Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yellowstone bubbles and flows.

In early August, John, James and I spent two days in Yellowstone -- Saturday, entering from the Northwest, and driving up along the Madison River (pictured here).  This river was beautifully clear, reeds growing in it, and a bed with soft rocks that made it nicely wadable.  The water was warm enough downstream (thanks to all the thermal springs) to swim comfortably, even at 6000 feet above sea level. 

Bison coming over the hill -- a noisy animal, with
a more intelligent-sounding language than cattle.
Where were the animals?  We did see some elk
the first day -- but then, whole herds of elk are our neighbors back home in the Snoqualmie Valley.  Our first "new" animal came in a valley a few dozen miles north of Yellowstone Lake -- these herds of bison, some of them right along the road.  Then just after that we encountered a lonely coyote, hunting in the sagebrush on the other side of the road. 
Where's that rabbit?

Near Old Faithful.

My last visit to Yellowstone, when I was a high school myself, ended when I ran through a plate glass window in Old Faithful lodge, not seeing the glass, and in a hurry to find my parents so they could open the door and I could fetch my camera.  What rare natural wonder did I want to take a picture of?  The president of the United States, and not even a very good president -- yes, Jimmy Carter. After I broke tendons and nerves and the doctor dug the glass -- most of the glass -- out of my right hand and forehead and leg, the rest of the trip was a bit of a rush.  We stopped to photograph moose off the road, to walk around Mammoth hot spring -- but it was a bit hard to handle things well, also I yelled at night quite a bit. 

This time we had time to stop and take lots of pictures, hike up the Tetons and to a waterfall in Yellowstone surrounded by little puffs of thermal mist, look for animals, swim in two rivers and two lakes, and generally see more of this magnificent bit of creation. 

John is off to college now, so I'm glad we had the chance to take this trip together.  I also had the chance to speak at First Presbyterian Church in Idaho Falls, spend a couple days at the home of the Spielmans, and meet some nice people at the church, several of them scientists working at a nearby federal nuclear facility.

Now why do they call it Yellowstone?  And why do people come here from
around the world? 

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