Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Yellowstone National Park - Adventure Day 2

We all slept well, however I woke up in the middle of the night hearing a pack of coyote (or possibly wolves) howling! I could hear them coming from a distance as they got closer and closer then quickly faded away! It sounded like a rather large group of them and I wondered where they were coming from and going to. I fell back asleep dreaming of the chance to snap a few pictures of some while we are in the park!!
We were up and at 'em in the morning, ready for our Yellowstone Park adventure to begin! Patti made us a delicious breakfast of ham & biscuits! We also had fresh ground local coffee - mmm! Patti also made us all ham and cheese bagel sandwiches, which we packed in my handy Scout cooler that I managed to pack in my suitcase to bring along on the trip! This proved to be quite a valuable item for us each day! We had plenty of snacks and drinks for the day and we loaded up the SUV and headed to the West Entrance of Yellowstone Park for a day of adventure and awe! 

This pic was actually taken on our last day in Yellowstone!
 It was the only time we could get in front of the sign when it
wasn't crowded with Asian tourists!
It was a bit cloudy and spitting sprinkles of rain, but we didn't let that discourage us and the forecast was for the skies to clear. Our first stop was Gibbon Falls, which has a drop of about 84 feet. It is located at Madison Junction off the Grand Loop Road. This first stop began a theme in my head that would play over and over again - Only God could create such beauty and it was everywhere you looked!
Gibbon Falls
Gibbon Falls
Gibbon River at base of the falls
On the way back to the car, the guys got quite interested in the old Yellowstone Tour bus.

Next stop was Artist Paint Pots. We had an easy hike to trails with several hot springs, mud pots and geysers. The sulfuric smell was in the air everywhere...

Norris Geyser Basin was our next point of interest and quite amazing to see all the geothermal features with spectacular colors in that area! Once again the smell of sulfur was everywhere!

We stopped at Virginia Cascades for a lunch break where we FINALLY saw some wildlife!
Ok, ok, so it's a chipmunk! It still qualifies for "wildlife" - LOL!

The weather in Yellowstone is a total mixed bag. There is a cool breeze one minute and you are peeling off clothes and sweating the next. It was a tad chilly at our picnic spot - at least for us girls! After our yummy picnic lunch...
...we headed towards the Canyon Visitors Center and then decided to not follow our planned itinerary and complete the lower loop today and upper loop tomorrow.
 We headed to Inspiration Point, Artists Point and saw both the Lower and Upper Falls area, along with the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone - what a spectacular sight! Only God could create such beauty!!

These pictures just don't do justice to the massive beauty  - it was just breath-taking! On our way to the Falls we got to see more wildlife! REAL wildlife this time!! There were two BIG elk just waiting for me to snap their picture! They actually could have cared less that I was there in the woods, hiding and snapping pictures...with a few Asians...LOL!

Inspiration Point and Artists Point:
On my way back from taking this shot...

...I was excited to see this nest of Osprey sitting on top of a portion of the canyon!

I have many-many more pics of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and the Falls and I will post a link to more pictures at the end of all my trip notes - you don't want to miss seeing all of them!
On our way thru Hayden Valley, traffic got super-super slow...this was the reason for the traffic hold up! This fella was on a mission, headed straight down the center of the road! He walked right past our vehicle not giving a care to all the cars stopped along his pathway!
There were even several Bison laying down in the middle of the road, which caused more traffic jams as cars had to go out and around them! It was crazy funny to see and experience! We were in the Hayden Valley, which is Bison Territory and they were everywhere!

Our next stop was Sulfur Caldron and Mud Volcano where we saw many more Bison!

While the rest of my crew headed to the rest rooms and I was headed back to the car, I overheard a Ranger telling a woman that people need to be aware that Bison are not safe - just because you are on the walkway, doesn't mean you are safe from them. He made it clear that "nowhere is safe when you are around them". About a minute later I heard the Ranger yelling for everyone to "get off the sidewalk and in your cars NOW! Move away from the Bison"! I turned around to see a herd of Bison heading down the sidewalk! Of course I had to snap a picture...
 ...or two...or three! They all seemed to be following the "head honcho" and Asians were running everywhere and hollering in their foreign tongue - it was a sight to behold! LOL!
运行你的生活 (Translates to Run for your life!!!) 
We loaded up our SUV and followed the Bison out of the parking lot while we all were laughing at the sight we just witnessed in the parking lot! 
Next destination was Yellowstone Lake and oh what a beautiful and enormous lake it is! Once again - only God could create such beauty! The water is crystal clear and oh so beautiful...and COLD!
These pictures just don't give justice in how enormous this lake is,
but you can get an idea by looking at the map I posted above.
We talked to the Ranger for a bit and asked why there was a lack of boats on the lake. He explained that there is really only one Marina on the lake and it's not very easy to access.

We passed by the Continental Divide on our way to Old Faithful. 

It was getting late in the day, time for some chow and we wanted to get to Old Faithful before the sun went down. We passed over the Continental Divide again before arriving at the Visitors Center for Old Faithful. We scoped out a few restaurants, then decided on a sandwich shop so that we had time to walk the boardwalk to all the geysers before sunset at Old Faithful. There were so many of them and each one was amazing along the mile or so loop we walked!!

 We got to witness several of them spewing - it was amazing!

 The reflections in the still pools and the colors in the ground was another awesome sight!

The sun was beginning to set and we picked up our pace to get to Old Faithful before the blow! 

I wanted to set up in a specific spot so I could catch the sunset while Old Faithful blew and I was lucky enough to get the perfect spot! Pretty much to the scheduled minute, Old Faithful started erupting - wow! It was just amazing! I could hear cameras snapping all around me!

Only God could create such beauty!!
Oh what will Day 3 have in store for us?
We can only imagine...

(Note: You can click on one picture and open to a window to see all pics in a larger view).

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