Friday, June 6, 2008

Yellowstone: Day 3

What is wrong with this picture? If you responded "it is June 6th and it is friggin' snowing!!!" then you are absolutely correct. We woke up this morning to discover fresh snow on the ground (not to be confused with the piles of snow left over from prior falls that just hadn't melted) and more of the white stuff coming down fast. It turns out this is rare even for Yellowstone- it hasn't snowed here in June in six years- but it was nonetheless great. The only problem is I kept feeling like we were about to go skiing like my family is apt to do when traveling out West, except I kept recalling with disappointment that we wouldn't be doing that for a few months yet.

I will say though, the snow was a nice touch to the scenery. It saves me the trouble of coming back in wintertime to see what the park looks like then!

This is a shot of what most of the park looks like by the way. If you're old enough, remember the Yellowstone Fires of 1988? If not, it turns out over 60% of the park's forest was devastated that summer by wildfire, and in most places it shows. The forest is busy growing back, but the charred remains of the old trees still poke up to remind you of this chapter of history.
This odd scene was shot at Midway Geyser Basin, which is famous for the surreal hues the water and surrounding region get from the thermal vents (aka lots of minerals and extremeophile bacteria make the pretty colors). There are a few famous shots of this but alas that wasn't meant for me and my camera- too much steam!
My obligatory shot of Old Faithful, the world's most famous geyser. I'll come right out with it: Old Faithful is pretty overblown in the "famous tourist attractions" scene of things, particularly when you realize just how much other incredible stuff there is to see in the park. Don't get me wrong, it's kind of cool to see a bunch of water shooting up, but it looks suspiciously similar to any large public fountain you've seen in your lifetime. Yawn.

Ok, to make up for this, I'll do one more cool Yellowstone post before going to bed. Because it turns out what lives in Yellowstone, not what's at it, is the most exciting part of all...