Bubbles and bison - the sights and sounds of Yellowstone National Park.
Almost six weeks have passed since we boarded a plane and flew away from our Wild West adventure, but I haven't forgotten about it. On the contrary, despite the whirlwind nature of the trip and everything that followed, every majestic moment of our experience still feels fresh. Like the breathtaking moment that we got our first glimpse of wildlife.
After this moment we would have the good fortune of spotting a few more - including a solitary bison lazily lounging under a tree and a herd walking out of the morning mist toward the road (on the day that Owen and I left the Tetons) but nothing compares to the first sighting. If, like me, you have never seen one before it is not unlike what I can only imagine it would be to see a unicorn. Magical, unearthly, as if you had entered an alternative realm. They are massive and lumbering, and they look up at you with their shaggy heads and big, soft eyes, like they could maybe be your fairy-tale pet, except they're not, they're real and wild, and they can run at 35 miles per hour, so there's no point in trying to get too close. Just forget that selfie. That's how people get gored.
|No lack of waterfalls. This one is at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.|
|Mammoth Hot Springs|
At all of these otherworldly places you really, really just want to walk on the formations or dive into the bubbling pools, but you can't. Because you will either fall through the delicate crust or boil alive, or both.
|Good morning Grand Prismatic Spring.|
|Patiently awaiting the "Old Geezer".|
And here, HERE, is the beautiful Grand Prismatic Spring in all it's glory, as captured from the nearby hill, which did not have an actual trail, but was being climbed by many tourists, and even though I had been told that there would be "no need" for hiking shoes at this spring, clearly there was, but that's okay, I climbed it anyway...in flip flops...like a trooper (not really, I complained the whole time) because THAT'S how I roll!
[Side note: When we moved on to the Tetons we met a number of very interesting people, including a climber who worked as a physician's assistant at Yellowstone and when we told him that we had visited the Grand Prismatic Spring he fixed us with an accusing stare and demanded, "And did YOU climb that hill on the side that says 'DO NOT CLIMB', but somehow is always sending tourists into the clinic?" Busted.]
This was also actually the second time that we had visited the Grand Prismatic Spring. We had tried to get ahead of the game and avoid the massive crowds by going early in the morning, but what we didn't realize was that the spring is almost completely covered in steam at this point in the day, totally obscuring its trademark colors. Still, the steam creates, in itself, a lot of visual interest, a sort of mystical beauty, and the silver lining to this mistake is that I now have two panoramas (morning and afternoon) to compare.
|If I were a better photographer they would have been taken at the exact same spot...|
|...but you get the idea|
I'm still amazed at how much we were able to see in the park. We could have easily filled another day. There was so much to do! As it was, we were leaving early in the morning and not getting back to our campsite until well past dinner time (much to my husband's distress), but it was worth it. And if I decide that I really must see more, well, I will just have to return.