September 1st, 2010

quewe

Yellowstone Con: Last Day in the Park

The original plan for today was for me to take a 10-mile RT hike to some back-country hot springs. There were a few easily-accessible features in the park, however, that I really wanted to hit. I knew there would be shorter hiking opportunities with the second option, so that became the new plan.

We first hit the Norris Geyser Basin which was my favorite place in the park when I first visited in '81. This is such a dynamic area! My heart sank when I asked a ranger what the eruption frequency was for the Echinus Geyser and she told me that it hadn't erupted in over a decade. It was such a neat feature! It was much more intimate than Old Faithful yet almost as spectacular. At least I have pics of it erupting 20 years ago. The ranger also pointed out a new feature that was threatening the walkway. A steam vent opened right next to the trail several months ago, and the Park Service was having to re-route the trail around it. She said it had been growing steadily. Who knows what it may become! There was a nice 3-mile loop trail, so most of us got our exercise for the day with that walk. I was able to find a new favorite feature. It was an unnamed vent that had steam and water erupting in a near constant stream. It was coming out of the ground with such force that it was almost whistling (the geyser go wooooooo! *lol*) To me it just illustrated that monumental forces are at work in the area.

After Norris we drove over to the Mud Volcano area. I also remembered this area from '81. It was very interesting to see a herd of buffalo using the area to chill out. We wondered if the steam from the hot springs/vents kept the insects at bay. There are some pretty impressive features to be found here as well. It is also an unstable area with steam vents popping up in the middle of the parking lot.

We then drove down to Lake Yellowstone to get some pics of me wearing Quewe. I hauled the fursuit all the way there. I WAS going to get a picture of myself in the park! We found a nice secluded site so as not to cause any "bear jams" on the highway. That's all I would need to get into more hot water with the rangers. Things went splendidly! There were only a few other tourists at the site and of course they wanted their pics taken with Quewe. As albear posted in a comment earlier, we also got one of the best group shots of the trip.

It was starting to get a little late, but I wanted to tour one area that I had missed on all previous trips. We hit the West Thumb Basin where hot springs come right up against Lake Yellowstone. It was a neat area! We walked around and then headed off to find ice cream.

Back at the cabin we began our preparations for departure the next morning. Al and Dex would be leaving at the crack of dawn to make the trek back to LA. I had planned an easier day for us so we wouldn't have to run around like headless chickens. The trip home will warrant a post of its own. And now...PICS!



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