Thursday, September 20, 2012


After a decent night at the hotel in Cody we get back in the van. Excited to finally get into the park. We expect to arrive at the East Gate before 10am.

The ride in gives us time to reflect on just how nice Minnesota is. We looked around at a lot of countryside in the last 1,070 miles and the vast majority of the time we look at each other and 'What a shit hole!' or 'There is nothing to do here." Take central South Dakota. Nothing but praire for as far as you can see. I could camp 20 miles from my house and if I had a spotting scope I could tell if I left the windows open. Western Wyoming is hardly better. It's great for ranching but I could not see one thing to do, provided I could find a job that didn't require me to castrate bulls for the Proud Cut bar.

We enter the park...We take this photo about an hour after. The park is huge and ...

It has funny looking urinals. 
So the park is huge. Seriously look at these signs. Those numbers are miles and all but Cody is in the park. We drive something like 600 while in the park.

The park has a few rules or warning before we have fun.

There are other signs that, in a cartoon way, show people breaking through the crust and into the boiling water below. I can see that being true as everything is smoking, steaming or boiling.
I'm sure I said something but lets stay focused on the steam, That 'lake' is 190F. Water boils about 205F at this altitude.
What's with all the faces. It must be all the sulfur in the air from the stream vents.

Below is the bacteria that grows between 160 and 190F. Below that it goes to yellow and then green.

The structure of the bacteria is amazing.

The heat moves around over the years and kills the roots and the water entombs the rest in calcium.

 We learn about a hike to see Grand Prismatic Spring. So we gear up. Reports are it's a few hours hike.

Above:  Grand Prismatic Spring. We had to hike up the side of a steep hill to get these. It's a common hike for those that know about it. Look close and you can see the boardwalk on the top. From there, you can't see anything but steamy water. Remember the temp based bacteria, it's responsible for the fireball.
 Not everything is so pretty but everything has something of wonder.

 This is Grand Fountain geyser. We wait for a few hours for it to blow and by the time it blows its so dark we can barely see it. These things are never on time.
 Geysers go up to and into the lake. You can kayak over them. The issue, they don't want you swimming in the lake because a geyser could go off below you and you're cooked.
 This is Roaring mountain. One day it got hot and cooked all the trees. It makes a roaring noise.

Everywhere you go, you have to stay on the boardwalks. No hiking around to see things up close or you'll get cooked. 

The Wildlife is very easy to find. It caused "Bison" jams. Like traffic jams only it's all tourist looking at a Buffalo. Elk were in rut so we heard them bugle all night. Prong horn were the hardest to find. The last one is an Otter. He's stuffed and on exhibit in Mammoth. Each town in the park as a story to tell and a visitor center. This one was about fur trading in the park and original exploration. Soon after they banned fur trapping.

We lived in this thing for 9 days, no mechanical, Old faithful she is. This is lunch in the parking lot of the Norris Geyser Basin.

I'll add more tomorrow but it's time for bed.

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