It was another cold morning in Park Spring, Idaho, but not as bad as the previous one. We had to depart the cabin that we had been staying in for two nights and move on to the next destination.The eyes on the deer seemed to be following me through the house as we prepared to leave. I could not make out any particular expression.I turned over the driving responsibility for the day to Jesse. This allowed me to better see what was going on all around us as we drove to the park. Here you can see one of the big ranches that we passed. There was a lot of cattle and horses out there. We were wondering how the animals survive out in the sub-freezing temperatures of the night.We passed through West Yellowstone for the last time. A search in the town for Yaktrax, cleats that you put over your shoes to let you walk more easily on snow and ice, was unsuccessful.We had forgotten to take our obligatory National Park picture at the entrance of Yellowstone earlier during our visit. We took the pictures that morning. In case you are wondering, the other side of this sign welcomes you to the park. We chose to take the picture from this direction because of the direction of the sunlight.The fly fishermen were out in the rivers early in the morning.The first stop within the park was roadside at Beryl Spring.
Steam rose from below the boardwalk as we walked from the parking lot.Fumes filled the air from the fumaroles.Beryl Spring is supposed to be the hottest spring within the park, with temperatures close to boiling.The combination of the steam with the below freezing air temperature made for interesting formations. We were thinking that some of these scenes would have been suitable for Christmas cards.The ice crystals formed delicate patterns on the leaves.The next stop was Artists Paintpots. We had to walk a little bit to get to the terrace where the underground activity was obvious.You can climb a hill behind the terrace from which you get a view of the activity below youand also some of the venting activity on the hillside.
The small holes in the ground in the pictures below allow gases and steam under pressure to escape from below. The symmetry of the hole below was interesting to see,and also the manner in which the deposits can grow with time.Water bubbled out of the mud pots.We could see both levels of the trail as we walked back to the parking lot.The next stop was the Norris Geyser Basin. The trails were a little tricky in this location because of snow and ice. Some of us walked to one of the terraces. We followed a small loop in the back basin.
This area has the tallest geyser in the world, Steamboat geyser. Here it is before it eruptsand here is an eruption in progress.The sound that emanates from the Vixen geyser below, and its appearance, is quite unique and notable.There were many geysers and hot springs of different kinds in this area. Apparently, they are caused by the faults running below the ground in this particular section of the park. These faults allow moisture to seep into the ground through the cracks, and through the crust, into the thin mantle of the earth and close to the magma bubble beneath. What is interesting is that every geyser has its own personality and character. It could be in the size, the timing, in the noise that it generates, the nature of output – clear water spray vs. the spraying of drops, the pattern of eruption, etc. And all of these characteristics change with time as the dynamic underground forces impact the crust above it. Unfortunately, some of the changes are due to the humans who have been visiting Yellowstone. One of the geysers closed due to visitors throwing rocks into the vent for their own amusement. It is a disappointment that we humans indulge in this kind of destructive behavior even today, and not just in the context of taking care of the nature around us.
This is a general picture of the activity going on in the back basin. In the background, on the hill in the midst of the trees, is steam rising from some kind of geological activity in the ground.The area in front of us in the picture below is called the Porcelain basin. There is a trail that runs through it. We had no time to explore further.This is a picture of the venting in the Porcelain basin.It was tricky walking back to the car in the snow and ice.Our next stop was at Canyon Village. They had an interesting museum with a focus on the geological history of Yellowstone. There are very few places in the world where the forces inside the earth are close enough to the surface to be revealed to us. Iceland and Hawaii are two other such regions.
We took a drive to Inspiration Point on the north rim of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.We then went to Artist Point on the south rim of the canyon.These are views of the Yellowstone river and the lower falls from Artist Point.We walked from another parking lot on the south rim to get a closer view of the upper falls. The view might have been more impressive from the North Rim, but the parking lot there was closed.This was going to be our last day at Yellowstone. We began our drive south towards Jackson and the Grand Tetons.
On the way, while still in Yellowstone, we stopped to see Sulphur Caldron, considered the most acidic hot spring in Yellowstone.There was a newly formed vent in the parking lot. It was cordoned off.Our final stop in the park was at the location called Mud Volcano. We had to walk a trail up a hill to get to the location of the activity. This area was interesting because of all the “mud” activity. The picture below was a scene next to the parking lot. I believe it is called the Mud Caldron. Here is a bubbling mud spring half way up Cooking Hillside, with mud flowing out of it all the way to the bottom of the hill. I think it is called Sizzling Basin. There are bubbles constantly coming out of the muddy surface, like the surface of a sizzling pan.This is Churning Caldron.This is Black Dragon Caldron.This is Mud Volcano. It stopped erupting a long time ago. It is now just a hot spring.Dragons Mouth Spring.As we drove south, we came upon a section where a single coyote was hunting for food in the grass beside the trail. We stopped for a little while to take in the action.The sun was setting as we left the park. It was a pretty sunset over the lake with the Tetons in the distance to our right.The sun set behind the Tetons a short while later.There was a full moon out. I tried to get a picture of the moon but did not do too well.We stopped at Jackson for dinner. We went to Pica’s Mexican Taqueria in a Hispanic side of town. It was a small place serving the locals with authentic food. They had some canned local beers that satisfied my thirst. A huge heaping of fajita vegetables and chicken satisfied my hunger.
Then it was on to the town of Victor for the night, crossing the Teton Pass into Idaho once again. This was something that we did several times during the trip.
It was not difficult to find the cabin that we were going to stay in that night. We were very happy to find a spacious place with all the modern amenities, and best of all, two full bathrooms!
The house seemed to be located on a plain in the middle of nowhere. We got a better idea of our surroundings the next morning. I took a few pictures of the clear sky before we went to bed. I still need to develop my skills when it comes to taking nighttime shots.And that was it for the long day!
Next in this series of blogs here.