Jim and I were away for almost two weeks. We drove down to Vancouver Island to spend a few days with our kids, then headed south (a bit!) and across southern Washington and northern Oregon (back and forth across the Columbia River on nearly every bridge, just because it amused us) to Yellowstone.
A lot of Yellowstone National Park looks like the areas we're familiar with throughout the Canadian Rockies. We saw a lot of the same animals: elk, deer, moose, bighorn sheep, and black bears. Grizzlies we see here occasionally and did see there (with binoculars and imagination). We also saw wolves and pronghorn there and bison...many many MANY bison. I think they're planning to take over the world!
So truly the most amazing thing for Jim and I was the thermal activity. Even though I'd read about it and looked it up online, it was quite another thing to be driving along and see the ground bubbling here and there. The first sight we actually stopped to investigate (after we'd set up camp) was the Mud Volcano, shown here.
On our second day we did the geyser loops. We spent awhile walking the Norris Geyser loop and the Paint Pots before heading to the Old Faithful Geyser loop. We'd packed a picnic lunch for the Old Faithful waiting period. Here's hubby waiting for the geyser to blow!
We saw a lot of geysers go off along the boardwalk we walked after O.F. This one was really cool: Riverside Geyser. Such a variety of bubblers and geysers came out to amuse us! They are everything from little and cute to superhumungously impressive. Not only do they stink of sulfur (the Norris loop smelled worse!) but they sound cool. Some of them sounded like a bad bathtub drain gurgling away.
Our last day there four of us hiked up to the fire tower on Mount Washburn, a return hike of several hours duration. It wasn't particularly steep, but my body is used to an elevation of under 2000 feet. We'd spent most of the week at over 7500, but this hike took us over 10,000 feet. I could feel the lungs burn if I pushed too hard! There was truly a stupendous view all around from this mountain...including the view of the thunder storm that wafted over us! Thankfully we were nearly to the tower when it struck and so were able to pass most of the storm in an enclosed (and safe) setting.
The very best part of the trip was getting to meet two of my internet buddies and spend a few days getting to know their faces and voices to match with the chatting we do most days! Here you'll see Mar Fisk on the left and Bonnie on the right. What fun! Mar brought one of her sons and Bonnie was accompanied by her hubby and a son to round out our group.
Then Jim and I drove home through the night to get home in time for him to check out the farm and do some laundry before heading back to work. A whirlwind trip, but such fun!