Last Friday was opening day in Yellowstone. Saturday we went.
Only a few roads were opened, West Yellowstone to Madison Junction, Madison Junction to Old Faithful, Madison Junction to Norris, Norris to Canyon, Norris to Mammoth, Mammoth to Cooke City. This time of year, most of the back-country things are closed. Bears are having babies so that's not a good place to be, plus the summer staff isn't yet in place to manage people on the trails, and there is still quite a bit of snow which makes alot of the trails impassable. Along the main roads though, most of the boardwalks in the geyser basins are clear. We decided we'd get the most bang for our buck if we went to Old Faithful. It did not disappoint.
This time it was Chimene and I, our oldest son, Tyler and our two youngest boys, Rhys and Garrett. Haydn had a service project and couldn't come.
On the way to Yellowstone, we passed through Island Park and saw a swan on Swan Lake. It has been quite some time since I saw a swan on Swan Lake. I remember when I was young, and we'd be driving back and forth to Yellowstone, Dad would always say that the number of swans on the lake corresponded directly to the millions we'd make at The Playmill Theatre. I think Dad's figuring was always slightly off...
As we approached 7 Mile Bridge, a small herd of bison sauntered down the road, oblivious to the twenty or thirty cars that were stuck behind them. They were in no hurry to get to where they were going. I think they are magnificent animals and I enjoyed seeing them pass so close to our vehicle. One of them was close enough that I could have touched him. I didn't because my Dad did that once and the bison kicked his car.
|Bison on the roadway|
We also saw Canada Geese and Ravens.
|Elk tracks in bacterial mat at Fountain Paint Pots|
|Beautiful blue pool at Fountain Paint Pots|
|Mudpots at Fountain Paint Pots|
|Spasm Geyser at Fountain Paint Pots|
|A view from the bridge at Midway Geyser Basin of the old swimming hole|
After Midway, we drove into Old Faithful. There was quite a bit of snow on the ground there. The geyser wasn't set to go off for about forty minutes, so we decided to climb up to the observation point to watch the eruption from there. I hadn't seen it from there in about thirty years so I was kind of excited to do it again. The view was spectacular. It's not a tough climb. There's around 200 feet in elevation gain over half a mile. Afterwards we poked around the Upper Geyser Basin for a little while, then headed for home.
|Snow at Old Faithful|
|Rhys and Garrett on the snow at Old Faithful|
|Random trail sculpture|
|Chimene and Tyler on the trail|
|Rhys and Garrett on the trail|
|The eruption from the observation point|
|Us at the observation point|
|Bear tracks in the bacterial mat|