Yellowstone National Park – Day 1

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Vicky & Divya were the  initiators of this travel plan.Vicky called Aravind one night to inquire if we are interested in joining them to Yellowstone National Park. Aravind’s workload was less that week. Hence his boss granted him leave from work. We both were set. Ashwini and Divya just finished their exams and could take off from college for vacation. Mona and Me were super excited about being out of home to see places. Ashwini’s cousin Dr.Divya was here from India for Vacation. Siva also had his leave approved. So it was group of 9 finally for a trip to Yellowstone for 5 days.

Ashwini & Siva , Cousin Dr. Divya,Vicky & Divya, Karthik & Mona and Aravind & Nimi were the travel group this time.

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Flight tickets , Hotel and Rental car bookings were taken care by Vicky , Siva and Karthik. We had google hangouts on things to do and carry. Finally we were set to leave Boston on Monday(6th May 2013) noon.

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Our first stop was at Salt Lake City.The Capital of Utah.This place reminds me of the sitcom Prison Break.T-bag,Scofield,Lincoln and all other characters in the series. We picked Rented cars and drove to the hotel for overnight stay.We discussed and decided on things to do next day.Monday was packing and travel day . We were all tired and settled down for the day .

Good night.

Day 1: Tuesday

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We checked out of hotel by 9 am for breakfast at MacD .Our next destination after breakfast was to the West Yellowstone, Montana. Drive to this place is 4 hours from Salt Lake City .West Yellowstone ,Montana is the place we were staying for next 5 days.

Homestay

Homestay is the best place when there is a big group. Vicky had found a homestay accommodation that was fully furnished with 3 bedrooms 2 baths and a fully equipped kitchen. We girls had planned and prepared to utilize the kitchen fully since most of us were eggitarians and vegetarians. The Name of the place we lived was Old Faithfull Inn on Old faithful street at Montana.Check out if it works for you.

Drive from Salt Lake City to West Yellowstone is amazing. No commercialization, only Mountains covered in green , mud or stones. At a distance one can see melting snow capped mountains.It was mostly two lane road with mountains surrounded all through the journey.

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This was the first time I had ever seen fields with sprinklers. Buffaloes grazing/buffalo farms. Looks like potato fields are most common in the Idaho region . It feels nice to be looking around all the time.Guys also enjoyed their drive .

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We reached Yellow Stone National park at the west entrance in Montana around 5 in the evening. We didn’t want to goto our nests without seeing atleast one attraction for the day.The day would be termed as travel day had we not covered atleast one attraction. We decided to see Geysers.

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The entrance ticket to the Yellowstone National park is $25 which is good for 7 days. We had 2 cars and hence $50.

Yellowstone National park is the first national park in the world. Yellowstone is the place of volcanic activity best known for Geysers, Hot Springs, Fumaroles and Mudpots. Wondering what all those terms mean? They are jargon related to Volcanoes.You will know soon.

Volcanic eruption had occurred three times in Yellowstone park. 1st one happened around 2 million years ago, 2nd one 1.3 million years ago and the most recent one was 640,000 years ago. Going by this pattern, we can expect the next one in about 1000 years from now.It looks We don’t have to worry. Probably the 10th generation from now will witness the eruption if it happens.

The first place we were heading to that evening was the Lower geyser basin. It was a little cold and cloudy. But never mind, our jackets were handy. En route to lower geyser basin we spotted few Bison’s. it was very exciting to see them since we just started spotting wild animals. Later we realized Bison’s are the most common sightings in the YS park.

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Lower geyser basin has few smaller and medium sized geysers, hot springs and mud-pots. We got to see all three in one place. I cannot name all of them as there are too many of them. Let me start off by explaining what the terms geyser, hot spring and mudpots mean,So you don’t have to keep thinking what they are.

The reason we find all these hydro-thermal activities is because of the presence of active volcano underneath.

Geyser :

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Snow melted, rain water and surface water first seeps underground. It gets heated by a deep source of magma. Water gets superheated here. When underground constrictions increases the pressure, water is forced out as eruption. So, Geyser is an eruption of superheated hot water to the surface through a hole.

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Hot spring:Hot springs have no constrictions.So water rises, cools and sinks.

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Mudpots: Mudpots are acidic features with limited water. The acids and micro-organisms decompose the surrounding rock into clay and mud.

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Fumaroles basically emit steam. They have small amount of water that becomes steam by the time it reaches the surface.

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The Most attractive hydothermal activities in Lower Geyser Basin are the Fountain paint pots(Mud pot), Fountain Geyser and Red sprouter(hot spring).

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We all were curious about Old Faithful Geyser, one of the and oldest biggest. Hence we headed straight to Old Faithful geyser.It erupts at an interval of 60-90 minutes depending on how long the geyser erupted on the surface. If the Geyser erupts for more than 2 mins 30 secs, the next eruption is likely to occur after 90 mins. If the Geyser erupts for less than 2 mins 30 secs, the next eruption is likely to occur at interval of 60 mins. Just the minute before we entered the location it started erupting.We all rushed so we don’t miss.People were shouting as it was starting to erupt.We could see how tall it erupted and waited until it died down.We were not ready to wait for another 90 mins to see it again. So We decided to drop by sometime in days to come to capture its full view. From start of eruption until it dies down.

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Next was the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring at the Midway Geyser Basin. It is one of the largest hot spring.This hot spring looks very beautiful from the top. Not when we walk on the boardwalk. Hence it was a disappointment to me. How I wish they had some service to see this hot spring from a height. It looks more like the artistic Sun with colors and wavy rays.Dark blue color in the center. Light blue color surrounding the dark blue, Then the yellow,Orange and Red shades in the from of wavy rays. I am talking about fictional sun not the real one :).It is the microbial activity that gives all the colors after reaction with sunlight and chemicals.Since it was cold,
the steam from hotspring thickened and it was even more difficult to see the colors from the distance. We could smell warm sulphur in the air.

After having covered few of the major attractions we headed to pick up grocery from supermarket and then head home.We were very happy about our accomodation. It felt like home. Dinner tonight was Maggi and Soup since all were tired and had no energy
for elaborate Indian cooking.

Vicky quickly announces the places to visit on day 2 and then we all collapsed on our beds.

ZZZZzzzzz Good night.

Note: Once you enter Yellowstone National park there is absolutely no place where you can find stuff to eat. Except for Mammoth Hot springs area.Hence go prepared. Carry lot of stuff to eat.

Day 2 to be Conituned….

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