We have an enduring love affair with Yellowstone National Park.
(See previously posted pics HERE.)
Last week we visited for just a day (Feb. 9). Here are some winter snapshots.
We’d never seen so much snow (and ice) before – packed four to six feet solid on the ground, and piled another eight to ten feet along the roads. In winter, Yellowstone is only accessible by snowcoach or snowmobile. Here’s ours at West Yellowstone, Montana near the park’s west entrance.
This is one of those old-fashioned snow coaches designed in the ’50s.
Inside the park, the evidence that we are in the midst of a hotspot of volcanic activity is unmistakable. Molten rock flowing very close to the earth’s surface creates bubbling mud pools and geysers. A full-scale eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano would dwarf any other volcanic eruption in history.
Yellowstone National Park sits atop a subterranean chamber of molten rock and gasses so vast that the region, known for its geysers and grizzlies, is arguably one of the largest active volcanoes in the world. …
A relatively close-to-the-surface magma chamber — as close as 5 miles underground in some spots — fuels thousands of spewing geysers, hissing steam vents, gurgling mud pots and steaming hot springs that help make Yellowstone such an otherworldly and popular tourist attraction, with 3 million summer visitors. (Source)
The steam from these geysers and hot springs can be seen rising for miles around. The hot water from these underground sources keeps most of the rivers in the park from freezing in winter.
Bison calf with mother
I spy an elk
Giant rocks that look like cupcakes
Firehole Canyon Road takes you through the deep Firehole Canyon with its 800 foot black walls, which were formed by lava flows, to view Firehole Falls and the Firehole Cascades.
Christmas Tree Rock
The logdepole pine growing atop this rock is called the ‘Christmas Tree’.
August 25th is a special day in Yellowstone and not for the reasons you’d think. It’s the height of summer in Yellowstone. Cool mornings giving way to warm, sunny afternoons. Plump, sleek-coated elk munch on the soft, green grasses lining sparkling rivers. The river’s gurgling is broken only by the occasional splash of a trout jumping for a treat from the latest hatch of late summer Trico’s.
So, the tall lodgepole growing out of a rock in the middle of the Firehole River seems out-of-season festooned with bright red and green paper ropes and tinsel. It’s Christmas Tree Rock and it’s the semi-annual Christmas festival for Park employees. Each year, intrepid Park employees brave the fast-moving and not very warm water to ford the Firehole, climb up on the rock and decorate their own Christmas tree.
How did this tradition come about? Read about it HERE.
It usually erupts at 90-minute intervals, rising to an average of 145 feet and shooting 3,700 to 8,400 gallons (14–32 kL) of boiling water.
View from the bookstore at Old Faithful
The lodge at Old Faithful
The hot springs at Yellowstone National Park owe their vibrant colors to heat-loving microorganisms called thermophiles.
Different water temperatures in different spots make them assume shades of orange, mustard, brown, green and blue.
In 1966, Thomas Brock made the remarkable discovery that microorganisms were growing in the boiling hot springs of Yellowstone National Park. Since Brock’s discovery, thermopiles have been discovered in geothermal features all over the world including areas in Iceland, Kamchatka, New Zealand, Italy, Mt. Lassen, and other locations. While boiling hot springs are far beyond the comfort zone of humans and other animals, life, especially prokaryotic life, is able to adapt to environments that would prove fatal to most other lifeforms. – Source
Mammoth Hot Springs
Last three pics taken in September 2006.
Phew!! That was a lot of clicking in freezing weather in a single day. We also got some cool wildlife shots, which we will put up in another post.