Thursday, August 13, 2015

Yellowstone National Park - Adventure Day 3

Another great night of sleep and like clockwork I heard those coyote again only this time I heard them twice! The first time was nearly at the exact same time as the night before and then I heard them again around 5am! It was that same coming in from a distance, getting closer, then fading away!
The sun was rising with a beautiful blue sky and it looked like a beautiful day was off to a great start! Scott got the coffee brewing and soon Steve and Patti were up and breakfast was cooking! Eggs, bacon and toasted bagels with fresh brewed coffee! We all made our sandwiches for the day and packed up lunch, plenty of water and snacks in our handy Scout cooler. 
Today's plan was to drive the upper loop, however we had to pass thru a few areas that we had explored yesterday to get there. We missed the Grand Prismatic Spring yesterday, so that was our first stop today! It was truly a highlight of the park!
The colors were so vivid - quite a sight to see!

It was pretty amazing to also see bear paw & bison footprints. You can't tell from the photos, but  the prints are under a very shallow depth of crystal clear water!

It was so cool to see the water boiling up & the beautiful shade of teal!

We spent quite awhile in this area - there was just so much to see! After this, we headed towards Tower Falls, with more bison blocking the road and walking along the side of the road. We stopped at Dunraven Pass for a picnic lunch.
Patti was checking off all the wildlife we were seeing and a Raven was one of them! 
This one just happened to be in our picnic area!
 All the pines in YNP are so tall and narrow, so I couldn't resist taking 
this shot as I looked up from our picnic table!
After lunch we traveled thru Dunraven Pass with beautiful views of Mount Washburn! The road had many hairpin turns as we gained elevation along the road. The views were breath-taking. We finally found a place to stop, stretch our legs and take in the beauty! 
If you look very closely in the next picture, you can see Steve just right of the center of the photo. 
We all climbed up top for stunning views in all directions!

We continued on our journey towards Tower Fall - it's amazing how 
the terrain can change so quickly! We finally arrived at Tower Fall and had a short hike to the viewing area. It was pretty crowded and I had to wait to be able to snap a few photos. It was also extremely hot - really had not ever expected to have TN heat in WY!

While I was snapping pictures, Steve and Patti headed down a path that was off the Falls viewing area. I overheard a few people say that the path to the falls was closed, so Scott and I decided to just wait for them to come back up. We waited and waited and then I talked to a few people coming up and asked where the path led to. Several said "just the river", like it was no big deal. I figured we weren't missing anything, so waited a bit more. I then told Scott that they are no doubt waiting on us to catch up, so we headed down the path. It wasn't long and we got this view!
About midway down to the river we met up with Steve and Patti. It was a steep decent to the river with switch-backs the whole way down. After the views, I told them we just HAD to go down to the river - could not pass it up! About that time we saw several Asians coming up and one was crying - we were clueless about what she was crying about and we figured it must be from the breath-taking beauty, that it no doubt just made her emotional...later we would figure out that it was entirely a different reason - haha!
We finally reached the river and really had a super steep and slippery dirt path to get to the river, but it was oh so worth it! The Yellowstone River is just plain gorgeous! 

After playing in the ice cold water for a bit, we started our way back up the path. Steve and Patti decided to create their own short-cut. Scott stayed on the path because he was carrying my camera backpack for me. I just had my camera strapped around my neck, so figured I could take the short cut too. That was all fine and dandy till I had to stop and snap a pic of Steve and Patti's butts because I was laughing at them. 

That's when I dropped my lens cap in the powdery dirt. GREAT! I was straddling a tree trunk as I performed acrobats to reach my lens cap. It was filthy, so all I could do was put it in my pocket. At that point I decided since my camera now didn't have a lens cap on it, that I best make my way back to the path and follow that up. 
The path was STEEP the entire way up and it was so HOT! We had to keep stopping every few minutes to catch our breath...that's when we realized that the Asian woman that we saw crying was no doubt crying because she was in pain from climbing up the tall ravine! 
We reached the top and then spent a good amount of time in the Gift Shop enjoying the air conditioning before we left the horribly congested parking lot. 

Next stop was Calcite Springs Overlook
An interesting feature running along the opposite wall of the canyon, is a line of uniform volcanic pillars. The basalt columns testify to a more active volcanic period in Yellowstone's past, when a 25-foot layer of lava flowed across the land. It was an amazing sight!

We stopped at Tower Roosevelt with more spectacular views... 

...then headed thru Blacktail Deer Plateau... 
...where we were greeted by some Pronghorn Deer!

Next stop was beautiful Undine Falls

We passed by this beautiful stone church... we made our way to Fort Yellowstone.

The sage you see in the foreground is a common sight all over Yellowstone!
We then decided to do the drive tour of Mammoth Hot Springs, rather than the boardwalks.

The view up top was amazing!

We also were excited to see more Elk!

We then headed past Indian Creek, Grizzly Lake, Twins Lakes, seeing a swan
and more Hot Springs along the way.

Back along the Gibbon River we saw more Elk!

...and ducks...

 ...and geese!

After leaving there, we were headed back to our cabin when Steve mentioned that he thought he saw an eagle. I asked Scott to turn around and I told Steve that if it ended up being a Buzzard I was gonna kill him! LOL! Scott turned around and stopped off the side of the road and sho 'nuff it was an eagle across the river! I got my 70-300mm lens attached and headed across the road to get some shots! 

Being across the Yellowstone River, he was still a ways off, so I was going to get closer to the river for a better shot. That's when I just happened to look up and saw this!

I quickly snapped this pic from the distance of where I was standing, then proceeded to walk closer. Scott, Patti and Steve were all in the car and looking at me like where in the world was I going because I was walking away from the one across the river. I pointed up to Eagle #2, which was right there almost over my head! I couldn't believe it! I walked up as close as I dared and took a gazillion more shots at close range! None of these are cropped, so you can see just how close I was to this majestic bird! It's been on my bucket list to get a shot of an eagle and here I was in the perfect spot!

He just sat up there at full attention and so majestic - it was an awesome sight!
I waited and waited, after I took shot after shot, hoping he would fly to his mate across the river, who was calling for him. You might know, that as soon as I turned and headed for the car, he took flight and I totally missed it! I really didn't care tho, because I had gotten my prize and could not have been more thrilled at the experience!

We got back to our cabin, cleaned up, changed clothes and headed into West Yellowstone for a delicious dinner at Three Bear Restaurant. Patti and I had stuffed trout and it was excellent!!

After dinner and some shopping, we headed back to the cabin where the skies were full of stars! I just couldn't resist getting a few shots of the amazing Milky Way.
I gotta admit that while I was out there taking these shots, in the pitch black of night, I was a little fearful a bear might show up and scare me! So very thankful that I got the shots without getting eaten by a bear - haha!
...and at the end of this day
all I can say
only God could create such beauty!

It's off to bed to dream about tomorrow's trip to Grand Teton National Park...

No comments:

Post a Comment