Apparently, we saw an unusually long eruption of over 4 minutes! We came to find out through visiting the Visitor Center that the predictions of Old Faithful's eruptions are dependent on this: if an eruption is shorter than 2 mins., 30 secs., the next one will occur about 60 mins. later, and if an eruption is longer than 2 mins., 30 secs., the next one will likely be 75 mins. later. We ate a picnic lunch, spent time in the Exhibit Hall, and even watched an educational movie before heading back out to watch the geyser erupt again.

We got back in the car, crossed the Continental Divide, visited West Thumb Geyser Basin, drove along the banks of Yellowstone Lake, took a short hike around Mud Volcano and several caldrons (where we saw a coyote run across the path only hundreds of yards away), and stopped to admire the beauty of the Upper Falls before heading back to the hotel.

We didn’t arrive back at the hotel for dinner until 7:30pm, and then took a quick swim in the pool before sending the kids to bed. After the long day we had, I think they’ll sleep well tonight!

Favorites of today:
Jason- Fountain Paint Pot
Jane- the 4 of us spending time together
Grace- seeing all of the animals (particularly the coyote we saw on our hike)
Jeremy- seeing the geysers erupt

I’m glad there were so many positives to today because a definite negative was Jeremy's mood today- he was not fun to be with. I’m blaming it on lack of sleep.  I hope that he fell asleep right away tonight, unlike last night when he was still playing around at 10pm.  We have lots planned for our day tomorrow, so hopefully, he will be back to his usual goofy, easy-going self.


Fairytale Pumpkin said...

So beautiful! How cool to be so close to so many animals! Hope your little Bear is doing better these days.

Daniel Tune said...

Dan's proud of Grace!