Weekly Photo Challenge: Depth

It has been over seven years since my last visit to Yellowstone National Park, and I hope to return again some day to this fascinating place.  The diversity of geologic features, wildlife, and beauty is amazing; and each trip only begins to scratch the surface of what the Park has to offer.  Yellowstone National Park was one of our favorite family road trips taken with our boys as they grew up (which I recounted here).

The pools and hot springs are some of Yellowstone’s most colorful features … and many have seemingly unfathomable depths that turn greens and blues to black as the opening in the earth swallows all the color and light.

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.  ”Depth” was this week’s theme.  Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.

Yellowstone National Park, Classic Road Trip Destination

I am saddened that our days of the classic summer road trip are over.  We had a good run of them.  Then our boys became involved in summer activities or jobs that made it increasingly difficult to schedule around, and they went on to create their own special memories with friends old and new, as it should be when your children grow up.  Since summer road trip season is not too far off (or so I like to believe as I watch the snow get blown about outside my window ….), what better time to dig into the photo archives and share some of my family’s favorite travel memories from over the years.

Our summer road trips usually involved a National Park destination or similar natural setting.  If you had to select just one classic U.S. National Park to visit for that summer adventure, you could not go wrong with Yellowstone National Park.

Old Faithful Inn and the Upper Geyser Basin

Yellowstone has an amazingly diverse landscape, from the colorful steaming pools and murky paint pots, to the geysers and rivers and lakes.  The glacial landscape results in some amazing scenery.

Glacial Boulder in Yellowstone National Park

While Old Faithful is a classic sight, it is in the center of the Upper Geyser Basin activity.

Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park

We found that sitting along the banks of the river on a hot day, watching the River Geyser go on for ages, provided a peaceful respite.

River Geyser, Yellowstone National Park

A person also could spend much of the day pondering the midnight blue depths of the Black Pool, alongside Lake Yellowstone.

Black Pool, Yellowstone's West Thumb Geyser Basin

Some water features of the park are hidden far below the surface, showing themselves only through the steam escaping from vents scattered about the Park.

Buffalo steam-bathing in Yellowstone National Park

Then there are the incredible moving bodies of water — both the Upper and Lower Falls are scenes straight out of a postcard, captured through the ages in paintings and photography.

Lower Falls, Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone presents the classic sight of buffalo letting drivers know who rules the road.

Buffalo on a Yellowstone National Park highway

Congestion is quickly escaped, though, by enjoying the vast rolling greens of Hayden Valley.

Hayden Valley, Yellowstone National Park

Even Hayden Valley meets with a traffic jam on occasion, as the herd moves to its evening grounds with the sunset.  What an awe-inspiring sight it was to watch buffalo after buffalo, mother encouraging their young, large bulls kicking up the dust, as the line of buffalo snorted and grumbled its way across the highway, down the bank of the river, across the river, and then off into the valley beyond.

Evening buffalo crossing in Yellowstone National Park

Buffalo herd crosses the river at sunset in Yellowstone National Park

The National Park Service’s website is your best starting point for planning a visit to Yellowstone National Park.  If you intend to stay inside the Park, plan your reservations far in advance, because lodging fills early during popular summer vacation dates.

Ciao! ~ Kat


A Last Look at West Yellowstone

The last day of NaBloPoMo calls for a last look at West Yellowstone, as the Yellowstone Ski Festival comes to a close.

West Yellowstone, Montana

Rather than returning to the Rendezvous Ski Trails (as I did in in this post), I ended my time in West Yellowstone with scenes from along the trail that leads into Yellowstone National Park.

yellowstone park 1 11_28_13 

Walking toward the entrance gate of Yellowstone National Park with skis and poles in hand, a sun dog greeted my friend and me, its rainbow shimmer suspended above the trees. Looking back toward town, the clear sky afforded a classic view of the mountains looming in the distance.

View of West Yellowstone from the gates of Yellowstone National Park

We skiied to the Wyoming-Montana border, and then veered left.

Wyoming state border within Yellowstone National Park

The trees opened up to the Madison River valley, with snowy mountaintops rising beyond it.  The amazing  view was a Thanksgiving gift.

View from the nordic ski trail in Yellowstone National Park

We stood at the overlook for a period of time, taking in each frosted treetop, each branch covered in delicate ice crystals that were iridescent in the morning sunlight.

View from the nordic ski trail in Yellowstone National Park

We returned the way we came, with classic skis following the single track back to the gates of the Park.

Leaving Yellowstone National Park

“Mountains inspire awe in any human person who has a soul. They remind us of our frailty, our unimportance, of the briefness of our span on this earth. They touch the heavens, and sail serenely at an altitude beyond even the imaginings of a mere mortal.” ~ Elizabeth Aston

Ciao! ~ Kat

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light

The ski trails in West Yellowstone and in the Park itself have seen wonderful sunlight all week long.  What glorious weather for the Yellowstone Ski Festival!

Sun dog along the Madison River, Yellowstone National Park

As we skiied back from the edge of the Madison River, which was the subject of my response to last week’s Photo Challenge, a sun dog danced on the left side of the brilliant late afternoon sun.  This sun-based weather phenomena with the starburst of sunlight leading us back to the trailhead seemed to be a fitting entry for “Let There Be Light.”

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.  ”Let There Be Light” was this week’s theme.  Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.

Mountains of Gratitude

The Yellowstone Ski Festival is in full swing as Thanksgiving Day opens with another sunny, crisp morning in West Yellowstone.  Naturally, the activity of the day is nordic (cross-country) skiing, with an array of trail choices from the extensive Rendezvous Ski Trails system, to the Madison River loops, to a single groomed classic track along the road leading through the gates and into Yellowstone National Park.  You cannot go wrong with whatever option you choose, as ideal conditions continue.

The road into Yellowstone National Park proved to be a lovely ski to kick off a day of gratitude. Treetops sparkled with frost, and the snow lining the single-track trail glistened like diamonds in the sun’s reflection.  An eagle sat perched at the top of a tree, searching for a snack with its eyes darting to and fro.  Skiers called out joyfully in passing, “Happy Thanksgiving!”, “Enjoy the day!”, “Isn’t it beautiful?!”  And a short distance into the park, just off the main road on a turnout, was a view that required a few moments of silence and awe — frosted treetops as far as the eye could see, reaching to the snow-capped mountains, with the river gurgling below.  What a blessing to enjoy the view, appreciate good health, and revel in the ability to savor a morning ski in a magnificent setting.

Yellowstone National Park overlook

Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Day to all!

Ciao! ~ Kat