Yellowstone National Park - Grand Canyon
Trip Start May 25, 2009
26Trip End Jun 23, 2009
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This morning we awoke to clouds and raindrops, but we live too far away to let a little water mess with our plans so we headed into America's very first national park anyway. I think both of us felt like we might have a few hours to see the important sights before the downpour started around noon, but luck was again on our side and we actually covered about half the park today. Our guide was a Top Ten List we found online, and we thought we would just try to cover all of the things on this list in driving order as we moved around the "lower loop".
The park ranger at the front gate recommended that we not start with Old Faithful because some of the other areas require more walking, and then we could see how much time and energy we had left in the evening to hang around the world's most well known geyser. However, we were so impressed with the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone (do NOT miss clicking on this link!!) that we spent probably 90% of our day driving to and walking around the many overlooks of this one feature alone!
It is noteworthy that the entire park is named after the yellow walls of this canyon - eroded by glaciers and stained that color and brilliant others because of the chemical changes caused by sulfur, steam and boiling hot water bubbling up from the earth below. Several outcroppings of rock reminded me of our Mono Lake tufa towers closer to home, and it was uncanny how much other parts of the landscape reminded me of Mount Whitney in our Sierra Nevada mountains. Of course, we are also here at the perfect time of year to be really wowed by the waterfalls - at no other time of year would so much rain and snowmelt all converge to fill the rivers and falls with this volume of water!
Wildlife sightings today include bison, elk, Canadian geese, a beautiful blue bird that I may not have been able to get close enough to to get a clear shot, and an unidentified bird of prey perched upon a treetop that I hope to find a ranger to identify tomorrow. Most of my other scenery pictures are of the boiling geothermal "pots" and the incredibly green forests and meadows all over the park. These deserve special mention because of the fires (very interesting link) that in more recent years have been allowed to burn freely once they're started by lightning. Today all that is left of them are tall, thin black "toothpicks" still sticking straight out among many shorter, but fuller and greener young trees!
You'll have to excuse me for not posting more pictures tonight -- usually before I put them online I try to go through the duplicates and delete the out-of-focus ones, the ones I take accidentally of the ground, etc. But just today I took 399 pictures and probably would have taken more except that my battery ran out toward the end of the day!!! So picking out the best of the best could take awhile. ;)
But I will try to get a few up tonight and maybe a few every day until I am caught up. Hope you enjoy these for the moment....
EDITOR'S NOTE: All photos have been posted. :)
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