Thursday, January 30, 2014


I’ve always been fascinated by volcanic activity and here in Yellowstone you can get about as close to that as possibleDSC03043.  The cold gives incredible contrast to volcanically heated waterDSC03044 and when geysers are particularly active it’s amazing to witnessDSC03045,  I love seeing steam columns rise against a sapphire skyDSC03046.  The snow can try to belie the danger of leaving the pathDSC03047but if you know the history of deaths in the park you know to stay on itDSC03048.  Our guide Doug made every step informative and fascinatingDSC03049so we not only had great info but breathtaking scenery with nobody else thereDSC03050.  The steam would freeze on the path…it was good to have good snow bootsDSC03051.  The color of these super-heated pools is incredibleDSC03052.  Some geysers have names like “Sapphire or Morning Glory”  it’s obvious whyDSC03054.  They water itself is clear but the way the light is refracted brings awesome color to our eyesDSC03056.  I don’t know how trees make it with the extremes in temperature but they doDSC03059DSC03053.  We learned about the root system and general toughness of Lodge Pole Pine…I have new respect for this amazing tree living where no other can!  A glance back at this areaDSC03057.  Leaving we saw some geysers had acted up againDSC03058.  What powerDSC03059!  Lead on DougDSC03060!  What’s next!

Monday, January 27, 2014

To the Lower Geyser Basin

After our first rest stop we proceeded to the lower geyser basinDSC03019.  The cold air had ice crystals in it that looked like diamond dust in the air…stunningly beautiful.  Mist rose from the above freezing river making many pictures somewhat foggyDSC03020.  By this time the sapphire sky had made its welcome appearanceDSC03021.  Here was saw the mist rise from the river and cling to plants on the riverside…it was nature’s perfect flockingDSC03022.  I don’t think fake flocking could ever do such a great jobDSC03023!  Stepping off the road was  a risk…very thick powder would engulf you quickly as Lovely here demonstratesDSC03024.  Note the sun making the flocking glowDSC03025.  Bald Eagles are resident here in fact one came to eye the raven’s disgusting feastDSC03027.  Disturbingly on closer inspection the ‘feast’ was another dead ravenDSC03028.  The swans didn’t seem to care one way or anotherDSC03030.  Bison made their presence known once again on the other side of the riverDSC03031.  The cold is nothing to themDSC03032.  Impressive to note that until it’s twenty below zero they don’t have to burn body fat to stay warmDSC03033.  Only moose beat Bison in their ability to endure coldDSC03034.   Nearing the lower basin it begins to look like arctic tundraDSC03036.  Note the huge steam bank as we approach the volcanic activityDSC03037.  At first it appears to be low clouds but it’s not, it’s all steamDSC03038.  Flocked trees returned as we proceededDSC03039.  Closer evidence of hot water from geysers was now apparentDSC03040.  Small wonder the river is not frozenDSC03041.  Soon we will see some actual geysers…are you ready for itDSC03042?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

West Yellowstone–Yellowstone Trip

When I was coming up to my 12th birthday Mom and Dad brought me to snowmobile in Yellowstone.  It was a tremendous adventure.  What a treat this year when Mom and Dad brought me and my family to a snow coach tour 30 years later!  West Yellowstone was a daunting destination with our weather being what it’s been.  We prayed for good weather and we sure got it!  Clear roads all the way.  Our first stop in West Yellowstone was the Three Bear Lodge.  Wonderful food!  Mom is a huge buffalo fan so she was horrified  that I chose buffalo tips for my mealDSC02996.  My wife chose rainbow troutDSC02999while my son chose a more traditional chicken sandwichDSC03000.  The lobby had what some might call a tourist attraction…I don’t care, it made for a cute picture for GabbyDSC03002.  We went to bed early knowing it would be an early one.  Boarding the snow coach was pretty excitingDSC03003.  We had an excellent guide named Doug who is a veteran ranger and snow coach driver…he had so much information and since this was a private tour with only us he was so gracious to stop wherever we could to see things.  Early on we saw trumpeter swan who graced the riverDSC03005.  I found it amazing how they were almost always in pairs…bonded for life.  Next a huge bald eagle nest…Doug said they don’t clean the nest…they just increasingly expand it thus how they end up so bigDSC03006.  I’ve heard some aren’t interested in the swans…sorry, I amDSC03007.  Their sheer size is amazing…how can such a large creature be so gracefulDSC03008?  There were signs of other creatures not so graceful…what killed this elk I wonderDSC03009?  We were excited to see our first bisonDSC03010.  They are comfortable to 20 below zero…wish I had that ability!  Even the swans in the river seemed oblivious to the coldDSC03011.  Even without the animals the view is simply to die forDSC03012.  The lighting went from partial cloud cover tot perfectly clear…either way it was awesomeDSC03013.  It was strange to experience the cold and yet the water in the river didn’t freezeDSC03014…plenty of warm water from the geysers keeps the water above freezing.  Our guide pointed out this frosted tree standing alone in the sunlight…awesomeDSC03015!  The bison were as unperturbed by the cold as the treesDSC03016.  Our first rest stop finally came and still the beauty of the surrounding forest grabbed meDSC03017.  Our snow coach was a modified Suburban…wheels replaced with…well, this:  DSC03018.  Thus ends the first part of the Yellowstone series…more to come!