Monday, June 18, 2018

Yellowstone National Park

The drive between Glacier and Yellowstone was long. We knew it was going to be a long day, so we didn't schedule anything except the drive. Once we arrived in West Yellowstone, though, Daddy and I couldn't wait to explore.

We moved into our hotel room (and with all the stuff we have, it really is like moving) before taking off to explore. The girls were quite happy to stay in the hotel's gaming room. 

The hotel was really close to the park's gates. We were excited to be so close to the park. It wasn't until we entered the park and saw the map that we realized we weren't all that close. Oh, we were close to the gate, but the things we wanted to see were a drive away. About 30 minutes after we entered the park, we arrived at our first stop.

Yellowstone National Park is known for its geysers. A guide said it was the second most active geyser site after New Zealand. The geysers were really cool. From the Old Faithful spectacle to the smaller steaming sites, geysers lived up to the billing.

What we found really fascinating were the other natural wonders. From paint pots to hot springs to the colorful pools, everything had this strange, other-worldly quality. The geysers sent up smelly steam filled with sulfur. It created a hard, white crust on the ground around each geyser. This crust was almost a chalky color. In places the crust extended for miles. It was a really interesting and spooky effect.

We traveled both the upper and lower loops. The two sides were quite different. The one side had amazing geysers, paint pots and hot springs everywhere. The other side had more wildlife, waterfalls, a gorgeous canyon and a super volcano. 

We saw different wildlife quite a bit closer than we expected. We always kept a safe distance, despite our fascination. We didn't even have to work hard to find wildlife. We would be driving from one place to another when we would see cars parked along the road. This was a sure sign that something was there. We saw several male Elks, buffalo herds, foxes, wolves, mule deer and more. 

What didn't we see? Bears. We drove through multiple states and two national parks where bear training was shared at every turn. We never saw a bear. 

Yellowstone was everything we hoped and more. From the beautiful hot springs with stunning colors to the fabulous buffalo herds, we made memories for a lifetime. 

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