One of my favorite trips EVER! We had so much planned for Yellowstone, but only ended up doing a little bit of it. We spent the day around the park checking out the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring (pictured above) on the way to Fairy Falls (pictured below).
We also got back to the main area in the park just in time to see Old Faithful erupt, which was intense, but also a little unnerving. I heard a tourist say something along the lines of, “This doesn’t seem right, I don’t like this.” It was funny, but I also kind of empathized with him.
After that, we camped in the car and woke up to a herd of bison grazing about 20 feet from our car. It was unbelievable! Next we planned on hiking the Union Falls trail, but missed a turn on the map and got sort of lost in some incredibly dense vegetation, which was unpleasant, but fine. That is, until we saw FRESH grizzly prints and wads of fur on a tree (pictures below).
We quickly turned around and decided that we should head up toward Gardiner, Wyoming and check out Mammoth Hot Springs (pictured below).
The thermal areas especially orange in color, thanks to the carotenoid containing bacteria, Phormidium and Oscillatoria, among many others, that dwell in them (picture of “orang-eness” below). They’re also incredibly smelly and stink of sulphur, once again, thanks to bacteria. Its really interesting to look at and realize that although you’d think a thermal pit such as Mammoth Hot Springs would be completely devoid of life, but they’re actually teeming with bacteria that thrive there.
Once we finished up there, we decided to hop in the Boiling River which is actually a freezing cold river, until thermal pools of scolding hot water bubbling out of the ground on the banks and meet and create a nice moderate temperature. You have to find the “sweet spot” so you don’t freeze or burn your a** off like we did a couple times. All of the white, rapid water in the picture below is literally boiling hot, and the rest is freezing cold, so finding the sweet spot somewhere near the point that they meet is a little tricky.
After that, we decided to hike Mount Washburn (pictured below) on our way to Colorado and we were so glad that we did. Everyone warned us that the grizzly activity was pretty high at that time, but we lucked out and didn’t see any. Definitely bring bear spray if you’re in grizzly country. We got to the top after climbing about 1,400 feet in elevation and about 6.2 miles in length and got some amazing views from the old fire watch tower.
And of course, the iconic Grand Prismatic Springs!
Here are a few random shots that we took while we were there. There is SO MUCH more to see, so we will absolutely be back. This park is beautiful and one week is not long enough to see and experience everything here.