Friday, March 31, 2017

Across America Part IV

Two weeks ago (before the scanner broke), we were just arriving at our primary destination - Yellowstone National Park.
My photos probably look a lot like those of thousands of other families (who may have all been visiting at the same time we were).

We saw thousands of acres of fire damage, but fire is necessary for rejuvenation, especially after decades of suppression.

The West Thumb Geyser basin has hundreds of hot springs, mud pots, and hydrothermal features.

Ryan continued to point out interesting features, like stumps on the shore of Yellowstone Lake. He wanted reprints
of all the stumps he had pointed out on the trip and made his own photo album that he called "Stumps of the West".

It even includes this rare and wondrous petrified wood stump at Mammoth Hot Springs.

Yellowstone Lake is huge, beautiful, and also where we learned about the Yellowstone Caldera.

There were times when the crowds got be a bit too much for all of us, so it was nice that the park also afforded plenty
 of places to pull over and do some quiet fishing. Some of us knit in between our duties as the official fish photographer.

The Grand View of Lower Falls was exactly that.

And of course we had to see Old Faithful. I was proud that after a ranger had explained some of the geology of the park
 to us at Yellowstone Lake, my kids understood that the eruption of Old Faithful was not caused by a ranger
 pushing a button and could explain this to the woman sitting next to us. 

We hiked and saw elk in velvet.

And buffalo up close. I took this photo from inside the RV because of this:

Yellowstone is beautiful and I'm glad we went, yet much of what I remember is crowds and traffic jams. We were there in early July, so crowds were to be expected. We didn't expect traffic jams, but we spent several hours sitting still in traffic every day of the four that we were there. Much of this was due to road construction and maintenance, and traffic also came to a complete standstill every time wildlife was sighted. All of this is understandable (and we were part of the crowds!), but I think I would not try to view Yelllowstone in a vehicle if I were to visit again. I would go in the fall and do more hiking.

One of my favorite times during our visit was when we got up really early on our last day and stopped by Norris Geyser Basin
 around sunrise. It was quiet, lovely, and we were the only one around besides the birds. Ah, solitude and beautiful views.

Next week: A rodeo and the race home.


  1. I enjoy walking down memory lane with you as you go about your adventures. I am amazed at how much you remember!! did you keep a journal of sorts or are you just looking at photos and going, yes, I remember.

  2. Another fun post Bonny! I remember being at Yellowstone in the summer and the height of tourist season. It IS a crowded spot for sure. We actually stayed at the lodge right by Old Faithful which was pretty neat. What I remember most were the blues of the various pools and the stench - lol - sulpher...just like rotten eggs. And I was nervous walking on some of the boardwalks. Ryan and his stumps made me laugh! Such a wonderful trip you had. Thanks so much for sharing with all of us.

  3. I've never been and I enjoyed seeing your photos. Too bad about the crowds, though. Ugh!

  4. (I can't believe I haven't been here all week!) The crowds still exist! We were last there in the month of July though I think so... So many wonderful things to see though. And it is so great to see all of this through your eyes. Can't wait to hear about the rodeo!

  5. I bet the crowds are a disappointment when you are trying to see the wilderness and wildlife. I really have been enjoying this series, Bonny. You taught me about the caldera, which I had never heard of before this post. Thanks for the education!

    1. It feels a bit selfish to complain about things like crowds in a beautiful place like Yellowstone, but I'll just do it differently next time (like go in the fall). I hadn't appreciated the geology of the area at all before I was there, but the hundreds of geysers, hot springs, and hydrothermal features are outward evidence of all the volcanic activity happening underground. Some of the "supervolcano" stories get a bit dramatic, but it is interesting to better understand what is going on.

  6. I so love this. All of this. "Stumps of the West"! Seriously... LOVE!!!

    I've only been to Yellowstone once -- my sisters and I stopped to camp overnight on our way back from our Oregon coast trek. I think it was June and the mosquitoes nearly ate us alive!! We got up very early the next morning and saw Old Faithful in the early morning light before continuing our trip home.

  7. Traveling the across the west with you and hearing about the antics of your boys has been great fun. That Ryan is a hoot! We have been to Yellowstone several times and its changes over my lifetime have have been amazing to see.

  8. Oh, my! What year were you there? What fantastic memories Bonny!!

  9. Yay for another travelogue! (is the scanner fixed?) I last visited Yellowstone in the 70's and it was crowded then - I can't imagine how much more so it would be 30 or 40 years later. Stumps of the West sounds like a great keepsake from your trip!

  10. I can't believe I missed this post on Friday! Oh, well . . . better late than never. :-) I LOVE Yellowstone, but I just HATE the crowds and the cars and pretty much all the other people in the park. You guys did so well to get off the beaten paths a bit! What a wonderful vacation, Bonny. I love seeing the boys. Who look so much like . . . themselves . . . only younger. (And I will be chuckling all day about "Stumps of the West." So. Great.) XO


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