October 18 – 20th, 2017 – Solo Winter Travels 2017/2018 ~ Part 3
Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park are basically one big park. They join together with no discernible boundary line, other than a sign and an entrance station.
I arrived late in the afternoon and just missed Old Faithful’s eruption. I’d hoped to camp in a campground for the night (because it is such a long drive out of Yellowstone, only to drive back in again to pick up where one left off, and I hate to rush), but all the campgrounds were closed for the winter and most other things were too. (Yellowstone closes on October 31 to all vehicles, and only snowmobiles and snow cats are allowed thereafter. There was a store/cafe open near Snow Mountain Lodge, and the lodge itself, but that was it.
So I enquired in the store about where I could park for the night to just sleep, and someone kindly directed me to the employee parking area where I parked for the night with no trouble. In the morning, I noticed that the main parking area at Old Faithful had a handful of vehicles scattered around with steamed up windows, and I guessed that I wasn’t the only one parking there for the nights. It would be a harsh thing for a Park Ranger to wake someone sleeping in a truck in the parking lot, and forcing them to drive out of Yellowstone at 3:00 am in the morning, when they are doing no harm and there are no campgrounds open.
Yellowstone National Park is 3,472 square miles (8,991 km2)., 2,221,766 acres or 899,116 hectares., 63 air miles north to south (102 km)., and
54 air miles east to west (87 km), in other words it’s BIG.
On this occasion, I’d decided to visit as many of the geysers as I could, because last time I was here I spent most of my time in the Lamar Valley and skipped the geysers.
Hover over the image for more information.
Click here to learn a bit about the microbial mats and the pigmented bacteria that create these breathtaking colors at some of the hot springs.
Please visit my photography store if you’d like to purchase this or other images I’ve taken in Yellowstone National Park.
After visiting the geysers I decided to risk camping at a trailhead for the night. I hoped that at this time of the year the Rangers would be snug inside their cabins for the night. There were so few people on the roads during the evening and night, it just wouldn’t make sense for them to patrol the park on icy roads, in the dark. The trailhead I chose had a restroom, so I was all set. I just parked, and slept, and did no harm and was not disturbed. Not a single car entered the parking lot until the sun rose in the morning. My motion sensor lights came on a couple of times, but whatever came to investigate my vehicle was gone by the time I got out of my sleeping bag and peered out of the window.
I was at Norris Geyser Basin early the next morning. The boardwalks were still icy, and the sun hadn’t reached the basin yet. The mist rising was truly beautiful as the sun slowly came over the mountains and reached it’s rays into the steam.
There was one other person sharing this morning meditation with me, and we stood in companionable silence awed by the swirling steam dancing around us, and warming our chilled flesh. We did not speak until the sun began to melt the ice on the boardwalk.
Not long after the sun rose, more visitors showed up, and I was grateful for those moments on serenity, with a stranger who knew not to speak.
They are improving the road between Norris and Mammoth, so there were long traffic delays and I totally missed the Obsidian Cliffs, so this shot is from a previous visit, but I did get to see the columnar joints of basalt rock at Sheepeater Cliffs. Yellowstone is after all an active volcano, and there is evidence all around of previous activity. Traveling across this caldera is truly one of the most incredible experiences a person can have, if they take the time to really think about it.
After visiting Norris Geyser Basin, I drove north out of the park and went to soak in the hot springs by The Boiling River. I didn’t take my camera with me. It was so cold I took my oversized down jacket with me to wrap in after getting out of the water for the walk back, and I got a lot of jealous looks from other folks who were shivering.
Below are some images of Yellowstone that I have for sale in my photography store if you’d like to view them LARGER please click here.
Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature
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