Thursday, 8 August 2013

Old-faithful really is

Today was really the basis for the whole holiday. A full day excursion into Yellowstone Park. It was after the BBC documentary on the seasons in the park we decided to do the trip.
Our guide picked us up at 6ish, so another early start for the kids!!! It wasn't just the park. We were also going to be doing wildlife spotting along the way. First was an osprey nest on a pole by a golf-course, well worth a visit later with better light. Next we stopped by a river where apparently moose are regularly seen. One had been around, but not now, so coffee and off again with a mental note of location and to return.
We then pulled off the road down the valley to get a view of pronghorn - a local speciality in the deer-stakes. Quite distant but grazing happily in a field.
Then we were off into the park proper. Well, actually it's two parks - Grand Teton and then Yellowstone. We didn't realise its almost 2 hours drive to get to the geysers etc in Yellowstone, so a note for anyone going there. If you want to do Yellowstone, stay closer than Jackson otherwise you have a massive time overhead. We'd only just got into Grand Teton when we spotted a bald-eagle sitting in a tree by a lake - with it's back to us!! Also got white pelican which was a bit bizarre as I normally associate them with coastal areas.

  Basically, we then pushed on as we were on a schedule to get to old-faithful, the big geyser in the park. As with many things on this trip it was slightly strange. A natural phenomenon but surrounded by tourists sitting in what was basically a grandstand waiting for it to explode. It kept us waiting about 10 minutes over it's due-time, then for about 5 minutes gushed steam about 100 foot into the air. Then everyone went away.

We then went to another area called the paint pots. If anything, this was more spectacular than old-faithful. It was a series of pools with different characteristics. some were bubbling mud, some hot steam vents, some made whistling noises, and all were within a few metres of each other. Again, photos barely do it justice as they cant tell the tale of the smell, the noise, the heat....

Last thing of note was over lunchtime - sandwiches etc by a lovely river. An osprey settled in a tree on the opposite bank, which if course was more interesting than a white chocolate and macadamia cookie!!