Friday, August 23, 2013

Eye Candy: Yellowstone

Last week I replaced my studio time with a trip to Yellowstone. I will resist sharing all 300 photos, but the place was so pretty I need to share some. If you've been to Yellowstone, sorry if I confuse the names of things. If you haven't I hope this post isn't too dull. 

Mammoth Hot Springs
I especially liked the sorts of structures and formations that are formed at Mammoth Hot Springs. This was our first stop on our trip around the park. I think it was the most beautiful and visually interesting single spot we visited.
Minerva Terrace (possibly)

neat shapes

neat curves juxtaposed with stalactites

or this might be Minerva Terrace

neat texture

spines? I'd like to read about why the different shapes happen
bright chartreuse
we thought we'd read about this guy falling in eventually

terrace levels

I'm pretty sure our next stop was Norris. The heat of the sun and the hot springs makes one a little less focused than one might be. We walked on a lot of boardwalks and saw a lot of hot springs.

check out that hot dry shadeless expanse (crossed by a boardwalk)
perfect setting for an apocalypse movie

green and orange

I like the yellow hole with the spiny burnt trees guarding it

Lamar Valley
On our way out of the park we saw lots of Bison. One guy was sitting right next to the road chewing his cud and soaking up the attention of the Yellowstone paparazzi.

publicity buffalo

Yellowstone Lake
The next day we drove through one of the wildfires and stopped at Yellowstone Lake. The pelicans were performing synchronized movements in a huddle. I assume they were either fishing or performing a type of water ballet. Later when I asked the Ranger why they bobbed into the water together like this, she said they don't. Apparently I photographed animatronic pelicans.

animatronic pelicans preparing for a dive


jazz wings

did I mention the fire?

Old Faithful
We ended up at Old Faithful earlier than expected because of the fire. We asked if there were any cancellations and lucked into a cabin for the night (instead of camping in the Tetons). The best part of staying at Old Faithful was the walk on the boardwalks behind the eponymous geyser at sunset. These were my favorite thermal features, but possibly that's because we had plenty of time, no crowds and it wasn't hot.

we got to see this guy erupt 3 times during our stay

the boardwalk at sunset: highly recommended

burping, bubbling, chugging, wheezing holes everywhere

Castle Geyser, my favorite (though I didn't get up to watch it erupt between 4 and 6am)
this guy filled just to the edge with boiling water then settled without seeming to overflow

boiling at the edge

orange bacterial "lily pads"

don't you love those soft organic shapes at the edges

Castle Geyser as the sun sets

this splashy guy jumped and popped and sprayed us on an off for 15 minutes while we waited

blue, orange, green, yellow, red, pink

full moon

playing with tree reflection in the water

En Route to Madison
Our last day in Yellowstone we stopped a few times on our way from Old Faithful to West Yellowstone, though I'm not sure exactly where. We saw some beautiful thermal features and the colors were especially impressive. Unfortunately the entire the population of Montana, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming were lined up on the boardwalk that day. Several of them, I believe, attempted to push me into the water. I saw a kid drop her glasses off the boardwalk and another drop her hat. Later we counted at least 6 hats and a jacket at the edge of a large, deep spring. I wonder if the rangers have a special tool for removing them. At Kids' Castle in Yakima staff uses a long stick wrapped with backwards duct-tape to retrieve balloons from the ceiling. I imagine a similar tool could retrieve hats.

seriously, the colors!

a river; not a hot spring

Yellowstone Under Canvas
On our last night we camped outside the park in what my husband called a "tent city." I found the cot and set of sleeping bags quite cosy and enjoyed a wonderful night's sleep. I would highly recommend it. However my husband ended up sleeping in the car, so he might not. If you go, don't drive through the electric fence gate like it says (it will scratch your car). Instead get out and open the gate by holding the tennis balls, don't worry, they didn't electrocute us.

really quite peaceful and pretty, and you can watch the fish in the river while you drink your hot cocoa for breakfast


  1. "spines? I'd like to read about why the different shapes happen"

    I can totally tell you this! What you are seeing is plant parts and insects and other debris that have fallen/blown into the spring. There are so many minerals in the water, they form a crust around everything that stays in the water. It's exactly the same stuff that's impossible to clean off your faucets, if you have hard water. The longer a thing stays in the water, the more mineral crust (travertine) it collects. In your picture, I see what probably used to be twigs or plant roots. I always love looking for the Travertine Bugs. Once I saw a dragonfly that must have fallen in about a month prior, and he was so beautiful, like he'd been sculpted out of tiny crystals.

    "publicity buffalo"

    Ahahaha! I love this caption. <3

    "Later we counted at least 6 hats and a jacket at the edge of a large, deep spring. I wonder if the rangers have a special tool for removing them."

    I wonder this ALL THE TIME. Grand Prismatic (the huge hot spring that looks like a rainbow - it's on ALL the postcards) is a magnet for hats. It's so windy there. When we were there last spring we stopped counting hats after a dozen. So clearly someone DOES fish them out, I just can't imagine how they get to the ones that are waaaay out there. My dad (who works for the park) claims ignorance.

  2. Wow, thanks! That's great to know. Wish I knew it when we were there. And the one where we counted 6 hats was definitely Grand Prismatic. Super busy! '


Tell me what you think about my work or this post