A day in Yellowstone NP

Bison enjoys the sulfuric stenchIt was a pleasure to visit Yellowstone this time. For some reason Tim and I, have managed to plan our earlier vacations so well, that we have always visited the major and most crowded national parks on weekends. But this time we succeeded in avoiding weekends both in Yellowstone and later in Grand Canyon. 

After breakfast we returned to the park. From Mammoth Hot Springs Village we followed the western leg of Grand Loop Road (primarily to avoid roadworks in the mountains after the Tower Junction on the eastern leg). When we reached the cetnral part of the number eight, that is Grands Loop Road, we turned east to Canyon Village, where we made our first stop. Here Tim bought a Stetson to relieve the won hat, he had used since 2010. Afterwards the Stetson virtually didn't leave his head for the rest of the trip.

After visiting the Grand Canyon Village , we drove to one of the viewing points from where you can enjoy the Lower Fall of the Yellowstone River, the river's highest waterfall , which is very impressive. The fall is 310 feetl, twice the height of Niagara, but not nearly as wide. When we had seen and duly photographed the fall, we drove on and we agreed that we didn't want to spend time at other waterfall viewing points. Instead, we continued south through Hayden Valley. Just as the Lamar Valley also Hayden Valley known is for its rich wildlife, but at this time roughly in the middle of the day, all we saw was bison galore and a few geese and swans.

Next stop we made in one of the valley's few geyser areas. The area is named after one of the hot springs, Mud Volcano, which is neither a geyser nor a volcano, but a large, boiling mud hole. There are several interesting hot springs in the area, not least Sulphur Caldron , where the water is 197 F and with an acidity like battery acid, but nevertheless bacteria thrives in the spring. The stench here is quite "interesting", but it obviously didn't bother the bison that had settled a few meters from the spring, and we also observed bisons next to several of the other sulfuric springs in the area. When the smell got to "eggy", we drove further south, passing the road to the southern exit and from there we drove north again , or rather northwest.

Run off from Grand Prismatic SpringNext stop was Old Faithful. Here there were a lot of people, but again far fewer than last time we visited. We had no problems locating a parking space, and from the parking lot, we walked  straight to the geyser, where the many people that were gathered, indicated that an eruption was imminent. And 10 minutes later the geyser began a long and high eruption. After the show we walked back to the General Store to stock up on fruit and water. Then I placed myself in a rocking chair on the veranda, where I sat and rocked while the kids went for a stroll on Geyser Hill behind Old Faithful. I had back pain and thought that one single stroll would be enough, and I would rather enjoy the next one, later in the day. Half an hour later Tim and Tina returned, and then we found the car and drove further north to Midway Geyser Basin.

It was here Dorte and I met Jens and Annette in 2006 , see the article "Statisically Impossible" on the 2006 travel page. This time we met no one we knew though. We parked the car and walked around the path that leads past Excelsior Geyser, that is actually a hot spring, not a geyser, and Grand Prismatic Spring, which is actually the largest hot spring in North America and the third largest in the world. Here it is especially the colors that impress  From clear blue over lighter blue to yellowish green and red colors at the edge and in the run-offs from the spring. The blue in the middle occurs because water simply is blue (not transparent as you might think), and the other colors are due to bacterial growth. But even if the spring is large, the produced water volume is relatively small, only approx. 2,100 liters per minute in comarison with 15,000 liters from the far smaller Excelsior Geyser.

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