Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tuesday: a Tour of Yellowstone NP

Yellowstone National Park is a big, big place, with lots to see and do.  We decided the best way to get an overview was to do a ten-hour tour from the Lake Jackson Lodge.  We were fortunate to have a very knowledgeable driver, with a natural sense of humor, but not a humorist.  So we learned a great deal from him.

We think the highlights were:
1.  seeing the Bee Hive Geyser and Old Faithful erupt almost simultaneously.  Our driver timed the tour so we got to Old Faithful a few minutes before its "scheduled" eruption.  But when we got there, we found a lot of excitement around the adjacent Bee Hive Geyser.  Pretty soon, they both started to erupt.  I suppose that if Old Faithful did its thing without competition, we'd have been impressed.  But Bee Hive was more impressive, higher, more volume, more drama.
Old Faithful

2.  seeing the Prismatic Hot Springs, with an incredible range of colors introduced by bacteria that live in very hot environments.

3.  our favorite, seeing the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.  The walls of the canyon are yellow, giving Yellowstone its name.  There is an exquisite waterfall that we could watch for hours.
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Yellowstone Falls
On our way back to Lake Jackson, we stopped on the Lake Yellowstone Lodge - perhaps the worst example of lodge architecture we've seen, redeemed only by being beside the calm and peaceful Lake Yellowstone.
Lake Yellowstone
Our road back to Grand Teton went through hills populated by a herd of bison (no pictures because my batteries died).  Great fun.  And we made an unscheduled stop to watch a bear swim across a creek.

Our ten-hour tour lasted eleven-plus hours, but that was just fine with us.  When we got bacl to the Lake Jackson Lodge, the clouds were pretty thick, spitting rain drops and threatening a deluge that never came.