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Yellowstone

September 10, 2013

The time change and long day in the car made it difficult to get an early start on Day 2, but I got going eventually and drove through the rest of Idaho, quickly across a bit of Montana, and into Wyoming.  Sadly I missed the Montana sign, but that’s a new state to add to my list (#32/50).CIMG2209

I got to Yellowstone around 1pm (PB sandwiches while driving start to become the theme around now) and tried to see as much as I could in one day.  From the west entrance I drove to Madison and headed south to the Lower Geyser Basin, which was a great introduction to the park.CIMG2212

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This was actually my favorite geyser, Clepsydra Geyser.  I saw it go off when I was down the road and thought I had missed it, but it just keeps going!  Way better than Old Faithful.

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Can we talk about the weather for a minute?  Today’s lesson was all about figuring out what was cloud, geyser, or smoke from a wildfire (southeast side of the park).  I got back in the car just as it started to rain, but as soon as I got to the Midway Geyser Basin (home to the Grand Prismatic Spring), it started downpouring.  It was funny watching everyone run back to their cars.  I sat in the car for about 10-15 minutes, then I went exploring.  I was very lucky to just miss the showers all day.CIMG2219

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I don’t know if it was extra steamy because of the rain, but it was actually really difficult to get a good look at the big spring.

At this point I had to start being careful about my timing to see Old Faithful, so I headed over there and walked around to see some other geysers while waiting for the big show.CIMG2224

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Pictures really don’t do these things justice.  Plus they don’t capture the SMELL!  Or the heat you felt when walking through the steam.

I loved how deep and blue some of the springs were.CIMG2228

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I saw Old Faithful go off, but I honestly wasn’t that impressed.  Maybe I missed the beginning because I wasn’t paying attention, but I thought Clepsydra Geyser was much more interesting.

I stopped by Grant Village to check in at the campsite and had a nice early meal there (wild game meatloaf!).  When I realized there was still some daylight to be had, I headed over to West Thumb.CIMG2233

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Gorgeous.  I got back to the campsite with just enough light to set up my tent.  The night was actually pretty warm, and there were no bears!

Overall, I was impressed by Yellowstone.  I saw a ton of stuff on only one corner of the park, so there’s lots more to explore.  And really, even if you’ve seen pictures, it’s much better in person, so it was worth the detour.

Day 2:  342 miles (915 total)

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