This beautiful scene kickstarted our visit to Yellowstone National Park last month. Winter had been harsh up there with a great deal of snowfall and the spring was a wet one. However, all that moisture made for a lush, green landscape and rivers flowing full and quick.
Soon after arrival we set out for a quick exploration trip and found a herd of bison grazing along the banks of the river. Above, a cloud-dotted sky with spots of bright blue peering through. Truly a scene showing nature at its finest and a scene I will never forget.
Denver hit over 90 degrees today, perhaps signs that summer isn’t quite done yet. Back in July it was much cooler in the nation’s first national park. This waterfall is up near Sylvan Pass toward the east entrance to the park. Taken July 14, 2014.
This gnarly tree and those behind it are the few left standing in one spot along the East Entrance road to Yellowstone National Park. Black and white helps to add some drama to the image.
Wildfires have at different times scorched much of the land in the park (most notably in 1988) and these trees served as a reminder of the devastation they leave in their wake. However, fires are an important part of the life cycle of a forest helping to renew the ecosystem.
Taken along the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park not long after sunrise. Most folks skip this area of the park but it is very scenic despite the burned trees still remaining from the devastating 1988 wildfire. Elk oftentimes are found along the river as are osprey. This past winter saw a great deal of snow and spring was wet so the landscape, even in July, was lush green. Couple that with the beautiful blue skies and it made for a gorgeous scene.
Flowing through many of the geyser basins at Yellowstone National Park, the Firehole River is one of two major tributaries of the Madison River. This image, taken two weeks ago, shows the river as it winds through a gorgeous canyon south of the Madison.
Using a slow shutter speed allowed the water to be blurred and look almost like fabric draped across the rocks. It was truly a beautiful scene and well worth the hike down a small canyon to reach.
Taken at the Midway Geyser Basin, water in excess of 180° was bubbling up in this thermal feature. Rudyard Kipling visited the park in 1889 and famously called this basin, “Hell’s Half Acre.”
Excelsior Geyser is in the basin and used to be the world’s largest with 300+ foot eruptions in the 1880s. Geologists believe the violent eruptions damaged its inner workings and since then activity has been greatly diminished.
The thermal features of Yellowstone National Park are certainly nothing short of astounding. The Grand Prismatic Spring is very aptly named due to its large size and amazing array of colors. It is in fact the largest hot spring in North America and the third largest in the world. The array of colors come from mats of bacteria that thrive in the 160° water.
On the day I took this picture I learned a lesson – Don’t visit hot springs on a cold morning. The air temperature was only about 40° and the result was a very obscured view of this natural wonder. Despite the fog and steam, it still made for a pretty scene.
The colors of bacteria in hot springs. Taken at West Thumb Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park yesterday. The orange area is actual bacteria growth which is pretty amazing given that the clear, blue water is actually at a temperature of over 200 degrees F.