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Day 40: Yellowstone- Geysers, Bison and the Return of Nicole the Destroyer

Day 40: Yellowstone- Geysers, Bison and the Return of Nicole the Destroyer

Those of you that have known me for years know how accident prone I can be. There was the Dec. 2009 El Paso, Texas incident (click here), there was the January 2010 Cattle Blunder of New Mexico (click here), and of course who could forget the Costa Rica Weekend Plastic Disappearance of August 2010 (not yet published, to come soon I promise!!!). There are probably many others that you may remember I have not listed.
It’s no surprise: Somehow I am the luckiest accident-prone person on the planet.
I say I’m the luckiest because even though these things could be potentially life altering events, things that normally ruin your trip to the point of no return, I manage to find a way out of it safe, sound, and sometimes even better than before. Today, my friends, family and other followers, ended up being one of those days. Not bad considering I am 40 days into a trip with no major accidents as of yet.

A hot spring in the Old Faithful hydrothermal field of Yellostone National Park June 17, 2011

This morning we awoke, took a warming shower at the campground facility, and then headed towards Old Faithful where we were to meet up with our two other friends who stayed in the lodge that night. On the way we were able to see many of the things we didn’t see the night before as we wound our way along the roads in the dark: herds of buffalo, hot springs that bubbled up, and great vistas of mountains, prairie, rivers, lakes, and pines.
We arrived at Old Faithful right as it was erupting, spraying it’s heated water and steam up into the air nearly 40 feet high. After catching the eruption from the curb, we found a parking spot and found our way through the crowd to meet up with our two new party members. I saw them walking along the sidewalk away from us, and decided to run up behind them to scare them….only I made one vital mistake.

Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. June 17, 2011

The lifeline of my DSLR camera, that nylon strap with the yellow Nikon emblem up and down the sides, the very thing I keep around my neck at all times….was not where it was suppose to be. I had failed to swing it over my head…and the camera was just sitting atop it’s case as I skipped my way towards them. There was a tumbling of the expensive camera equipment across the concrete, and a slight moment of disbelief in what had just happened before I bolted forward to grasp the pieces before someone had a chance to run over them.
My lens had snapped off in the tumble, and at first I thought it might be ok, then lens lacking any cracks or scratches…but alas the lens wouldn’t lock into the camera body. The plastic fins that hold it in place had snapped off. Luckily my friend, who I had been trying to surprised, was observant and picked up the two, small plastic pieces to that I may have had the hope of gluing it back on. We found someone with superglue and glued the pieces on…but even after it sitting for a couple hours, the glue didn’t hold. I could still take pictures…but I had to hold my lens on with pressure to trick the camera into thinking the lens actually was attached. I want you to think about that as you enjoy the photos of this day….these pictures took a lot of work….

A boiling hot spring, a cold river behind it, and another hot spring depositing minerals beyond that. Yellowstone National Park Old Faithful area. June 17, 2011

After I calmed down over lunch, angry at myself for such a ridiculously careless move, we watched Old Faithful erupt once again, this time up close. We decided to fill our day with warm, steaming geyser goodness and took a long walking route that looped through the thermal field.

More of the amazing Yellowstone Geysers, this one about a 2 mile walk from old Faithful. June 17, 2011

A colorful hot spring of Yellowstone in the Old Faithful area- note that the yellow/brown colors indicated bacteria growth.

The springs and geysers bubbled up in marvelous colors, bright blue and green in the purest of them, and yellows/browns in those that had cooled down a bit too much, allowing bacteria to grow. There were so many it was hard to believe, and everywhere you looked along the walk you could see steam rising from one place or another. The buffalo were here too, resting in the middle of the thermal field with their young calves. I really would enjoy owning a herd of bison….

The bison sleeping in the hydrothermal field. June 17, 2011 Yellowstone National Park

After we made our rounds, passing a bear warning sign on the way out that said Yellowstone is not responsible for our safety, and a slightly disturbing trail-closed due to bear activity sign on the way back, we came to yet another animal obstacle: The fuzzy cows I like to call my friends, the Bison.

The frist bear warning we saw on our trail at Yellowstone's Old Faithful area. June 17, 2011

The bear warning sign on our trail in the Old Faithful area of Yellowstone at the END of our trail. June 17, 2011

They trapped us travelers on the wooden walkway, and even managed to walk up, one on each side of the trail, as if they were the guards of Old Faithful. We could hear wolves/coyotes howling in the distance as the evening was cooling the air down. Eventually the bison decided we could pass and moved on to other green pastures.

The guardians of the pathway-Bison. Yellowstone National Park June 17, 2011

On the drive back to the campsite we encountered more bison on the move, using the road as their pathway. Here at Yellowstone the fuzzy cattle know who is boss: them. They have the right of way no matter where you go, and they seem to know it very well. They are so used to people that they don’t budge from their path when a human is in it: it’s expected you will move. I think what I enjoyed most is watching the buffalo’s eyes. You can honestly see them thinking, watching you as if they know who you are and can speak to you with a gaze.

The bison making their evening trek to their night fields in Yellowstone on June 17, 2011

Yellowstone is obviously the place to be if you want to experience wildlife, and hydrothermal activity. There is a lot to take pictures of, so either pack a large memory card (or a lot of film, if that is your style) because you will need it. And remember…those nylon cords, whether they go around your wrist or your neck….are there for a reason!
Tonight we were moved to another campsite….this one with enough room to set up a tent. Hopefully this means we will get a good nights’ rest… I’ll see you tomorrow when we spend more time exploring the wonders of Yellowstone. I’ll be sure to reserve some energy to hold on my lens while taking pictures of all these places for you.

Bison and their calves in Yellowstone, right behind Old Faithful. June 17, 2011


Bison bones from a recent meal for the wolves. June 17, 2011 in Yellowstone National Park


How many people can identify these tracks, located in the warm hot springs of Yellowstone?


There is more than one way to eat a buffalo in Yellowstone National Park of June 17, 2011


Plants incorporated into hot spings deposits? You analyze and let me know what you think. June 17, 2011 at Yellowstone

June 17th, 2011 | 4 Comments

4 Responses to “Day 40: Yellowstone- Geysers, Bison and the Return of Nicole the Destroyer”

  • 07/05/11

    Diane says:

    Thank you for the hard work you put into taking these pictures. It was worth it!

  • 07/08/11

    Mongo says:

    they’re elk right?


    Chae Ruter says:

    Yeah bookmaking this wasn’t a high risk decision outstanding post! .


    csr racing download says:

    I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it
    up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later on. Cheers

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