The Grand Tetons

We were so happy after day one of our travels in the Wild West, especially with our cultural treats from this region. But little did we know of the wonders that lay ahead of us! I mean if you've done your homework about Yellowstone National Park, you would know that this is a one of a kind national park that draws scores of people every year due to the major volcanic activity around here. But unless you actually go to the park, you have no idea what the words on the internet truly mean! You need to physically be at Yellowstone to see and believe the spectacles here. Absolutely dumbstruck at how ALIVE Mother Earth is!

Grand Teton National Park

Our first stop enroute to Yellowstone from Jackson was the Grand Tetons. If only we had an extra day or two, we would definitely spend more time here. Look at this view. We truly did not do justice to this park during our travels. Definitely need to bring our travelling toes back here super soon!

The Teton ranges rise abruptly from the Jackson Hole valley. The jagged irregular peaks and many canyons invited us to a gorgeous view on our way to Yellowstone. The calmness and serenity of these majestic ranges left us wanting more of this beauty. 

We paid a $50 fee to enter the park. However this fee was good for entry into Yellowstone park right after. So it worked out ok. 

Yang was clearly zapped by the view, so much that he lost his sense of orientation and was caught clicking pics of the barren land opposite the main mountain view...what?

Well, when we passed the Grand Teton ranges, we couldn't help but notice the dry grassy vegetation spread out across the vast lands. Later found out that the area is popular for Sagebrush Flats, the greyish green dry shrubs that cover most of the valley here. As we drove through the park, we got our first taste of mother nature's power! We saw forest fires blazing through patches of the park, burning trees and other vegetation effortlessly along the way. The whole experience was one of a kind and a good reminder of the dynamic nature of the forces of the elements around us!

We posed away one final time and then bid adieu to the Grand Tetons! 



Yellowstone National Park- Upper Geyser Basin

The journey from Jackson to the South entrance of Yellowstone National Park is about 92 Km. You can tell we were super excited to see this park! We would highly recommend spending at least 3 days inside the park, because there is so much to see and so much to do!

ACCOMMODATION Day 2: Madison Campground (campervan goodness) 

Bathhouse available.

The science geeks in us could not help but notice the Continental Divide signs along the way. From the south entrance of the park, as you make your way to the famous Old Faithful geyser, you will cross the Continental Divide signs 3 times. Essentially this is a divide that runs along mountain ridge lines and divides the flow and direction of the water. The water on one side of the divide empties into the Atlantic Ocean and on the other side flows towards the Pacific Ocean (#yinyangfactalert)!

We made our way to Visitor Education Center and picked up a few brochures to learn about the eruption timings of the multiple geysers in the area. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening exploring the Upper Geyser Basin.

If we had to pick a super interesting location to do an outdoors trip with family and children, we would most highly recommend Yellowstone. You can connect with nature at it's best while learning so much about the forces of nature, making your way through an easy, mostly level ground boardwalk.

First stop- Old Faithful Geyser!

The Upper Geyser Basin is home to this world renowned attraction. The majority of the world's active geysers can be found in the upper basin of the Yellowstone park. You can imagine how exciting and overwhelming this can be! The ground bubbling and erupting around everywhere! We made it just in time to see a splendid eruption by the Old Faithful Geyser, the most predictable geyser in the region that never fails to stun it's expectant audience with it's spectacular vista. 

Check out the Earth bubbling right under our feet as we treaded through the boardwalk!

Yellowstone gets it's thermal features from three sources. The hot molten rocks or magma beneath the Earth's surface; water from rain and snow; and a natural plumbing system. So essentially the magma heats the water that seeps through cracks in the Earth's surface. The hot boiling water rises to the surface by making it's way through a plumbing system under the surface. When there are constrictions in the plumbing system that restrict the water from flowing freely to the surface, the water may be pushed out of a narrow opening to form a geyser, allowing hot water and steam to escape to the surface. 

Check out these images of Castle Geyser. This will satisfy all your royal cravings! The eruption lasted for about 45 mins. or so! Wowza!

If you only take the time to slow down and look, nature has so many extraordinary patterns to show off!

One geyser worth mentioning is the Riverside Geyser. It shoots it's water out in an angular arch. So fun to watch this geyser showcase it's glory as it spews hot water into the flowing river by it's side. Watch the geyser go off right behind my head! Fuming little much?

Not all thermal features at Yellowstone are geysers. There are hot springs, mudpots, and fumaroles among other things. Hot springs are close to geysers, but without a constriction restricting their water flow. The hot water thus rises to the surface and the heat escapes through evaporation, hence rendering hot springs to be less explosive than geysers in terms of their activity levels. Their colors are super pretty! More details on the science of that in our next segment:)

Morning Glory Pool

If you've done your Yellowstone research, you've definitely heard about this splendid beauty known for it's vivid and beautiful colors. 

However, this lustrous pool is losing it's glory due to man made pollution. Read on! There is very little deep blue left in this colorful mix!

Sharing my pensive moment with you...until next time lovelies! So much more ahead. Stay tuned!