Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Day 10 -Yellowstone National Park

September 2017 - Driggs ID

Day 1 - Toronto to Chesterton IN
Day 2 - Chesterton IN to Rochester MN
Day 3 - Rochester MN to Lincoln NB
Day 4 - Lincoln NB to Denver CO
Weekly recap with more photos

September 14

We headed out at 7AM for the drive to Yellowstone. It was a cool start at 10 C. and still dark.

We cross into Wyoming. The drive was almost exactly two hours.

We stop for gas.

Idaho to Wyoming to Montana

We're entering the park at the west entrance. We had paid $50 entrance fee yesterday at Grand Teton NP which is for seven days and includes Yellowstone.

Just in case we  don't see any live animals like yesterday! In the town of Yellowstone.

Into the park.

Located one-half mile south of Madison Junction, Firehole Falls is alongside the Firehole Canyon Road. This one way drive runs north to south, and features steep canyon walls in addition to the waterfalls. The falls themselves are about 40 feet in height.



Fountain Flat Drive veers off to the west off the Grand Loop Road north of Fountain Paint Pots. In the fall, the flats are often covered with a bison herd gathered for the rut and preparing to wait out the upcoming winter months in relative comfort along the thermally heated Firehole River.

What's a rut, you ask or did I make a typo?
Many couples experience a period in their relationships where the romance department falls by the wayside. It's commonly known as a rut. However, for bison, the term rut refers to the exact opposite.

It wasn't covered with bison, but enough for us!

Can you feel our excitment? Bison!

Ojo Caliente—Spanish for “hot eye”—that discharges hot water into the Firehole River.

Much of Yellowstone sits inside an ancient volcanic caldera (the exploded crater of a volcano). The last major caldera forming eruption occurred 600,000 years ago.

The four basic types of thermal features present in the Park are geysers, hot springs, fumaroles, and mudpots.


Geysers are hot springs that erupt periodically. The eruptions is the result of super-heated water below-ground becoming trapped in channels leading to the surface. The hottest temperatures are at the bottom of these channels (nearer the hot rock that heats the water) but the deep water cannot vaporize because of the weight of the water above. Instead, steam is sent upwards in bubbles, collecting in the channel’s tight spots until they essentially become clogged, leading to a point where the confined bubbles actually lift the water above, causing the geyser to overflow. This causes the pressure to decrease until suddenly violent boiling occurs throughout much the length of the column, producing a tremendous volume of steam which forces the water out of the vent in a superheated mass. This is an eruption. As the eruption continues, the heat and pressure gradually decrease, and the eruption stops when the water reservoir is depleted or the steam runs out. The two types of geysers are fountain geysers (which shoot water out in various directions through a pool) and cone geysers (which shoot water out in a fairly narrow jet, usually from a cone-like formation).

John is asking why are we stopped? I point out this guy who then ambled across the road.

It's steamy everywhere you look.

It is not warm and starting to rain. We have the bright idea to stop at the Old Faithful Inn, get a latte and wait for Old Faithful. There are viewing benches but I had read you got a great view from the inn itself.
Well, no to the coffee, there is one little stand with a line up and nothing interesting to drink. The cafeteria doesn't open until 11:30 talk about wasting a money making opportunity.

We did get window seats at the last window on the left.

The crowd is gathering in the rain, we are cozy inside.

Old Faithful is a cone geyser It was named in 1870 during the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition and was the first geyser in the park to receive a name. It is a highly predictable geothermal feature, and has erupted every 44 to 125 minutes since 2000.
We were told 60-90 minutes give or take 10 minutes. So scheduled for 11:40 he went at 11:30!

We scampred out to escape the crowd.

The Hwy 191/89/287 route through Yellowstone National Park crosses the Continental Divide three times. The center crossing is an elevation of 8391 feet, about 14 road miles SE of Old Faithful and about 1 mile west of Little Thumb Creek.

We've crossed the Continental Divide several times in New Mexico and in Mazatlan Mexico.

Our lunch spot.

We're heading to West Thumb.

Spotting lots more bison.

Mud Volcano Area, also known for Black Dragon's Caldron, Sour Lake, Mud Caldron, Dragon's Mouth Spring, and Sulfur Caldron, is very acidic. Iron sulfide is responsible for the dark-gray, blacker brown-colored water, while hydrogen sulfide produces the "rotten egg" smell common to the Mud Volcano area.

Union Falls

Yellowstone's first superintendents struggled with poaching, vandalism, squatting and other problems. In 1886, the U.S Army soldiers marched into Mammoth Hot Springs at the request of the Secretary of the Interior and took charge of Yellowstone. Soldiers oversaw Fort Yellowstone's construction—sturdy red-roofed buildings still in use today as the Albright Visitor Center, offices, and employee housing.

Yellowstone’s main post office was one of 1,007 post offices constructed from 1935 to 1938 “with a view to relieving countrywide unemployment.” Using standardized plans developed from guidelines provided by the Treasury Department, these post offices were built in sizes and styles that reflect transitions in architectural design and the context of the communities in which the offices were located. The Yellowstone Post Office is a concrete building with a hipped roof in the French Renaissance Moderne style, compatible with the Art Moderne style ornament on the nearby Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, which was partially rebuilt in 1936. The post office lobby has walls of travertine from a quarry outside the park’s north entrance.

Wo, John, stop! There's an elk!!!

There is a sign posted that the road from Norris to Mammoth is closed. We plan on taking the road from Mammoth to the West entrance. We get down the road and it is closed. This adds an hour to our trip plus we got behind a tourist who couldn't read the "slower traffic use the pullouts", delaying us further and it starts raining hard.

Spotted these as we turned around to head back the long way.

And we were treated to this! Elk.

13 hours on the road, 311 km in the park. definitely time to settle in.


  1. That was a very big day. Don't you have elk at home? Like in Canada? I thought we saw some.

  2. An utterly magnificent landscape! You were spoiled for wildlife!


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