Yellowstone National Park Journals

Yellowstone Too

An August 2003 trip to Yellowstone National Park by Malahini

Upper Falls  Photo, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming More Photos
Quote: Our second trip to Yellowstone was a two week stay with a base at Big Sky, MT. It was part of a six week ramble from Minnesota to Sedona. Another journal covers a prior camping trip here and the geology. This one is mostly about the spectacle and colors.

Yellowstone Too

Overview

Upper Falls  Photo, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Quote:
From wildlife to geysers, to colored canyon walls, waterfalls, and rainbows in the mist, this park will transport you to another world.

Quick Tips:

The park is huge and diverse. You won't be able to see all in a day, and it's all worth your time. Plan a week or more in the vicinity if possible.

This year (2003) the east park entrance was closed by fire for weeks. Check ahead so you're prepared if a route change is necessary.

Best Way To Get Around:

There are many bus tours, but you can see it best from a personal auto and your own two feet. You won't be ready to leave when the bus is ready.

Buffalo Herd & Elk Sightings

Attraction | "Buffalo and Elk"

Buffalo Herd & Elk Sightings Photo, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Quote:
On a prior spring trip, we enjoyed large buffalo herds crossing the river near West Yellowstone. This fall, they'd been replaced by elk. A ranger explained that the buffalo like that pasture in the spring, and the elk don't contest the larger buffalo then. But the buffalo move on to the Haden Valley in the fall, which leaves their former home to the elk. In any case, the wildlife--including eagles--are a major tourist stopper along the roads. Just look for the lines of parked cars. And the animals are remarkably unconcerned by the people. Some of the photos show how close to the cars they come. Just remember folks, these are wild creatures and BIG. Don't let their peaceful appearance lure you i...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 24, 2003

Buffalo Herd & Elk Sightings
Road to West Entrance
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190
(307) 344-7381

Uncle Tom's Trail

Attraction

Uncle Tom's Trail Photo, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Quote:
Not a long walk, but definitely not a brief one down these 328 steps. But oh, what a view! You're up close and personal with the Lower Falls, and with the sun out, there's a rainbow in the spray. Colors in the canyon walls are an artist's dream and, far overhead, tourists who've walked to the overlook at the brink of the Lower Falls are visible as small specks.

Take your time on the walk back up. Join your fellow climbers, some breathing hard, some just awestruck.

And don't forget camera and film.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 24, 2003

Uncle Tom's Trail
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190
(307) 344-7381

Basalt Crystals

Attraction | "Basalt crystals - fingerprints of time"

Basalt Crystals Photo, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Quote:
Another Yellowstone journal notes how huge basalt needles in Devil's Tower are repeated at several Yellowstone locations. Intriguing but not surprising considering Yellowstone's birth by volcanic explosion 600,000 plus years ago. But here they are at Sheepeater Cliffs (near Mammoth Hot Springs) and in the canyon walls near Tower Falls. Such crystal growth takes time and bespeaks an insulating cover over the lava flow which allowed extremely slow cooling.

Today at Sheepeater Cliffs picnic spot, the rock piles from broken crystals make a great playground for marmots.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 25, 2003

Basalt Crystals
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190
(307) 344-7381

Lower Falls

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "The View from Artist's Point - Yellowstone NP"

Lower Falls Photo, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Quote:
The artist was Thomas Moran, whose vivid watercolors in the 1870s promoted the park's establishment. This was his favorite viewpoint, for obvious reasons. In the far distance, Lower Falls thunders a column of mist into the sky, with a pallette for rainbows when the sunlight's right. For miles straight toward you, the silver river flows far below your feet, past light and flaming cliff walls whose color belies that they once were lava from a magma chamber miles below. A ranger explained that ages of cooking in the acid bath of geysers and hot springs had softened and bleached the lava, letting the color of iron deposits show through. Then glaciers came and their meltwater cut a canyon in the softened r...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 26, 2003

Lower Falls

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190
(307) 344-7381

Mammoth Hot Springs

Attraction

Mammoth Hot Springs Photo, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Quote:
Like mineral colors throughout the park, these hues also spring from hot water boiled out from deep underground by the huge magma pool below. But the method here is different. The flow is gentle and steady, across slopes which drain the flow rather than letting it pool. So the flow can cool, depositing dissolved minerals as the temperature drops. These deposits build to form terraces. Colors come from algae and water temperature affects the algae color. When drainage changes dry some of the terraces, the color bleaches to white. So there's quite a color pallette available from the wide range of water temperatures -- and quite a range of shapes from the mineral deposits. Wooden walkways and stair...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 27, 2003

Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190
(307) 344-7381

Tower Falls

Attraction

Tower Falls Photo, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Quote:
Among the many waterfalls in Yellowstone, this is one that deserves special mention. That's more for the towering rock spires that surround it than for the waterfall itself. It lies near the start of the road to the northeast entrance, close to Roosevelt Lodge. There's a store and restaurant there and a steep trail down to the river. But a very short paved walk leads to an overlook with a commanding view of the falls and rock towers. Evidently this was a favorite of painter Thomas Moran also. One of his paintings is posted at the overlook.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 28, 2003

Tower Falls
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190
(307) 344-7381

Fortitude Falls

Attraction

Fortitude Falls Photo, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Quote:
Many and grand are the waterfalls in Yellowstone. There are too many to cover here, but there's a book called Waterfalls of Yellowstone by Charles Maynard that details 42 (hence the title of this entry; please pardon the pun). Our photos show several which are very accessible from the road. All are beautiful, peaceful, and fun to linger and watch. Surprisingly, most had good water flow despite the 2003 drought. There’s more information on many of the waterfalls is available at the website. Gibbon Falls was right at the parking area on a heavily traveled road, so it was often crowded but very popular. We stopped s...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 28, 2003

Fortitude Falls
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
(307) 344-7381

Driving Route 191

Attraction | "A Hidden Valley - an Orphan Road"

Driving Route 191 Photo, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Quote:
From our condo in Big Sky, MT, we often drove to Yellowstone NP via Rt. 191. Of the 58 miles, 20 pass through Yellowstone NP. There's no other road connection to this part of Yellowstone. Pretty drive though--straight uncrowded and level along the Galatin river valley, a fly fisherman's paradise. With woods, river, and colorful sandstone cliffs, it's a peaceful drive. It's been dry in the west for a long time, and the southeast entrance to Yellowstone was closed by fire during much of our two week stay. One day, Rt. 191 south of Big Sky was closed by fire also. So we had to detour on our return that evening. A small inconvenience, considering the fires in California this year. But you'll do wel...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 29, 2003

Driving Route 191
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park

Attraction | "Old Faithful Inn"

Yellowstone National Park Photo, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Quote:
What a spectacle! Man-made but a worthy competitor with some of the park's natural splendor. Designed by Robert Reamer near the turn of the last century, this masterpiece was built using materials from the area, lodgepole pine and lava rock. Its suspended balconies soar in an open 75 feet high lobby to the Crow's Nest, a platform where orchestras once played. Then, there's the 40-foot-tall lava rock fireplace which weighs in at 500 tons. There's even an outside porch from which Old Faithful eruption can be seen. It was threatened by wildfires in the 1980s, but was spared.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 29, 2003

Yellowstone National Park
Headwaters of the Yellowstone River
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190
(307) 344-7381

Yellowstone National Park

Attraction | "Old Faithful"

Yellowstone National Park Photo, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Quote:
So well known is this geyser that telling of it seems unnecessary. Maybe a fresh note is the trail that leads to a high viewpoint overlooking Old Faithful and the Inn. It's a steep half-mile ramble with loose gravel on the path - calling for careful footwork. But the panorama covers much of the geyser basin and makes the hike worthwhile. That and the solitude. But this entry is mostly a way to show the photos. And a visit here is a way to meet people from all over the world. First time here? Take a left on the entry road where signs direct toward stores and restaurants. The parking area there lies midway between the geyser basin and the Inn. Access is more convenient, and parking is ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 7, 2003

Yellowstone National Park
Headwaters of the Yellowstone River
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190
(307) 344-7381

Great Fountain Geyser Photo, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Quote:
Looking for a relaxing place to watch a spectacular geyser? The good news is that this one is not overcrowded and has upfront seating. The bad news is that it's infrequent. But we've been on time to watch in 2003 and in 1990. It's along Firehole Lake Drive, which lies off the road between Madison and Old Faithful. Further down the road, but visible from the Great Fountain seating, lies another smaller but more frequent geyser. Fun to watch while waiting for the hour long full performance of Great Fountain. Look at the line of parked cars and campers in one of the photos. Plenty of parking, but have a care where. Wind sweeping from the west carried the geyser's steam over the road. It certain...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 15, 2003

Great Fountain Geyser
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190
307-344-7381

Geyser Basin

Attraction | "Geysers and Hot Springs"

Geyser Basin Photo, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Quote:
What could represent the area more than the hot water plumbing? It's not just Old Faithful or Great Fountain, so here are a few more photos. Giant and Steamboat geysers, two of the largest, were not in full eruption while we were present this time. But over ten years ago we were here when Steamboat blew to 300 feet.

Less dramatic but equally beautiful are the hot springs. Colorful algae thrive in the hot water, with color changing with temperature and pool depth. I wonder if the wildlife appreciate the beauty as much as we temporary visitors do? In any event, they must like the winter warmth delivered by steam heat from deep in the earth.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 26, 2003

Geyser Basin
Old Faithful Area
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190
(307) 344-7381