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Friday, August 15, 2014

Yellowstone - South Loop

We arrived in the little community of Columbia Falls, Mt. yesterday (Thursday) after a relatively short and very scenic drive of 135 miles from Jim and Mary's RV Park in Missoula, Mt. We are in Columbia Falls RV Park, which is 14 miles south of the entrance to Glacier National Park.

I do want to try to get the blog caught up before we start reporting on our activities here, so the next several posts  will be on our activities at Yellowstone National Park and surrounding areas.

Our first outing into Yellowstone was to explore the southern loop, which is the lower elevation of the park and features a lot of hot springs, geysers, waterfalls, and wildlife. Our first encounter with a Buffalo was when entering the park, we came upon quite a few vehicles stopped on the road where this buffalo was swimming across the Madison River. He caused quite a stir and after crossing the river decided to walk down the yellow line of the highway for several yards. We found that whenever we saw multiple vehicles stopped, it was due to wildlife in the area and was true throughout the park. We proceeded on and saw multiple hot springs where we could see clouds of steam rising from them and quite a few geyser basins with multiple color mineral deposits  from the minerals and lime in the water that took hundreds of years to form. The next big attraction we came upon was the famous Old Faithful Geyser which has become a very popular and commercialized area. The viewing area itself has a half moon shaped ramp with bench seating and could accommodate many hundreds of people.  The pictures will show what a large crowd of people were there. One point of interest while talking about crowds is that the majority of people we encountered at the park were of foreign descent and the majority of those were Asian. Not being critical, just an observation.  Proceeding on we came upon very scenic multiple waterfalls and the  Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. One of the first things we noticed unusual about the park is that thousands of trees alongside the roadway had sections of missing bark not far above the ground. We had to ask a ranger, who informed us that it was from buffalo and elk rubbing against the trees to scratch and help shed their winter coat. He also said the elk will chew off the bark of certain type trees for food and also rub their antlers on the trees. He said the reason it was more prevalent along the roadway is that in winter, when the area is covered in snow,  the animals tend to travel on the roads due to it being easier to navigate.
West entrance to Yellowstone

Entering the town of West Yellowstone

Notice the bark missing from these trees due to Buffalo and elk and was very common throughout the area.

Beautiful Madison River

Buffalo we saw swimming the river. You can see where his fur is wet from crossing the river.

They act like they own the place!

Firehole Falls

These folks are tougher than I am. That water had to be cold!

Scenic hot spring with steam rising from it.

Hot Spring with boiling water. Some of these springs have very hot water  that can cause burns.

White dome geyser

Close up of same geyser

Crowd at Old Faithful looking right

Crowd at Old Faithful looking left

Ranger giving narrative about Old Faithful

She finally blew!

Al & Pat

The Cherrys

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Notice the Upper Falls towards top middle of picture

River running through YS Grand Canyon

1 comment:

  1. Yellowstone is so beautiful - like another world. I have some of those same pictures - as do millions of other people, I'm sure.