Yellowstone: the land of the wild and geological curiosities. I have always heard how cool Yellowstone National Park was but I really didn't have any clue just how amazing it was until I got there. The drive from Orange County, CA to Yellowstone, Wyoming is a long one - about 15 hours! 15 hours of driving could very well drive you crazy depending who is in the passenger seat. Luckily, I didn't have that problem. From So. Cal, you drive through...
- Nevada -
- Utah -
Sorry Utah, no photos - you were a little boring (I mean that coming from the 15 - I know you've got some amazing Nat'l Parks that are definitely worthy of photos).
- Idaho -
I was surprised to fine that Idaho was one of the prettier states we drove through. Who knew?
- Wyoming -
The Grand Tetons in the distance.
So, yes. It is a very long drive so be sure to stock the car with good music, good snacks and a happy passenger/driver. It is well worth it.
The minute we drove through the Yellowstone National Park gates, a Bald Eagle swooped over us and perched himself on a tree. If there was any doubt of whether the 15 hour car ride was worth it or not, it was swiped away the second I saw that bird. Most definitely one the biggest and most beautiful birds I've ever seen... and I don't really even like birds.
Minutes after the Bald Eagle sighting, came the herd of Elk in the meadows. The Elk started becoming less exciting as the trip went on because they really are everywhere but still, fun to see.
Bull Elk in the distance.
I was very happy to see that it was wildflower season - love these daisies!
There is a great view of "The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone" from Lower Falls - definitely worth the (very) short hike.
Like the Elk, Buffalo are all over Yellowstone. Unlike the Elk, this was my first time ever seeing Buffalo so I still got very excited every time I saw the Buffies. They are pretty awesome looking animals.
Beware of Buffalo crossing.
Boiling River is a pretty spectacular place - Literally, boiling water from several different streams flow right into the freezing waters of Gardner River, creating a wonderful Jacuzzi-like temperature. This place is pretty popular not only because it's awesome but because after a few days of shower-less camping, you don't have any other choice. However, I have to warn you of snakes. YES! SNAKES! My absolute worst nightmare. While hanging out in one of the hot pools, which are bordered by rocks, I looked over and saw a snake with a tiny fish in his mouth. Naturally, I screamed, "SNAKE!" Everyone fled the pool and moved down to another one down stream. I was slightly nervous at the thought of a snake in water but figured it was rare. Moments later, we spot another snake and at that time we decided we were done. FIN! No more boiling river - if you see two snakes with in moments of each other, I can't imagine how many snakes must be lurking about. NO GRACIAS!
Bull Elk hanging in front of the village of Mammoth Hot Springs.
As I mentioned earlier, the Elk were everywhere! Herds of them were laying around the lawns at Mammoth Hot Springs - Apparently, this is one of their favorite spots to wind down in the afternoon.
Beware of Elk crossing.
Seriously though, be careful when driving in and outside of the Park. I'd say we had maybe 5 Deer/Elk that dashed in front of us on the highway or came close to it.
Dan & I at Grand Prismatic Spring - Most definitely my favorite hot spring in the park. I have a whole post I'll share just on the different hot springs in Yellowstone, so stay tuned next week for more.
Of course, the main attraction in the Park is Old Faithful. I was excited to see this baby erupt -- and it is pretty impressive -- but I definitely enjoyed seeing the hot spring pools more.
There are actually a ton of spots where the boiling streams flow into the cold river throughout the park but they only allow you to enter at Boiling River and Firehole River(which was closed while we were there). Of course, you can always get sneaky and hop in really quick - just be safe as the rivers can really be flowing fast.
There are several waterfalls throughout the gorge that runs through the park - A good excuse to stop the car and stretch the legs.
Still to come...
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