No Yogi in Yellowstone?

Welcome to Yellowstone National Park, where we’ve spent the last few days exploring. Prior to this visit, I only knew 2 things about Yellowstone: 1) Yogi Bear wanders the woods looking for picnic baskets and jelly donuts, and 2) Old Faithful Geyser is the highlight of one’s visit here. I was wrong on both accounts.

Our Yellowstone exploration started on Wednesday, where we learned that most of our time in Yellowstone would be spent on the road, considering that everything in the park is greatly spread out, taking at least an hour to get to the closest attraction, which was the Canyon area. We started by taking a short hike along the Mud Volcano Interpretive trail, taking us along hot springs and sulfur lakes, burning our noses and heating us up. The most excitement we had was when a large ugly black bug (possibly a scarab?) decided to hitch a ride in our car onto Frenchie. Being a bug-a-phobic, lots of screaming ensued until the big ugly black bug was finally disposed of. Oh, I get chills still thinking about it…

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Mud Volcano Boardwalks

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A deer among the hot springs

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Bubbling mud volcano

After that excitement, we saw bison. Tons and tons of bison. Bison laying in the valley. Bison grazing by the water. Bison crossing the road. Bison stopping traffic. Apparently, since hunting is illegal in the park and there are millions of visitors every year, the bison are perfectly comfortable around cars and humans. Therefore, when bison block the road, humans have to wait. It’s hard to be upset about the delay when the bison are as cute as they are.

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Bison walking the road

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Bison grazing in Hayden Valley

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More bison grazing by the road

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Bison traffic jam!

Other beautiful features of the Canyon area is the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, complete with 2 waterfalls and a blue river running through the yellow stone Canyon. (I now know where’re Yellowstone gets it’s name…) I didn’t think any waterfalls could be as beautiful as Yosemite, but it truly was…

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Lower Falls

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Upper Falls as seen from above

Thursday was spent visiting Yellowstone’s most famous and popular attraction – Old Faithful Geyser. While Old Faithful was punctual and pretty impressive, I found other geysers in the area to be just as fun…

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Old Faithful

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Thermal pool. The beautiful colors stem from the various bacteria in the hot pools…

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Morning Glory Pool

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Grotto geyser – we rushed to see this geyser when we realized that it could go on for 50 minutes to 24 hours…

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Riverside Geyser

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Castle Geyser – unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to see this one blow

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The intense thermal heat creates a barren atmosphere

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Bubbling colorful Fountain Paint Pots

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Hot thermal waters flowing into the river

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Excelsior Spring

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Achingly gorgeous Grand Prismatic Spring at sunset

Finally, today! Lots and lots of more driving. And of bison sightings. Besides that, we visited the uniquely terraced Mammoth Hot Springs, the colorful thermal pools of Norris Geyser Basin, and more geysers/thermal pools of Biscuit and Black Sand Basins. Although we saw loads of geysers and thermal pools, I don’t think there’s anyway that we could get tired of their vibrant beauty. Oh and by the way, although there were lots of bear warnings, there were no Yogi Bear sightings. Thank goodness. Because I don’t grizzlies would be happy with picnic baskets and jelly donuts…

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Yogi Bear may be waiting nearby…

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Mammoth Hot Springs

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Thermal pools at Norris Geyser Basin

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Porcelain Basin with more geothermic activity

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One last geyser for the road at Biscuit Basin

Our day was ended perfectly by a sunset over Yellowstone Lake. It was silent (except for the noise we were making as we excitedly took photos), peaceful, and beautiful. What a wonderful way to end our Yellowstone adventure. Tomorrow we have a looooong drive ahead of us, but today I’ll relax, basking in the beauty of our experiences…

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