Part 19: Yellowstone Park (east)


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The Trip

We spent the night in Yellowstone Park at the RV site near Fishing Bridge. I am not sure why they call it Fishing Bridge because when we went there all we saw were signs that said "No Fishing from Bridge". Go figure. Our plan was to leave the park via the north portal and head toward Glacier National Park and then return some days later to see the west side of the park and the more famous attractions like Old Faithful. Our path took us through the east side of the park. The photos below are what we saw.

Yellowstone Park is famous for geothermal activity. The fumarole above was one of hundreds that we saw in this area.

Close to the road were craters that were belching huge clouds of sulfurous steam.

Some of the steam plumes rose high in the sky.

This fellow was right next to the trail watching the the tourists pass and eating like there was no tomorrow. In a sense, due to the coming winter, there are only few tomorrows before the snows cover all the food.

These mud pots were bubbling hard and the stench was foul.

Some of these ponds were quite large.

In the nearby Yellowstone River, the fly fishermen were doing their thing.

There was a large fumarole on the east side of the river.

Further up the road, we came upon this herd of buffalo.

A bit to the north, we saw this fellow right next to the road. He knew we were there, but did not care.

A bit later, the bull went to the dust wallow to mark it with his scent. He used both the glands on his snout and his urine. Note the stream in the photo above.

These buffs were right next to the road. I am sure that the stream of cars provided entertainment for them.

This calf looked to be in pretty good shape.

We spotted this fellow in the parking lot, fresh out of the dealership. I am guessing that this fellow had never camped before as there was nary a scratch on the paint and not a speck of mud to be seen anywhere on the vehicle. Nice leather interior too. Not so practical for camping, but it looked good. Sadly, the owner never saw the mog as we left before he did. Or, he was scared to approach his vehicle while we were there and waited until we left to return.

We went north to see the upper falls on the Yellowstone river.

The lower falls were a bit more dramatic.

The lower falls with a bit more context.

Deep in the canyon below the lower falls, a steam vent in the canyon wall was visible.

This bull elk was lurking next to the road.

Further up the road, at Canyon, we came to this overlook that provided a great view of the basalt layers in the strata.

The overlook had a great view of the Yellowstone Canyon.

At the base of the cliffs, a steam vent is visible.

We went north to Mammoth Hot Springs. In the parking lot, we saw these elk who had claimed the yard of this cottage.

One of the interesting structures at Mammoth Hot Springs.

The heavily mineralized water from the hot springs has deposited these shelves of calcite.

Differing chemical compositions have resulted in changing colors of the deposition.

A close-up of the deposition shelves.

The spring was active when we were there, but not as active as it has been in the past. Many areas were dry.

The branches in the water above are in the process of being fossilized by the calcite in the water.

The top of the springs was a surreal landscape.

These trees were killed by the heavy mineral content of the water.

When we returned to the parking lot, we found this elk working on the bushes at the cottage. She balanced on her hind legs for quite awhile, and did it with ease and grace.

Near the north exit of the park, we passed this herd of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.

The ram was bored with the whole affair and gave us a nice big yawn.

Near Gardiner, MT we passed this interesting set of upturned beds. The alternating layers of hard and soft rock eroded to make troughs in the mountainside.

After we left Yellowstone, we headed toward Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park to spend the night. Little did we know how nice the caverns were going to be, but that is another story.

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