Flowing through Yellowstone for Ailsa’s Travel Theme.

Ailsa’s new travel theme is “Flow”, and I decided to revisit our road trip to Yellowstone National Park, where in May 2010, I witnessed some amazing examples of flow. There were beautiful flowing rivers surrounded by mountains covered in fir trees,

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and picturesque cascading waterfalls.

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Here is one of the amazing sulphur mounds which have been formed over time by the eruption and flow of hot spring water.

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Liberty Cap is a hot spring cone, 37 feet high, which marks the northern portion of Mammoth Hot Springs. It was so  named, because of its uncanny resemblance to the peaked caps worn during the French Revolution. Its unusual formation was created by a hot spring whose massive internal pressure caused it to flow continuously for hundreds of years, allowing mineral deposits to build up to this great height.

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Icicles had formed from the run-off around the rims of this steaming hot geyser, whilst just a few feet below, the water was 200F.

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On a warmer day, ‘Turquoise Pool’ in the Midway Geyser Basin, may look quite inviting for a swim, but as it has a temperature of between 142 and 160 °F ,  it’s not advisable.

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When we eventually reached Old Faithful, America’s most famous geyser we went to the viewing point to await the promised spectacular flow of steam, which  can shoot from 3,700 to 8,400 US gallons of boiling water into the air. It erupts roughly every 90 minutes, and the steam rises from 106-185 feet, and can last anything from 1-5 minutes.

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We really experienced many amazing examples of ‘flow’ on our trip. If you would like to see what other bloggers have posted for this theme, just click here to go to Ailsa’s post.

Old Faithful revisited, icicles and steaming geysers.

 The seventh day of our memorable journey to Yellowstone National Park.


From my journal, May 5th, 2010:

“Last night, (Monday) was very stormy and noisy, with the wind howling  and thunder crashing, way into the small hours. Nevertheless, I had quite a good night’s sleep except for the fact that the people in the room next door, got up at 1am and banged around until they left about 1-45.  Hubby didn’t even stir. He’s a much sounder sleeper than I am. We awake to wonderful sunshine, and -4 degrees C. Slightly on the cool side for my liking.

Hubby decides that we need to go  back to “Old Faithful” to get a pic  of the eruption in the sunshine instead of the snow. At the entrance gate to the Park, we have to open the door to give in our ticket, as the car window won’t wind down; it’s frozen closed for now at least. The road’s really icy but free of snow, and according to the GPS, our journey will take 53 mins.

At breakfast, a guy is showing around some pics he got of a Grizzly and a wolf yesterday. He has been here in the Park for a week though, so ought to have something to show for it. Before we leave the hotel, not to be outdone, I get a pic of me with a wooden Yogi Bear.

The rivers and mountains are glistening this morning, such a change from yesterday’s snowy grey mist. The road is very icy and we’re hoping it will be clear by the time we drive back along this route later today. We turn right at Madison Junction, elevation about 2000m and it’s now 25 kms  to “Old Faithful. ” The roads are pure white now, and a snow plough passes us going downhill in the opposite direction, and sprays us with snow. We can see blue sky in the distance, and it’s looking quite promising so far. Now we catch up with a long line of cars going very slowly. There are two Bison sauntering nonchalantly down the other side of the road, and they don’t even glance our way as we pass. I’m sure they are quite disdainful  of these strange metal creatures that whizz past them every day on four wheels instead of four legs.

A bit further down the road, the long procession of cars grinds to a halt on the snowy road. These regular sedans just aren’t coping with the icy roads as well as our huge 4X4 truck, and eventually we manage to overtake them. Now it’s all clear ahead and we might make it just in time for the next eruption. It’s due very soon, so we’re on a mission.  There are odd patches of melted ice on the road and hubby wonders out loud, if this may be an indication of a geyser underneath the tarmac at these points. I sure hope it doesn’t suddenly burst through the tarmac just as we get there. Only 5kms to go and the sun is brilliant in a clear blue sky. I hope it stays this way at least until after the next eruption. We pass more bison trudging along the road. Their coats look really mangy and matted. Not very cuddly at all.

It’s 10 am when we arrive and hubby dashes for the loo before going to the visitors centre to confirm the time of the next eruption. Whilst I’m waiting in the car, a coach pulls up in front of me, and as the door opens I see someone sitting on the front seat, wearing red peep-toe sandals. “Not quite the correct footwear for this weather” I think, looking down at my snug and sturdy snow boots. We have almost an hour to wait, and go into the lovely warm shop to browse and have a hot chocolate. I go to the loo and have just sat down, when there’s a rapping on the door, and a man’s voice calls, “Can I come in?”  Eeeek,! I manage to squeak, “NO, I’m in here!” I suppose he just wanted to come in to clean, but he could have timed it better, and anyway, why do they have men cleaning the women’s loos?

The women at the cash desk says to hubby, “Love yer accent. Where yer from?” She seems fascinated that we’re so far from home. All too soon, it’s time to go outside again and I’m trying to work out how many layers of clothing I can fit under my coat. I have tights under my jeans, a vest under my T shirt, over which is a woolly jacket with a hood, two scarves, a hat, gloves and lastly my coat. That should do it; even my own mother wouldn’t recognise me.

It feels much colder than yesterday and the wind chill factor is serious stuff. Very crisp to say the least. There are icicles still hanging off the car and around the  wheel hubs.

We walk down to the viewing point yet again and join the other frozen viewers. The timing is spot on today and at 10-53am exactly, huge amounts of steam shoot way up into the air. It’s not quite as spectacularly high as yesterday, but at least we can see it better without the snow.

Back in the relative warmth of the car, we head for West Yellowstone to visit the Bear and Wolf park. The snow is melting on the roads and it’s -4 degrees. Someone has obviously put salt on the roads in the last hour or so. Hubby tells me to keep all my layers on as I have to go over the steaming bridge with him today and up the hill where he took the photos yesterday. We see copious clouds of steam rising in the distance and we’re almost at Midway Geyser. The wind chill is unbelievable as we slip and slide our way up the boardwalk. I’m so glad I’m wrapped up well.

It’s really worth braving the cold for as we look down into the icicle-ringed geyser.

It may be cold up here, but it sure looks hot down there.

There are only two loos in the car park; hubby takes one and I the other. Neither of them have locks, and after a couple of minutes, I hear hubby’s door open and his voice saying, “ I’m almost done.” A guy mutters an apology, and before I can get up and grab my door handle, it’s yanked open. This horrified guy, seeing me with my trousers down, hurriedly slams the door shut again. I scuttle out afterwards back to the car, hoping never to see him again. What a scream! I had to laugh, and chuckled for quite a while afterwards. I sincerely hope there won’t be a third such incident today.

I’m thawing out now and am looking forward to getting to the “Grizzly Bear Park.” It will be great to see the real thing. These are rescued bears and some were born in captivity.”

We got some great pics, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow. 😉

Have a great day everyone.