Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer Vacation 2012: Day 6

On Wednesday, we said good bye to Bill's cousin's family and they headed back on the road toward Arizona. We decided to spend the day exploring the road to the east entrance (O on the map) and the West Thumb Geyser Basin (P on the map) until it was time for my kayaking excursion.

We spent a lot of the day looking for wildlife and of course saw...

More buffalo!!
I thought it was interesting that most of the flowers I found in this area pointed down. I'm not sure why.

One of the areas damaged by forest fires.
There were several interesting lakes on the east entrance road. They were small and shallow with interesting colors. Many of them had volcanic bubbles popping up in places.

We stopped to take pictures at this pretty lake.
I think this is an elk jaw bone.

Bill and I had a nice picnic by the river.
After lunch, we drove around the area and found this guy. Such a huge head!
I think this tree might be dying, but it's such an interesting color.
West Thumb Geyser Basin is located along the shores of Yellowstone Lake.
A bubbling pool.
Black Pool.
This is one of the mud pots at West Thumb.
Abyss Pool. This is the deepest geothermal pool in Yellowstone at 53 feet deep.
  The edge of abyss pool.

Seismograph Pool.
The area where Abyss Pool drains into Yellowstone Lake.
Fishing Cone Geyser. This Geyser has now become dormant since the water in Yellowstone Lake has shifted southward due to a rising volcanic dome (let that sink in--there is so much magma underneath Yellowstone that it is moving a lake). In the late 19th century and early 20th century, fishermen used to pull fish out of the lake and put it straight in the cone to cook it right on the hook. More about that here.
This is a geyser that has been covered by the migrating lake. If it were to be uncovered, the loss of pressure on top would cause an explosion. When I went kayaking, we actually went right over this geyser.

After checking out the West Thumb Geyser Basin, we headed over to the boat marina to meet up with the kayaking company. In my group was the guide, a father and son, and I. The kayaking trip was 3 hours long. That's a lot of kayaking! My arms, shoulders, and core muscles were definitely sore the next day. Yellowstone Lake is cold and it is difficult to bring a boat to the park, so the park of the lake we were in was empty. It was like we had the whole thing to ourselves. It was pretty cool! It's definitely a windy and somewhat choppy lake, so it's more like kayaking on the ocean.

The kayaking trip took us over to West Thumb Geyser basin. It was really cool to be able to see the geothermal pools and geysers from the lakeside. I took this picture with a waterproof camera and I got sunscreen on the lense right before the shot lol.

The sulfur scented steam rising from the geothermal pools. The wind was blowing hard right in front of the geysers, so it was hard to stay in place to take a picture.

The geothermal water draining into the lake.
The snow-covered peaks across the lake.
It was pretty sunny still!
Bill didn't want to kayak, so he drove over to the West Thumb Geyser Basin and took pictures of us in the water. 

This elk was just hanging out on the beach.
She was unfazed when we paddled closer and just looked at us. I think she was enjoying the view.
A storm rolling in...
The view from back on the beach.

An elk.
 More elk.
 Sunset across the lake.
I think those are the Absaroka Mountains.

The sunset had been mostly obscured by the clouds until Bill suddenly pulled over the car to look at this:
Can you see him?
This bird just happened to stop and land on that stump while I was taking a picture.

Day 7 coming soon!

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