Monday, November 23, 2015

Road Trip - Part 3

Yellowstone -

We spent the 28th of August completely touring Yellowstone. We didn't see everything - but we drove and stopped through a lot of two of the loops. We hit the "tourist" spots, I guess, but it was all beautiful!

I admit - Yellowstone was the place I was looking least forward to. It just never appealed to me to go there. However - our day was perfect - the weather was amazing, the skies were clear and it wasn't terribly crowded, which was nice. I hate tourists in my pictures.

And there were a lot of pictures - Maddie caught me in my element -

Some people loves oceans. Me? Give me a little river or creek and some pretty greenery and I'm a happy girl.

We did see a lot of Buffalo Bison. Did you know there's a difference? I finally looked it up. Buffalo live in Africa and Asia. We definitely didn't see those.

Please keep in mind I had a zoom lens for quite a few of the above shots. Even still...there were times we thought to turn around when a couple of the Bison started walking a little closer than we liked.

Geysers. There are a lot of them. Usually the area surrounding them looked desolate:

In each of these areas there were usually planked trails with a lot of signs saying to stay on the trails because the actual earth underneath was extremely hot. It was one of those things where all we wanted to do was step off the path to find out how hot the earth really was. We didn't. But we sure did wonder a lot.

The following was one of my favorite geyser areas to look through. The colors around the little pools were amazing and the different geyser sizes were fun to stand near and watch.

The colors were created by the different sediment and sulphur and whatever other scienc-ey stuff there was. And the steam was simply the hot water flowing into a "normal" river.

The pool below is called the "Sapphire Pool". It really was THIS color. Amazing.

There was a massive geyser in this area and it was non-stop steam. The deck was incredibly slippery and you pretty much shuffled to walk through it.

Jake and I had been eyeing the geyser below for awhile and wanted to see it go off. After doing some calculations we thought it was on about a 15 minute spout rotation. Mike and Maddie were patient enough to wait while we scoped out our best views for pictures. The tourists really ruined my shot.

These tourists were okay though.

We did stop to see "Old Faithful". It's on about a 90 minute schedule and there are signs posted as to the approximate times it will spout throughout the day. There are a number of benches along the perimeter and they start filling up a good 15-20 minutes before the spout time.

Honestly? We thought it was less dramatic than expected, but it's one of those "must see" things and now it's off all our checklists.

We are suckers for waterfalls and thought this was a pretty little stop.

Then another tourist offered to take a picture of all of us in front of it and we didn't pass that offer up!

I guess he literally meant, "In front of it."

Then we came to a trail and noticed this sign:

So we started heading down and I ran back up to take this picture...before we even got to the actual steps off the trail:

Then we got to the stairs:

This was steep. The picture with Maddie is only about half-way down. But we did make it to the "bottom" (which wasn't really at the bottom of the canyon) and admired the views around.

And then you know what? We had to climb back up. It was really steep. And our two little teenagers practically skipped the whole way up. Little *#&$(#s. Mike and I took a couple breaks. Then we sat and watched some German 20 year olds try to race each other up the steps. They were quite in shape. And they were huffing and puffing, but trying to only do that when their competition wasn't looking. Then we finally reached the top where Maddie and Jake had been waiting for about 10 minutes. There might have been an expletive issued. That warning sign was no joke. They should really underline things.

We took a selfie when we were all together again. Please notice how my face matches my shirt. Not Photo-shopped, people. I will be spending this winter on the treadmill.

We drove a little way to look at more of the "Grand Canyon of Yellowstone"

We continued driving and stopping and took a walk through this area.

Our final stop on the way back to the hotel was to climb a hill a shopkeeper had told us to see one of the earlier pool areas. This pool area was supposed to have rainbow colors surrounding it when viewed from above. I'd seen pictures and had been looking forward to it all day. First up we saw this guy walking on what looked no thicker than a sheet of ice...

We got to the bottom of the area we thought we were supposed to climb and down comes this little old lady. After Mike helped her down the last couple steps of sliding dirt, he asked her if it was worth the climb and she exclaimed, "Oui! C'est magnifique!" Then her climbing partners came down with her ( younger than 70) and started telling us in french how amazing it was. So up we went. 
This was no easy climb: sliding sand, fallen trees and absolutely no path. We also didn't see Maddie or Jake once they started climbing but kept yelling for them to tell us where to go.

And this was our view from the top. Totally disappointing, honestly. I didn't figure it out until we got back to the car though. We had come at the wrong time of day. From what I had read throughout our day, the colors viewed in each area were reflections on the sediment in the pools. The sun was much lower and I don't think it was hitting the sediment like it would have earlier in the day. Sad. But, and interesting climb.

As we were walking back to the car another group came in to view. They were stopped to see the Bison we had seen earlier. Except he was now in the middle of the path and resting. Most of their Amish group decided to walk around and the kids and I followed them. Mike waited long enough to be able to pass behind Mr. Bison without getting kicked or maimed.

We were exhausted by the end of the day, but had seen so much and talked non-stop about the sights during dinner!