Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Day Twelve: Thar She Blows!

After bragging about how well we set up our tent, it came in handy last night. It rained and thundered, but nothing leaked! We woke up to what sounded like a bear grunting. It startled us. It turned out to be a man blowing his nose in the bathroom. We decided to take a drive around the park today. The park is so huge and spread out that you need to drive from site to site. The first stop was West Thumb. We had to drive around Yellowstone Lake. It was so pretty. The snow-covered mountains in the background, with lots of blue water. West Thumb is home to a bunch of different geysers and hot springs. There is a big boardwalk connecting all of them. As you walk by a geyser, it gets so much hotter.
Our next stop was Old Faithful. It is on the other side of the park. As we drove there, we crossed the Continental Divide at 8,000+ feet in elevation. We stopped to take a picture of the sign and some guy asked us if we were from Central Connecticut in Hartford. Close enough. It was kind of weird. When we finally got there, it was very touristy. We walked out to the geyser, and luckily we got there just in time. We waited for about 5 minutes and then it erupted. It started off really slow, and then eventually went all-out. It goes pretty high. The whole thing lasted about 2-2.5 minutes. The next time was supposed to be in another 90 minutes or so, so we didn't have to wait again. We walked through the Visitor's Center, and they have an exhibit all about the geysers. We didn't realize that Yellowstone was actually a volcano, which is why they have so much thermal activity. I guess if you think about it, it makes sense.
From there, we took a 1.5 mile walk through a whole bunch of geysers, pools, and mud volcanoes. Along there was supposed to be the world's tallest and most predictable geyser, Grand Geyser. We saw the area, but didn't wait to see it erupt, it would be another hour- it was too hot to sit still. We passed through a few sulfur pits. It was disgusting. The last sight on the walk was the Morning Glory Pool. It was interesting because it looks like a rainbow in the pool, and the hole in the earth is pretty deep. After what seemed like three hours, we got back to the car and decided to head back for lunch next to the Lake. It was so peaceful.
After lunch, we went back to the campsite to plan the rest of the day. We decided to go to Yellowstone's Grand Canyon. We stopped by the Information Center and saw a whole bunch of stuffed animals. It was really neat, but kind of scary. They had a wolf, two otters, swans, and even a soaring eagle. As we were driving there, it was amusing that people would stop on the side of the road to take pictures of deer. However, we did see a herd of bison in the distance, and one really close to the road, just grazing. When we finally got to the Canyon, there was a line of cars. There was an elk in the grass, so they were all trying to get pictures. One crazy lady was really close to it... We walked the trail around the South Rim. It was about a mile long, but it was much quicker than this morning. We saw the Upper Falls and Artists' Point. It is a lookout that is definitely picture-worthy. On our way back, we were trying to outwalk the lady in front of us, but Dawn slipped, and somehow we lost her. I don't know where she ended up going. As we were coming out, there was a group of rangers, who looked like they were on a mission, and they blocked off the entrance, where we came in. I don't know what happened, but I hope everyone's OK. We also stopped at the Mud Volcano, which was probably the worst smelling place in the park. I would rather go to a porta potty after a race than go there again!
When we got back to the campsite, we started planning our adventure for tomorrow, but the sleeping bags are much more attractive! As long as the kids next to us are quiet. One sounds like they belong on Toddlers and Tiaras (except we're pretty sure it's a boy).

States Visited: Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, South Dakota, Wyoming, Wisconsin (10/50)
Provinces Visited: Ontario (1/10)

License Plates Seen: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming (49/50)
Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan (8/10)

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