Saturday, July 25, 2015

Photo Gallery for mid-July

Steam rises from Rabbit Creek, a small stream filled solely with hot water from geothermal springs at its source.  Cool early mornings, and most mornings in Yellowstone are cool, emphasizes the steam.

This blog entry includes of series of photos taken in mid-July, in and around Yellowstone.  Several are of the geothermal features and their effects in the park.  

Early morning along Firehole Lake Drive.

Castle Geyser is great when it erupts, but even during a quiet period with steam and occasional small burst of water, it is a dramatic feature, especially with one of Yellowstone's magnificent skies.

Hot water with gas bubbles

The yellow and orange colors are thermophiles, organisms which grow in the hot waters of the park.  A bison walked through here a couple of years ago; today the print left behind is filled with a mat of thermophiles.

The super heated water dissolves minerals and rocks.  Here iron sulfide, probably with a bit of arsenic, creates a thick red liquid that looks like tomato soup.  It is quite a contrast to the clear blue hot water in the pool in the previous photo.

 During Chris' long weekend visit we made a trip through Lamar Valley and over Beartooth Pass. Along the way we were witness to a herd of bison stampeding.  We watched as they flowed over a hillside and down into the valley.  Less than a hundred in number, it was still a reminder of stories of the "oceans" of bison flowing across the plains in the days when their numbers were in the tens of millions.

Bison can run up to 35 mph, something that is amazing for a animal so large and which usually lumbers along, placidly grazing.  But as a number of people  have learned the hard way, they are not always placid.   Five people have been injured in the park this season.  They approached too close and the bison charged.  The park has warning notices all over, but people still go too close.  The last woman injured admitted that she had read the notices, but when she saw other people going closer she decided it was okay to do so.   The newest release from the park is a warning about "selfies."   Three of the accidents occurred as people, already too close, turned their backs on the animals so they could get a selfie of themselves with the animal behind them.

For the photos below, Chris and I started out standing beside my car, on the side opposite the bison. That was fine when they were a long ways a way.  As they got closer, we moved inside the car.

Although the herd was moving, a few of them stopped briefly to roll in the dirt. Dust baths help control mites, fleas etc. which can plague the bison.  It is also common to see Cow Birds on the backs of the animals, eating the insects.

Pronghorn, a member of the goat family (and not an antelope although they are commonly called that), rests in a meadow of sage brush.

Between Cook City, outside the northeast entrance of the park and the Beartooth Highway we got this great view of Pilot Peak in the distance, and a field of yellow in the foreground.  

In mid-July the Bearthooths are a riot of color as low alpine flowers bloom.  The top of the pass is 

10, 470 feet above sea level.  We had hoped to photograph pikas there but it was too windy to sit out on the exposed rocks.

The switchbacks lead down the far side of the pass to the small town of Red Lodge where we spent the night.  

Back in the park, we found this Tree Swallow Nest and watched the adults bring bugs for the demanding young.
Tree Swallows

Not all of my Yellowstone summer is the natural world.  Human history and current human habitation are part of the summer as well.  Here the bellhop and a couple of observers takes down the flag in the evening from the top of Old Faithful Inn.

Remember, you can view the photos in larger size by clicking on any one.  If you click on the first one you can run through them all as a slide show in larger format.


Jaimie Hall-Bruzenak said...

Gorgeous photos, Betty! As usual, I might add. Looks like a fabulous summer.

Lynda Bogart Stilley said...

Spectacular photos, Betty. Great pictorial and commentary! Lynda

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