09 October 2015

Yellowstone--a Driving Tour

While Mr B and i had done so much hiking in Yellowstone National Park and seen things that most of the thousands of people who pass through the park every year never see, we also recognized that there are some amazing sights right on the figure 8 road that loops through the park.

So on the last weekend of September we loaded up my mini with snacks and sandwiches, found the Sirius XM channels that would broadcast the BYU Football game in the morning and the LDS women's conference in the evening, grabbed a map of the park and took off.

Since both of us had done Old Faithful and the geyser basins in that area quite often, we focused mostly on the upper loop. i had a notepad ready to record all animal sightings.We went in the west entrance (through West Yellowstone) and headed north. We stopped at (you guessed it) the first waterfall that we drove past. We wandered the Norris Geyser Basin, stopping at the museum and to read up all about geysers, mud pots, springs and fumaroles.

Next was wandering around Mammoth Hot Springs. We were fascinated at all the little details.

After Mammoth, we cut across the top of the park (stopping at Undine Falls to eat lunch), visited Tower Falls and drove up into the Lamar Valley toward the NE entrance to the park.

Undine Falls
Mr B had never stopped at my favorite geothermal area, the Mud Volcano area, so we spent a large chunk of time there. i love the mud pots, the churning springs and the lakes that are as acidic as battery acid. Plus, Dragon's Mouth Spring never disappoints me.

The wildlife was wonderful throughout the entire trip. We spotted elk, antelope, deer and, of course, plenty of bison.

Pretty much as big as my car
Both of us wanted to spend some time at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Although we didn't take the staircase down to the bottom of the waterfalls, we enjoyed the Lower Falls from a spectacular look out point.
Mr B admiring the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone
Lower Falls
Oh those colors!
The background looks fake to me...but we were really there!
The last place on our list to spend some time was at Yellowstone Lake. Both of us had driven by it before, but neither of us had ever gone down to water's edge. Without advance planning, we ended up at the lake at exactly the perfect time. We were hungry and ready for dinner and decided to picnic at Sandy point, on the west side of the lake. Although the name should have clued us in, we had no idea that there was a gorgeous black sandy beach!

The best part is that there was ABSOLUTELY NO ONE else there. We couldn't believe that there in Yellowstone Park in September, right off of the Grand Loop Road, we found this heavenly place all to ourselves.

 We plopped down and enjoyed our picnic. Then it got even better! The sun started to set and the colors were pale and cotton candy like. And to top it all off, the full moon had risen and was reflecting across the glassy lake. Incoming picture explosion (because i just couldn't decide which was my favorite).

It was breathtaking. To the point that i got goosebumps all over. 

Standing there, with Mr B's arms around me, basking in the glorious earth on which we live, i felt the tears fall down my cheeks. i was overcome with gratitude--for Yellowstone, for where i live, for this world, for the chance that i had to share that moment with Mr B, for the love of my Heavenly Father.

Thank you, Yellowstone National Park, for an unbelievable summer.

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