Yellowstone National Park , Wyoming: Part 1

August 15, 2008

August 15, 2008: Simon Brewer, Anna Morrell, Shawn Maroney, and Brandon Nelson took a fast tour of Yellowstone National Park: hitting nearly all the most popular attractions in the park in one day.

We woke the morning of the 15th and were not sure what to go see/do for the day. We had some options: drive southeast to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, do some hiking in Grand Teton National Park, start our trip back home, or take advantage of the two-park pass we purchased when entering Grand Teton National Park by heading north into Yellowstone National Park. We decided to make the trip into Yellowstone Nat. Pk., even though we had not planned on visiting the park on the trip.

Since we had decided to visit Yellowstone I really wanted to see 'Old Faithful' erupt and check out the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River. First I wanted to get some pictures of the front-lit Teton Range, since we had entered the park in the evening the previous day. Upon taking pics of the Tetons I discovered I had filled up my 4 Gig memory card! So, Shawn got on the net, found some phone numbers, called around, and found a General Store in Yellowstone with more flashcards. And we were off to Yellowstone...

Now, I had low expectations of Yellowstone; I had seen numerous documentaries, shows, pictures, etc. of Yellowstone National Park, and I was not really impressed with what I had seen. Probably the coolest thing I had seen regarding Yellowstone was the geothermal activity and waterfalls. Also, the TV shows covering Yellowstone that I had watched, while growing up, were always focused overcrowding in the park, which really turned me off from wanting to visit. So there we were driving into Yellowstone and immediately upon entering the park there was a waterfall!

The waterfall wasn't very big, but the scene was beautiful: a gorgeous prestine mountain river surrounded by evergreens with a waterfall.

The picture on the right shows one of the first waterfalls we encountered in the park. I believe that might be 'Lewis Falls', but I'm not sure, because there were so many falls in that area.

Image on the right shows a close-up of what I think was 'Lewis Falls'.

We had entered at the south entrance of the park on SR 89, since we had come from Grand Teton National Park. We first went to the General Store in Grant Village to buy a Flashcard for my camera; luckily they had a 4 GB memory card available, but unluckily I paid almost twice the amount I would normally have to pay at an electonic store. The price for the memory card was high, but I needed it, since I hadn't brought my laptop on the trip.

We talked to a nice lady at the cash register in the General Store and she showed us a bunch of great attractions she thought was a must see for our trip. We then told her we only had this one day in the park, and she thought it was impossible for us to see all the attractions she pointed out, but we told her we would make an attempt anyway.

We ate brunch, since it was too early for lunch and we skipped breakfast, at a resturant attached to the General Store: I got a tasty burger with jalapenos and BBQ sauce. After we ate we hauled it west on SR 20 towards the main attraction at Yellowstone: the Upper Geyser Basin and 'Old Faithful'. Basically, there are two big loops you can take to drive around Yellowstone National Park, and we traveled around the southern loop that day trying to hit all the big attractions on that loop. The first big attraction on that loop was Upper Geyser Basin, which included 'Old Faithful'. One cool thing about Yellowstone was that we crossed the Continental Divide multiple times within the park.

The image on the right shows one of the signs for the Continental Divide on our way to 'Old Faithful'.

Next to the sign for the Continental Divide above was a pond with 'lillypad-type' plants all over the water surface. The image on the right shows this pond.

We raced to Upper Geyser Basin and 'Old Faithful'; when entering the basin we had come down a hill and were able to see a large plume of steam rising above the trees. We thought this was 'Old Faithful' and that an eruption was occuring and we would have to wait an hour and a half for the next eruption. We discovered after parking that 'Old Faithful' had not erupted yet, we still had about 15 minutes before the eruption, and the plume of steam we had seen from SR 20 was from another geyser. We knew there were multiple geysers, hot springs, steam vents, mud pots, and pools across Yellowstone, but we didn't know there were so many and they were concentrated. There were pools, vents, springs, and geysers all over the place! It was truely amazing!

The image on the right shows 'Old Faithful' releasing steam about 5 minutes before an eruption. Steam plumes from other geysers and pools can be seen in the background.

Image on the right shows steam emitted from 'Old Faithful' minutes before an eruption.

Image on the right shows Anna posing in front of 'Old Faithful' before an eruption. 'Old Faithful' is so popular that a long crescent deck with benches multiple rows deep surrounded the south side of the geyser. The 'stadium' was 'sold-out' this morning with hundreds if not thousands of eager tourists including our group.

The first signs of an erupton began with little 'spurts' of water bubbling/spitting a few feet into the air. This occurred for a little bit until larger shots of water was ejected. Finally it looked like a fire-hose spraying vertically and the water was near boiling. It was an awesome spectacle and I now understand why it is so popular. The image on the right shows 'Old Faithful' early into an eruption.

Image on the right shows 'Old Faithful' approaching the mature portion of an eruption.

Image on the right show 'Old Faithful' at around the maximum, peak, or mature part of an eruption. I was surprised at the relative quietness of the eruption. In shows they crank up the volume and make an eruption sound thunderous, but it was pretty tame. The ground did not shake, and it sounded like a highpressure hose at a do-it-yourself-carwash, but it was still very cool to witness.

The image on the right shows the peak of the eruption of 'Old Faithful' geyser.

Image on the right shows 'Old Faithful' eruption.

Image on the right shows 'Old Faithful' eruption at Yellowstone National Park.

Image on the right shows the eruption 'winding down' at 'Old Faithful'.

It's amazing to see the velocity at which the water leaves the opening of the geyser. The image on the right shows a close-up or zoomed in picture of 'Old Faithful' eruption as it winded-down.

Image on the right shows 'Old Faithful' eruption as it nears its end.

Image on the right shows the eruption of 'Old Faithful' as less water is leaving the geyser.

Image on the right shows the end of the eruption of 'Old Faithful' as mostly steam is leaving the geyser and less water can be seen.

Image on the right shows Shawn expressing his magical powers! Not really, but for those of you who thought he was; it was merely a grand-Las Vegas-style illusion.

Image on the right shows 'Old Faithful' from the east looking west at the geyser. One day I would like to return and get some more photos and video of an eruption or Old Faithful.

Image on the right shows 'Old Faithful' in the distance. We decided to quickly walk through the Upper Geyser Basin region and check out all the cool pools, springs, and other geysers.



Click Here to See Part Two of Yellowstone National Park


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