Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Day 9 - Old Faithful to Colter Bay

Weather:  Mostly sunny and upper 50's
Steps:  Shaun - 20,442; Shan - 20,899
Varmints:  Snake (point for Shaun), bison (duh), elk, osprey (no point, unconfirmed, but I saw one flying and then we got a picture of one minding an old abandoned eagle's nest where at least I got a point for largest nest), trumpeter swans, golden-mantled ground squirrel, mule deer, and a rainbow over the mountains - not technically a varmint, but Shannon got a point for that one!
Point totals:  Shaun - 18; Shan - 17

The grand fireplace at Old Faithful Inn            Kepler Cascade

This turned out to be the day that we almost broke, and especially Shaun.  If I thought the smashed thumb was bad, I hadn't seen anything yet!

The day started out wonderfully as we gathered at the Old Faithful Inn at 5:45 a.m. for our five-hour photo safari.  We met our fellow travelers and found out that we would be using one of the eight beautifully restored 1930's touring vehicles that the park service bought back from a park in Alaska several years ago.  They have wooden frames and a canvas roof, and they were super cool.  Aren't we cute in front of it in the top picture?  Anyway, we also met our wonderful tour guide, Betty (I want to be just like her when I grow up!), who led us through our day, teaching us all kinds of wonderful photography techniques, as well as ways to use our cameras that we would have never thought of.  More importantly, though, she taught us to see our surroundings in new and different ways.  Below find some of the cool pictures we took of places we would have driven right by without her insight:

These are using a slow shutter speed to stop the water. The one on the right is a bit too slow, don't you think?  The last one is Shannon's, which I think is the best one.

    Macro close up of the droplets on the lodgepole pine

Using leading lines and atmospheric lighting to add interest to a shot - note the "bobby socks" trees, which were mineralized by the water they took in. This killed the tree, but it will continue to stand because of the process.  Aren't they cool?


Vertical perspective and moving the camera slightly to blur the shot, which creates interest.

             Being conscious of how much the background can add to your shot

               No technique here, just Shanny Girl being cute!

There's a big long story behind this thistle, so I wanted to remember it with this shot.....I won't bore you guys with it though!

Zoom in as close as you can....isn't the second shot better than the first........

........but sometimes, further is better to tell the story.

We got caught in a bison jam on the tour, so I was able to get a good shot of this big dude.  Lesson from Betty, always focus on the eye of the animal.

Shannon got this osprey in a stolen eagle's nest from a moving car through the forest. Is she awesome or what?  I still think I should get the osprey point, but hey, I'm not bitter!

Using leading lines and surroundings to draw the eye to the subject (that would be the elk in this case)

         Our touring car in front of the inn - cool huh?

Once we finished the tour, we checked out of Old Faithful and were greeted by another mountain bluebird. We also got a pic of the female this time too. It's a nice close to our time at Old Faithful, since a mountain bluebird greeted us when we were checking in too.



Our next stop began my fall from grace, literally.  Our biggest priority in the entire geyser basin was the Grand Prismatic Spring which is the largest and far and away the most colorful feature in the park.  Instead of just seeing it from the boardwalk, however, we decided to hike up a trail that would give us a bird's eye view of the spring, as well as throwing in a lovely waterfall as a bonus.  The only problem was that there really wasn't a trail to follow for the bird's eye view...it was more a scramble up a mountain, over trees and loose rocks where it would have been better if we were mountain goats.  The climb was totally worth it, but the descent proved to be too much for me and I took a tumble...not a horrible one mind you...but it looked pretty bad from behind, which is where Shannon was.  It also tore a hole in my pants and tweeked my knee a bit, but all in all, it was okay.  It could have been A LOT worse.

Shannon here, picking up the rest of Mom's harrowing adventures on the trail to Fairy Falls. Continuing down the trail after the trip down the mountain, we went through a forest, crossed a stream, avoided giant mud puddles, and climbed over some rocks to get to the base of the falls. They were well worth the hike and gave us a chance to stop, catch our breath, and practice some of our new photography techniques. 

Two familiar varmints. We would have preferred two unfamiliar ones, but they're still pretty cute.

On our way back, Mom's fall from grace was completed. The stream we crossed and giant mud puddles we avoided on the way to the falls? Yeah, not so much this time. Mom managed to get her pants and boots all muddy and then all wet, and by that point, we were ready to be airlifted out of there. It was everything we could do to get back to the car. I guess 5.2 miles, plus a scramble up a mountainside was our limit.

It wouldn't be a day in Yellowstone without a few bison jams, right?

The road from Old Faithful to West Thumb was closed, so to get out of Yellowstone and into Grand Teton National Park, we had to go north, cross to the east side of the park using the center road, then go south again. Not very efficient, but our only option. We took the opportunity to go down a side road and check out Firehole Falls. This is a waterfall on the Firehole River, and it was moving very fast, due to the spring melt. North of the falls is a swimming hole where the Firehole combines with warm runoff from the hot springs, making the temperature very nice, but swimming isn't allowed at this time of year because of the swift currents.

Notice the thermal feature at this end of the lake which is the start of the West Thumb Geyser Basin.

We passed by Lake Yellowstone again, but this time we got to see the other end of it, and it really is something special.  It's the biggest lake in the park at 14 by 20 miles and one of the highest lakes in the country at 7,733 feet.  The lake is famous for cutthroat trout fishing, so Grandpa Dan, you need to come here during the summer.  We were lucky enough to see it when it was sunny again, so here are a few more pics.

After this little detour, we continued on our way, stopping only to view the pretty rainbow that formed over the mountains (my point for spotting it first). We arrived at Colter Bay Village just before sunset, checked in, and collapsed for the night.  Tomorrow will be a day to gather ourselves, figure out the plans for the rest of the trip, and basically recover from today!

No comments:

Post a Comment