Yellowstone can be seen in a few days, which is how long it takes the tourist buses to drive around to all the overlooks, let the tour out for 20 minutes and move on. Yet, if you are not concerned with checking sights of a list, you can spend days and weeks visiting each place, observing the subtle changes in color and light that a different time of day or a different season bring. We spent ten days exploring Yellowstone, and the only reason we left was because the campground closed for the winter and they kicked us out. We were literally the last campers to leave, hanging out with the chef of the campground until the moment they turned off the water and electricity. We really want to come back and see the park in winter, when you can ride snowmobiles on the trails and see animals warming themselves in the hot water pools.
It would also be awesome to come back in the sprint or summer and try fly fishing in one of Yellowstone’s beautiful rivers. The rivers snake through lush grass fields and pine forests, sometimes completely disappearing in the tall grass. The water is a hard to describe deep blue color contrasting with the bright yellow of the fall grass. Fisherman can be found at every bend, wearing rubber boots and waterproof overalls up to their chest, mostly fishing for trout. Native Yellowstone trout has to be released, but non-native fish can be taken. We saw a funny scene of a seemingly idyllic fisherman whipping out a camera, ready to film an elk approaching the river to drink.
The Yellowstone river also carved out the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, a 20 miles long gorge that is about 1000 feet deep. The canyon has two waterfalls that can be seen from overlooks, which seem to attract photographers with the longest photo lenses we have ever seen. Not sure what they were photographing with these $10000 lenses, maybe African lions.
We took our picture at the Continental Divided sign, on each side of this high point water flows to either the Atlantic Ocean or the Pacific Ocean. At the very top of the continental ridge is Isa Lake, covered almost completely in water lilies. One part of the lake drains out to east, the other part drains to the west. Isa Lake is believed to be the only lake in the world which drains to two different oceans.
We already knew from all of the Discovery channel documentaries that Yellowstone sits atop a giant super volcano, but the number of the geothermal areas in the park is amazing. We had a blast photographing various geyser basins as well as other geothermal features such as hot springs, boiling mud pools, huge steam vents and exploding geysers. Some of our favorite features were Travertine terraces, created by water building up calcium carbonate deposits. The heated water pools contain algae and bacteria, which turn various shades of orange, green, purple and yellow depending on the water temperature.
Definitely a place that we want to keep coming back to.
Roma and Natalia are world travelers, photographers, and an all around fun couple. When they are not travelling far away continents or driving around USA in their trusted Highlander, they can be found in San Francisco, California.