Monday, September 28, 2009

Yellowstone - Animals

Yellowstone National Park is so big I'm breaking up the posts in parts - this one features the animals.

Bison was everything.

Within minutes of our arrival, in the middle of setting up our tent, a family of bisons calmly walked by yards away (3rd photo) (momma bison, dad, 2 kids + 1 teenager). Setting the tone for the rest of the trip when we'd see bison pretty much all day, everyday. From a lone bison at the side of the road to herds of hundreds in the beautiful Hayden Valley (first photo)

We were lucky to see 3 bears. At least one was a black bear. All 3 were far away so while we could see them clearly through the binoculars we couldn't see clearly enough to figure out the type.

Other sightings included plenty of elk, pronghorn sheep, bald eagles and a giant river otter (Adrian is now scared to go into a river)

We searched in vein to spot wolves & moose.

Coolest thing we saw were herds of bison crossing a river (4th photo)

Yellowstone - Geothermal features

Yellowstone National Park is so big I'm breaking down the post into parts - this is about the geothermal features.

Yellowstone sits on top of a Caldera - which is a fancy word for ''big ass volcano that can blow at any time''

This underground volcano mixes with water and fissures in the ground to create all kinds of fun stuff.

The most famous are the ''geyers'', but there are thousands of them, more than just Old Faithful. As you drive/walk around the park the geyers are all over the place.

My favorite were the ''mud pots'' and ''hot springs''. Often deep holes with brilliant aquamarine or turqouis colors caused by bacteria interacting with minerals, these hot springs are just beautiful.

One of our favorite place was ''Minerva's Steps'' (2nd photo down) as minerals washing down the mountains created a beautiful cascading effect.

Another favorite was ''Roaring Mountain'' as heat escaping from air vents inside a mountain caused the entire area to ''roar''.

We went swimming in Madison River and it was warm to the touch due to the volcanic activities.

Pony Day

Princess Mia enjoys her day with the ponies