Below is an e-mail I sent to friends and family describing the Yellowstone trip. I am not equipped to write about all the beauty I saw. So read the mail and the painfully inadequate descriptions that I have tried to give, but take a look at the pictures of the place. Those, I believe, are pretty good.
It has taken some time, but finally I have managed to upload the photos from my recent Yellowstone trip. Trust me, selecting and uploading the photos was a hard and time consuming job, as I had to sift through more than 5GB and more than 2000 photos, to make an album which will not bore you to death. And believe me, 5GB was nothing. If we had clicked for every ah!, wow!, beautiful, mindblowing, breathtaking, amazing, Oh my God! that we uttered during the three days of the trip, the number of photos would have been closer to TB’s. I am uploading the photos as a series of albums, roughly breaking the trip into the different locations that we visited. Oh! and excuse the inordinately high Single poses of me and my friends. Remember that we are bachelors and we need enough Bharat Matrimony pictures 🙂
1. Firehole River: This album contains some extra pictures taken before we left for the trip in a Montana motel and some random highways we drove on to reach the park. The photos are fabulous though. This being the first day, we were not aware that breathtaking beauty is going to follow us on all the three days. Firehole river was our first impressions of Yellowstone and we clicked away to glory. Just a few minutes later, we realized that if Point A was really beautiful, just drive a half a mile away from Point A and you will land up in a much more beautiful place.
2. Grand Teton Sunrise: The first evening was at a place called Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The plan was to wake up early next morning and catch the sunrise at the Grand Teton Mountain range, a part of the Rocky mountains. While driving to Jackson Hole, we drove through the road which we would visit the next day to see the sunrise. The snow-capped mountains rose along the side of the road, and the aptly named Snake river snaked along the mountains. The mountains were on the west, and the next morning , what we were hoping to glimpse was the sun rising from the east and the snow on the mountains reflecting the sunlight, to give the mountains a sparkling look. Although, it was cloudy the next day, the view we got was amazing.
3. Wrong way into Wyoming: Our plan was to drive into Yellowstone, but in the hardly inhabited area, our 3G signals were not working, and we took on the wrong path into lower Wyoming through the Mountains. But in my opinion, it was one of the best detours that we took. The roads were through the high mountains, and it had snowed pretty heavily the previous night. The sun, the clouds, the snow, the pine trees and the lonely road, made for awesome photography as we drove along unknowing that we were on the wrong road until we came into the plains. The snow sat on the pine trees, and white and green jostled for space. The snow lied on the ground, and white and brown fought for real estate. The snow capped mountains in the far had given away to the snow. The sun tried to melt the snow, the snow resisted it, and light was diffused everywhere by the clouds, by the trees and the snow glistened. Man was unwelcome on that road that morning.
4. Jackson and Lewis Lake: On the previous day itself, we had oohed and ah’ed at the beauty of Jackson Lake. A serene lake, surrounded by the Rockies. After tracing our way out of the Wyoming Plains, we stopped at the lake and clicked away.
5. Old Faithful Area: An important lesson while in Yellowstone is that pack lunch and take it with you. Hunger changed our plans and we got to the Old Faithful Geyser, the most famous of all the geysers in the Yellowstone area. And we drove into the most thermally active part of the park. Old Faithful was faithful to us, and spurted out hot water feet’s high.That was a site to watch. But even more beautiful was the landscape that the thermally active area had created. The hills were in the distant background, as always, covered with white and green, and closer to the geysers, the thin crust and the heat from below created spectacular colours. Microbial life was active along the corners of the geysers and they added mystic blues and greens to the landscape. The heat wilted away the leaves of many a tree, and the geysers were spurting hot water here and there. The steam rose into the horizon. All this added up to a mystic, eerie landscape, almost as though you were suddenly in Jupiter.
6. Mystic Falls Hike: After spending a long time in the eerie landscape of the upper geyser area, we hiked onto the Mystic Falls area. It was a 2.7 mile, tiring hike, but full of wow’s and ah’s!. The first view that astounded us as we trekked up the hill was the panoramic view of the geyser basin. It was a sight unmatched, as we saw the expanse of the national park, and the numerous geysers there. And as we came down the hill, we saw the waterfall and the Firehole river that made the falls, and we became one with nature. God’s greatness in making things so beautiful took over us, and for moments on the down-hill trek, we were more than just us, as the discussions moved into the philosophical realm. If God is in the nature, he rests at Yellowstone.
7. Midway Geyser Basin: On Friday, we started early morning to see the Midway Geyser basin. It has the grand prismatic geyser, one of the largest geysers in the world. If the previous day was eerie, the morning in Midway geyser was eerier. The dawn and the sun had colored the sky red and violet. The geysers were spurting lots of hot water, and the cold morning temperature created more steam than the warmer afternoon of the previous day. And all the colors from opal blue, to algae green, to sulphur yellow to muddy gray adorned the landscape.
8. Yellowstone Lake: The lake was supposed to be formed in the crater created by a explosive volcano. One look at the present day lake, and it would be hard to even think that it was the site of an violent volcano. It was all calmness and all serenity. Unlike so many other lakes that I have seen over the past two years, this was left alone. No kayaking, no yachting, fishing. No human activity anywhere. It was just the water reflecting the sun and the hills. All quiet and all beautiful.
9. Mud Volcano and Geyser: We had seen a lot of geysers by then to be surprised or overwhelmed by one more. This was also the site of an volcano.
10. The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone: The grandest view was kept for the last. Midway through a beautiful, clear and balmy Friday afternoon, we reached the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, where the Yellowstone river, after years of weathering, crafted a deep canyon by eating away the soft volcanic rock. The canyon was surrounded by the yellow sulphur rich harder rocks. Blue water flowing in-between hard, rough, yellow rocks gave the place its name. The view was grand. The water-falls majestic and the canyon contained something that even the best photographers could not capture. I saw a lot of photos on google before leaving for Montana, but the view was something beyond that photos that I had seen, something beyond the view that I had imagined I will see.
11. Wildlife: The trip would not have been complete with glimpses of wildlife. We were lucky to run into lots of elks and bisons. We captured a famous Yellowstone Bison-jam, in which a herd of bisons attempt to cross the road, and eager tourists stop the cars and jam the road, trying to capture the animal in their cameras. We were very tired and sad by late evening, as we were driving to Tower-Roosevelt area because we could not spot a grizzly bear, or for people interested in Cartoon Network, a Yogi (of Yogi Bear fame). Late in the evening, an enterprising young black bear saved us, and we ran along with it for a few snaps. The bear was unperturbed by the human interest and nonchalantly crossed the road, as a more than 20 tourists clicked away.
(and these are some pictures of the drive to Tower. It had a beautiful waterfall and a hike that would have taken us to the mouth of the falls, but we were tired, the day was almost over and our car’s rear tire was misbehaving).
Hope you have fun watching them.