Yellowstone National Park

We spent several days in Yellowstone so it all seems to run together. Many long days of hiking and exploring were done.

We spent out first day exploring Old Faithful knowing that the Memorial Day weekend was approaching and crowd levels would multiply. We arrived about 30 minutes before the projected eruption. It was only 4 min part he eruption time and lasted for 3 minutes and 54 seconds. We learned how to predict when he next geyser would erupt. We guessed 10:50 and it was actually 10:54. Not too bad. They give a +/- 10 minute window for all eruptions.


Breighton and I got along great all day. We snuggled and ate a snack before the eruption. I even snuggled him and he read to me about the Old Faithful Geyser and others in the area.

Finally the eruption came! It was SO neat!


Next we hiked the Upper Geyser Basin trail. We saw lots of evidence of wildlife and even a few animals. This little guy is a pika! They have no tails.

We learned that Yellowstone sits upon a caldera. This is a former volcano but still has an active magma chamber underneath. The area is filled with fumerals, hot springs, geysers and mudpots.

We saw fumerals.

We saw hot springs.

We saw geysers.

It was amazing to see all the colors in the hot springs created by the microbes living in the water.

It was a very rainy day but we managed to stay on the edge of the front so didn’t get too soaked. On our hike back we crossed paths with a coyote. He kept his distance as did we. We were finally able to pass.

We opted to participate in a Junior Scientist program and learned a lot about the thermal features in the area. We had to use an infrared thermometer to check pool temperatures. We had to prove that indeed Yellowstone sits upon an active volcano. We were successful.

We also hiked at the mud volcanos, Artist Paint Pots, and several other thermal areas.

I loved the mud volcanos. I could have watched them for hours.

I though one of the names was fantastic. There was a fumeral called Black Dragon’s Caldron. It looked like it was spitting out fire and steam.

We got stuck in our share of bison, elk, bear or unknown jams on the roads over the holiday weekend. People don’t really think. They stop their cars in the middle of the road, hop out and run towards the animals snapping pictures the whole way. Recently a young girl was gored by a bison. You are supposed to keep 25 years away but people get within a few feet to take a photo with their iPad! UGH!

We did happen across a mother black bear with her cubs (one black and one cinnamon colored). Dad drove slowly as Mom snapped the best photo she could get across the car in a moving truck!

We explored the Mammoth Hot Springs area and hiked the area of the terraces. They were cool how the layers were formed by the hot springs bubbling up the minerals to the surface.

The landscape is forever changing. Sometimes the areas close off and then reopen in other spots. So you can see the extinct areas are dry and hot looking.

The active areas are colorful and wet.

After our hike we caught a ranger program on Big Horn Sheep! We learned all about their adaptations. I thought it was interesting that they have very keen eyesight, strong skulls and horns, and special feet for gripping and climbing.


When the program was over we saw a pika in a fumeral a few feet away. The area was also covered in elk grazing.

We earned our Junior Ranger patches and had a fun ceremony in front of the fireplace at the visitors center.

We had dinner near Old Faithful and saw it erupt another time.

On the drive to the next point the road came to a stand still. Cars lined both sides and even the middle of the road. There was no going anywhere! We were stuck… in a BEAR JAM!  By the time the cars did inch forward we caught a glimpse of the bears up in the woods. People were still out of the cars walking towards the bears. We snapped a shot while in motion and headed towards our next adventure spot.

We took a super long hike at Artist Point. It was interesting to know that the thermal feathers are still active here as well and constantly change the colors in the valley.


A rainbow popped out for us to see as we were looking at the falls.

We hiked along the ridge and then down to a few lakes.






We continued to explore more thermal areas. We saw Steamboat Geyser. It is predictable in the short term but the major eruptions are not that predictable.






We saw more hot springs. The sulfer smell is very strong.

The area was very beautiful with all the thermal features. Even the crowds of people didn’t distract from the beauty.


We never did see a moose, but not for lack of trying.

We had a lazy day the last day in Yellowstone.

We stopped at Fishing Bridge for a ranger program and got to explore some animal pelts.

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Mom did laundry, we changed and cleaned up our beds, Dad made dinner and worked on refreshing the water holding tank. We wrote in our journals and caught up on other cleaning tasks.

Sometimes we just sit and read and behave!


We are heading into the last hurrah of the big plans of the trip. Up next is Devil’s Tower National Monument and then off to Custer State Park for Mt Rushmore and several days of exploring and celebrating birthdays. Birthday week is upon us Mom (28th of May), Dad (June 1) and Breighton (June 3).

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