Friday, May 29, 2015

Parents weekend at Yellowstone

John got up extra early Saturday morning to come retrieve us from Mammoth and deliver us to Old Faithful where his parents were waiting for us - Beard parents at Yellowstone, yay!

Minor disruptions made for an interesting morning - first, a big blanket of snow fell on the whole area.  Pretty!  But slower driving.  John beat the plows initially, then we had plow-help for the next part of the trip.

So that was going OK, until we passed by Madison campground and started along the road toward Old Faithful.  Bison Jam!

A whole herd of bison apparently wanted to get up to the geyser basin that morning.  Who could blame them, it was probably warmer up there.  It was really neat watching the bison plod up the road in the snow.

After an hour and a half, the novelty wore off just a little.  It was still funny to think that in both of our visits to Yellowstone we have experienced falling snow.

Beasts of the Northern Wild:

We had a fabulous time exploring the geothermal features with Jenny and Jerry.  Seeing everything steaming on a snowy morning was unique as well:

Somewhere in the Midway basin:

Snow on the boardwalks was challenging but worth navigating:

Jerry enjoyed endless photo opportunities:

Beautiful hot springs - no snow here!

Love the mud pots!  All gurgling and boiling and burping:

Geyser viewing:

Taking in all the amazing sights:

Day 2 - on the way to the east side of the park, we saw this fox just hanging out posing for pictures, thank you fox!

Mud Volcano area - this place is so cool, but really more of a sensory experience that is hard to photograph (Dragon's Mouth roaring, steaming mud, smelly sulfur, misty steam).  It's one of my favorite places in the park, don't miss it if you get a chance to go.

Another interesting challenge for the weekend - the electricity was out in much of the park.  Happily we're off-grid in the trailer (solar-powered), and the Old Faithful area was apparently running on an excellent generator system.  We only ran into issues trying to find a place for lunch.  Our timing at Fishing Bridge was perfect - just as we were talking with the lady there about their lack of power, their generator came up and running.  Time to eat!

We managed to find a couple bears in Hayden Valley, yay!  Thank you, roadside watchers and folks who let us look through their scope.  Jerry was hoping to see a bear, happily we were able to help fulfill that quest.

And now - the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone!

The Upper Falls, for starters:

The incredible view from Artist's Point.  It's such a beautiful place, one of those where we all wondered "why haven't we heard about this before?"

Spectacular scenery:

Mom hiked down to the top of the falls to get a sense of the roaring water:

Remnants of winter snow waiting to fall into the gorge (that would be incredible to see):

The boulder that caused a trail closure a few days later, happily we arrived while the trail was still open:

View from the North Rim:

Strong wind and a slow boulder:

Fun at the park store:

It was a quick but action-packed weekend with John's parents, so glad they made it to Yellowstone!

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