On Tuesday night (June 20) we slept in Rexburg, a city in Idaho, at the AmericInn where I slept on a couch. The next day we had a two hour drive to Yellowstone. It took us a long time to get to the entrance gate, but once we got inside the park things were smooth sailing.
We started to drive a twisting mountain road. A few moments later we saw steam rising off of the hills.
Mom said we should probably pull over to explore, so we drove down the road to investigate and stopped at a parking lot next to a trailhead.
It's a good thing we did because we'd found the Fountain Paint Pots! We all got out of the car and started to walk down the boardwalk. We came to a sign that said warning unstable ground! Stay on the trail!
So we stayed on the trail close to the end of the trail. If you go off the trail you could be seriously injured by a blast of steam or something. Everyone thought the boy on this sign looked like me, but I would never step off the trail by a geyser!
Most of the trees near the geyser are dead and you can see the base of the trunks are very white. This is because the trees soak up the mineral-rich waters, which then clogs their vascular system. For example, one mineral that is abundant is calcium carbonate. Once that solidifies, the tree can no longer move nutrients from the ground up to its leaves and it dies.
I think that's kind of the same thing as how humans get kidney stones or gallbladder stones. Too much calcium (for your kidneys) or other stuff (for your gallbladder) builds up and then you have trouble moving things in and out of those organs.
It was crazy to see the steam just piping up from the ground.
Here's Alexander...he wasn't feeling very well this day, but thought it was the steam making him sick:
Just look at how amazing these views are!
Pretty incredible, if you ask me!
I think it's pretty funny that we were all really excited about being here, while Alexander is just standing by himself wishing we could leave. Poor little guy. He was so sick! But we didn't know that, and there were so many cool things to see, so we just kept dragging him along.
These mud pots were rather interesting to watch—boiling mud!
One of my favourite parts, though, was the Red Spouter. You could literally hear it frothing and gurgling out of the ground. Sometimes it would come out in a big spray! This formation was made during the 1959 Hebgen Lake Earthquake, so it's a relatively new place to visit, geologically-speaking—only one year older than our grandpa!
Here we are walking along the trail...
And here's a big puff of steam blowing toward Phoebe, Dad, and Grandpa:
Phoebe liked it!
Alex didn't like the steam coming near him at all.
Here's Zoë by Leather Pool (I think—it was one of the pools right by the road):
Here are some more views of all the vents and things in this area:
The fountains were pretty cool. This one looks like a rainbow with the blues and the yellows:
We saw a giant herd of bison in the distance. I kind of had a wide mouth drop and after that I had mom take a picture of me with the bison in the background.
Mom was impressed that these flowers were trying to grow here where the landscape seems so dangerous:
After that we went back to the parking lot to drive to the Old Faithful.
On the way there we saw another point of interest—The Black Sand Basin, I think it was called.
Mom just saw it from the side of the road and said, "Let's stop! We won't be driving back this way after we see Old Faithful and who knows what there is to see after!"
So we stopped. It was so pretty!
We walked around on the boardwalk and walked literally on on top of the boiling water!
Mom was afraid to even let Phoebe down because she was afraid Phoebe would crawl through the fence or something, so Phoebe got carried a lot.
She is kind of a crazy baby sometimes, so Mom's fears were justified.
As we walked around we saw so much bison poop and it was so close to the geysers so we joked that maybe the bison had “the most dangerous poop” contest the person who survives… wins! We saw so much poop and so many hoof prints! Right by the edge of the pools, even! It makes me wonder if buffalo ever get burned by the hot springs and things.
Sometimes even the bison are overwhelmed by (and die from!) concentrations of gasses from the springs, but I don't know that they ever fall in. Here's a video I found on YouTube of a bison standing in water from a hot spring:
It seems like if they're big enough to break the board walk...they're big enough to break through the unstable ground, but perhaps they have a good sense of where and where not to step...except for that one board...
Here are some more pictures of this area:
There were some pretty cool geysers here, and the ground was so colourful!
Here's a picture of everyone (except Dad) on the boardwalk that goes right over boiling hot water!
Here's a picture of Dad:
And here's a picture of Dad and Mom together:
And here's what might be my favourite picture of all—Phoebe picking her nose!