Family Vacation 2011- Part 3

Here’s where I start mostly listing off what we did, if I can remember correctly and the picture posts will get really long from all our picture taking.

Tuesday July 12, was our first full day in Yellowstone. It was nice blue sky when we woke up, but it got cloudy as we departed and started on our trip.

Our first stop was at the Fishing Bridge Visitor’s Center in the park. It was close to our camping site and it looked like it might rain, so we wanted some shelter. We looked around, visited the lake, got some information and started on our way.

We decided to drive the lower loop this day. Our first scenic stop was at Mud Volcano. My dad had mentioned how Yellowstone smelled like rotten eggs, so I expected the whole place to smell that way, but fortunately it was only around the volcanic activity that you really smelled the sulfur smell. The hardest part was getting caught in the steam that was leaving the earth. That was hot, moist and you got big ‘ole breaths of the sulfur in your lungs. Lilah like it, she said it smelled like boiled eggs, and in some cases it smelled more like boiled than rotten eggs, but it still wasn’t something you’d want to inhale.

There were a lot of little things at Mud Volcano, my favorite was Dragon’s Mouth, which we only got a video of because it sounded so cool. Some of this area is actually relatively new at the park, with some activity being there for a while, and others only surfacing in the 1960’s and then 1970’s after different earth quakes. It reminds you how every changing the park is, and how you are walking on an active Super Volcano just below the surface, that just hasn’t erupted in 40,000 years. With some of the activity we joked that it should have been called the “Bogs of Eternal Stench”, which is from a favorite childhood movie, Labyrinth.

Soon after Leaving Mud Volcano it started to rain, then it rained some more. It delayed some of our site seeing that included hiking, and kept us in the car. Mostly we’d just head to the next site and if it wasn’t rainy we’d get out. Fortunately, it did clear up so the rest of the day went smoothly.

My favorite stop of the day was Artists Paintpots. The colors there were amazing and it had mud pots that made the best sound of glopping, boiling mud. Jon and I both loved it, and the girls thought we were a little odd.

We continued to stop at different sites off the road. Gibbon Falls, Beryl Spring, Firehole Falls, plus some no name little things. Then since the day was slipping away quickly, we decided to skip some things and head straight to Old Faithful.

We must have arrived soon after one of the eruptions, because we had over an hour to wait till next one. We walked around looking at the different geysers and hot springs in the area. Lilah and I went to the visitor’s center while Eden and Jon saved our front row spots on a bench. The timing for Old Faithful is all approximate. They have the time for eruption, but then it’s + or – 10 minutes. So you’re waiting around for at least half an hour if it decides to erupt on the later part, which it did. For the eruption we saw, there were lots of premature little spouts of water, so the girls started to call the geyser, “Old Tease.”

How to guess when Old Faithful’s next eruption will be. You begin timing the length of the eruption after water as been continuously coming out for about 7 seconds, and time till only steam is coming out. If the eruptions is less than 2.5 minutes, the next eruption will happen around 60 minutes later, if the eruption is longer than 2.5 minutes it will happen around 93 minutes later. They repeatedly remind you that it’s hard to know exactly when the next eruption will happen for any geyser, but they are able to come up with estimated times for Old Faithful because of his steadiness.

Since it was late after the eruption, sometime around 7 pm, we ordered some food at a snack cafe and then headed towards camp. As we left we were able to see a coyote on the road, which was rather exciting, but the camera was on video, so we only got a video of him leaving.

It was exciting to see some of our first wild life this day. We had seen a young elk on our way in, but today we caught glimpse of our first bison, mule deer, and lots of ground squirrels. Bison by far are what we saw most in the park, but mostly in small herds and off by themselves. We also saw one swimming in a river, which was new since we didn’t know they could swim.

This night we built a small fire once back and enjoyed s’mores. Then we quickly cleaned up because it looked like rain, then it started to rain, then hail. Fortunately, the girls were ready for bed and we were able to get ready before it got too bad. I remember waking up in the night so I think it rained and stormed for at least half the night. We were able to stay dry and warm, so we had no worries, except for what the next day would look like, and if we’d get to go visit all the sites we wanted to.

To see the pictures that go with this post visit Family Vacation 2011 Pictures- Part 3.

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