We started the day at 38 degrees. Wow! Below 40 on August 21st.
Today, we got an early start but hope to get going even earlier. By 8:30 am, we were headed to the park. The drive to the park entrance is only 3 miles but from there to the Yellowstone lake is another 25 miles. The lake is huge. It is the world's largest alpine lake. It is at an elevation of 7,700 feet with an area of 131 square miles. It has 141 miles of shoreline. It is 14 miles wide and 20 miles long. The deepest measured depth is 410 feet. Many locations of the lake have been surveyed to have underwater geysers. With the smoke, it was impossible to see the far shore. We noticed that there was a haze in the air especially when looking up to the mountain tops around us. When we got to the park, we were told it was smoke from the fires in California. If only we could get them to keep their politics and pollution away from the rest of the country would be far better.
We stopped at an overlook and there were small geysers spitting out into the lake below us. They were little but our first look at the evidence that Yellowstone is still an super volcano below the surface.
After passing some road construction and Fishing Bridge, we came to the shopping center of the park. This includes a large store with everything from camping supplies, groceries, and even a restaurant. Next door is a gas/diesel station and even a vehicle repair.
As we turned north, there were several slowdowns because of Buffalo (still not calling them Bison) traffic jams.
First pullout for us was Le Hardy Rapids. The river from Yellowstone flows North. Yes this is very unusual. It is a pretty river.
Flowers! (and a butterfly)
Next stop gave overwhelming evidence that we are standing on a volcano.
Mud Volcano is an area where gasses and heat make an area of mud that bubbles and sprays out. There are warnings everywhere along the raised walkways. “Don’t step off” is the primary warning. This is the most acidic area in the park. The ground is very hot and not always a supportive surface. It is likely that stepping off would at least result in burns but very possibly death which might include the body not being able to be recovered. The smell of rotten eggs is impossible to avoid. The gases released include hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, and hot steam. In some locations hot steam and gasses cross the walkways.
Dragon’s Mouth “spring” is a cave that roars and water splashes out every few seconds.
Sour Lake is acidic like battery acid and would burn skin on contact. The water boils with gases released from below the surface. Of course, it stinks.
The next pullout is for Sulfur Calderon. You can guess what that smelled like. It was impressive but even more so was looking at the activity under the river. We could see several places where gasses and hot water was churning to the surface.
Earthquakes are common in the area but we did not feel one while we were there.
We continued north to the area of the upper and lower falls but first we made a quick stop for lunch.
After lunch, we drove to the lower falls. This is also the overlook called Artist point. WOW! The view of the falls was impressive. This time of the year the falls are roaring. On some of the mountain tops, we can see snow but most of it has melted to fill the lake, the river, and make the waterfalls at full force.
What do you think of my more "artsy" photos?
On our return to the campground, we stopped at the upper falls. While not as impressive as the lower falls and the canyon, they were memorable.
VIDEO ABOVE COMING SOON.
It was a tiring day so we only made two more stops. One at the lake general store because it was the one location we had strong Verizon signal. Two to see a bridge that was part of the original road to the park from the east side. It was built in 1910.
Tomorrow we plan to take a few short hikes.
We are a couple who have started on a new adventure...