Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Yellowstone Post #2

After seeing all those buffalo, we arrived at the geysers. Which is an understatement. While Yellowstone is famous for Old Faithful, there are hundreds of other geysers and hot springs in geyser basin. Our first stop had a variety of things to see, but most overwhelming was the smell that greeted us as we approached the steaming pools: sulphur! Yuck.

Here is miss Megan posing next to the first of many colorful hot spring pools.

One of my favorite things was this pool of white mud that was boiling! Watch the video to see (and possibly get motion sickness).

At this particular stop, we were lucky to coincide with a busload of Japanese tourists. So while this geyser video is nothing special in and of itself, the dialogue in the background is funny. Imagine yourself being jostled by short pushy people rushing past you along the narrow boardwalk, then suddenly stopping in front of you to take pictures of one another in front of EVERY geyser. Repeat. It was rather amusing. Sort of.

Then we were off to the Granddaddy of them all: Old Faithful. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that this is the best photo we got... since we arrived right at the tail end of an eruption. How far did we drive to see this?

We started off down the boardwalk to see more sights, and saw another bison grazing languidly next to the steaming base of Old Faithful.

While waiting for Old Faithful to build up steam again, we walked geyser loop, looking for other interesting things to photograph. In the upper left is Castle Geyser, but it's pretty obvious that my kids are the main subject of this particular shot.

I don't remember the name of this pool... but isn't it pretty? How interesting to think that that hole leads down deep into the earth.

Susan and Nathan engage in a little drama over the binculars. Ah, the joys of family life.

In this short, Karianne shares her most profound thoughts about this spunky little geyser pool, while Susan tortures Megan in the background.

We spent over two hours waiting for Grand Geyser to go off. It is reportedly taller and more impressive than Old Faithful, but goes off less often. It's next door buddy, Turban Geyser, would tease us about ever 20 minutes with an underwhelming display.

Someone in the crowd suggested that we offer a sacrifice to the geyser to induce it to erupt. Karianne and Susan offered up their little sister.

After annoying the gathered crowd for over two hours, we became hungry and tired, and left for the long drive back to our hotel. The big bison herd was just finishing their road crossing as we approached, which meant that we didn't have to sit and wait for them. Thanks, guys.

Next.... Day two.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Yellowstone Post #1

Finally, after being home for 3 1/2 days, I'm ready to blog about our trip. I don't know what it is about traveling, but it always takes me a few days to recover. I guess I'm getting old. No need to comment on that factoid, please.

Not having been to Yellowstone National Park for about 25 years, I didn't remember much. My parents took me for a day trip, and all I remembered about it were the mud pots and the colored pools. Oh and a chipmunk eating a cheeto like corn on the cob. Pretty pathetic, huh? So, I wisely ask Tom if he wouldn't be in charge of our sightseeing itinerary.

Obviously, Yellowstone is famous for its geysers, particularly Old Faithful. That was our first destination.

We had a hotel in West Yellowstone, Montana, and entered the park through the West gate. It wasn't long until we saw a small herd of buffalo. We stopped and took more photos than necessary, because we didn't realize how ubiquitous bison are in Yellowstone. We saw at least three more herds, each larger in size than the previous one, before we got to geyser basin.

Awwww! Isn't that calf cute? The cow is shedding her winter fur, hence the spring frumpy look.

A pair of cows with calves. I wouldn't want to get too close to those horns, would you?

Notice the exceptionally happy looks on these faces? That's because we're only one hour into our first day. We're not exhausted yet.

This was taken on the road to geyser basin. There were at least 100 animals + calves in this herd.

A little side trip to see beautiful Firehole Falls. I absolutely love waterfalls.

And a bonus! A pair of elk cows and their calves were grazing downstream from the falls.

Ok - that's enough for today. I'm gonna break it up into short posts instead of one gargantuan thing that nobody wants to read. Tomorrow - the geysers!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Mom update

My dad called Thursday to say that mom is feeling quite a bit better after having the pacemaker put in place. We are still planning to stop and see her this weekend when we travel through Idaho. I'm glad that this procedure has helped her. Let's hope it sticks this time.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Are we having fun yet?

I can't keep up with it all. When life gets busy, internet and blogging (which are already at the bottom of the totem pole) get neglected. I refuse to feel guilty about it. But there is a bit going on... here and there.

1. My mother had a pacemaker put in today. She felt better for awhile after her stent surgery earlier this spring (she didn't have a bypass after all--long story), but has been going downhill for about a month. She was hospitalized last week with fluid in her lungs, and the doctors decided that her heart needs a little help. That's all I know.

2. We are going on a family vacation to Yellowstone next week. The plan is to leave Sunday and visit my mom briefly that afternoon if she's feeling good enough, spend the night in the Blackfoot area, and then travel on up Monday morning. If mom isn't up to visitors, we may just get up uber-early and drive all the way on Monday (how many hours -- 6? 7? Actually that sounds like a bad idea to me), or we may still go and see my dad and his radical ski-boat rebuilding project. We head back Thursday. I'll post some pics. Did I mention I got a new camera so they may actually be decent pics? One can only hope.

3. The computer is resurrected. The power supply purchased for $14.99 from TigerDirect arrived yesterday and Tom did Nathan the favor of installing it. So we are a four computer family once again. That's kind of embarrassing, really.

Okay, that's it.