Yellowstone Road Trip Part 2

slpollettslpollett Registered Users Posts: 1,173 Major grins
edited July 12, 2014 in Journeys
Last month, our family went on a 12-day road trip from Central Texas to Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Devil's Tower, Mt. Rushmore, & stops in between. I posted pictures from the first four days of our trip in this thread:

I have 'finally' had a chance to sort through more pictures. I took way too many. Unfortunately, I am fairly disgusted with myself and the quality of images from day 5. The sun was so bright and there was so much snow to reflect the sunlight. I didn't have my new glasses then, so the glare was tough on me. I set my camera on either f10 or f12, but I couldn't see anything on my lcd screen when I looked, so I 'assumed' I had the pics too dark and bumped my settings down. OOOHHHHH, wrong answer!! Almost every pic from this day is too overexposed. I was able to save a few, but most of them are not very good pictures from the day. Luckily, I took a few with my cell phone and those turned out decently. <sigh>

On this day, we drove from the Old Faithful Inn (where we stayed at Yellowstone) to Yellowstone Lake, visited the Fishing Bridge, then drove through Hayden Valley to the Canyon area. We viewed the Upper and Lower Falls, then drove to the Norris Geyser Basin. We wanted to go up to see the Tower Falls, but the road was closed. From the Norris Geyser Basin, we stopped at Gibbon Falls and a couple of other stops to view wildlife on our way back to the Inn.

1. We had to stop when we crossed the Continental Divide.

2. Cell Phone pic of a frozen Lake Yellowstone. I don't know why I was surprised to see it still frozen over. I shouldn't have been.

3. Some of the lake was thawing out.

4. The Fishing Bridge

5. This is where I tripped crossing the road to get back to our car. I don't really know what I tripped on, but I skinned my knee pretty good, got road rash on my hands, camera hit the asphalt pretty hard. YIKES! Actually, it must not have hit too hard or I would have broken something. I did have the camera strap around my neck and I did have one hand on the camera. I must have let go at some point because I skinned both hands, but I guess I held on long enough for the camera not to hit too hard. For a time, I thought I had ruined my camera though & I was not a happy girl for a while. Once I took a few pictures and they looked OK, I settled down a bit--still mad at myself for falling though.

6. Sulphur Cauldron--a place with a delightful smell...NOT! The bubbling mud was rather interesting though.

7. After we left Sulphur Cauldron, we began our drive through Hayden Valley. Honestly, there just wasn't much to look at here. All of a sudden, my daughter shouts "Bear!" So, we pulled over to watch and take pictures.



8. We continued on through Hayden Valley and had just gone a couple of miles when we saw another bear. This one was just grazing contentedly on a hillside. There were a lot of cars stopped in the area with people watching the bear and a park ranger keeping everyone away. We weren't able to do more than briefly stop in the middle of the road. My husband took this picture leaning out the driver side window.

9. The Upper Falls in the Canyon area.

10. Lower Falls in the Canyon area. This is a cell phone pic.

11. We crossed around to the other side of the canyon. This is a view of the canyon looking away from the Lower Falls.

12. A view of the Lower Falls from the other side of the canyon.

13. From the spot where I took the previous shot of the Lower Falls, these two young men decided it would be cool to leave the trail and go sit on the edge of the canyon with their legs dangling. Guts or stupidity?? I've read too many stories of deaths at Yellowstone because people thought they needed to sit at the edge of a canyon and the rock gave way.

14. This pose is a running joke between my husband and his father.

15. From the Norris Geyser Basin. There was a lot of different colors and thermal features here.

16. Some color at the Norris Geyser Basin. I liked this one because the formation shows a little heart in the bottom section of the picture. It's hard to see with the watermark, though. :dunno

17. Another interesting area of Norris Geyser Basin. Light blues, greens, and now bubbling mud. Cool. (, actually!)

18. After we left Norris, we saw this and had to stop. It was a fairly large pool of boiling water. It was very steamy so the pic isn't as detailed as I would like. Also, the image doesn't convey the noise this body of boiling water made. It was incredibly loud.

19. Gibbon Falls

20. We saw a lot of bison.

This concluded day 5 of our trip. Coming up a little 6 pics from our day in Grand Teton National Park. Stay tuned...

Sherry P.


  • slpollettslpollett Registered Users Posts: 1,173 Major grins
    edited June 30, 2014
    Well, I have one more pic from day 5 before I move on to day 6.

    This bison was hanging out in the parking lot of the Old Faithful Inn when we got back. My daughter took this photo from inside the car with my cell phone. We were maybe 5 or 6 feet away.

    Day 6 of our vacation was all about heading from the Old Faithful Inn down to Grand Teton National Park. We hoped to see great scenery and maybe some wildlife. From the Inn to the entrance to GTNP, we didn't see much except snow and lots of it. The Grand Tetons however, are nothing but gorgeous.

    1. First stop.

    2. My daughter and my husband like to read every bit of information they find.

    3. They also like to have a picture made by every sign that says where we are. Lol.

    4. The view

    5. Some parts of the lake were still frozen.

    6. Cell phone pano

    7. I took a lot of pictures of the mountains mainly because there really wasn't anything else to look at. We didn't see any wildlife and not very many other people.

    8. What did I say about my daughter and my husband needing their picture by every sign?

    That's really all there was to day 6. There wasn't much going on in Grand Teton National Park when we were there. The scenery is very beautiful, but one can only take so many photos of the mountains.

    Day 7 coming up. This is the day our Yellowstone visit came to an end. The first part of our day was driving from the Old Faithful Inn back toward the North Entrance with a stop at the Mammoth Hot Springs area to explore before leaving the park.

    1. There was an area of road construction between the Norris Geyser Basin and Mammoth Hot Springs. Traffic was down to one lane. As we were going through, a bison was just strolling along side the road.

    2. Not long after we passed the road construction, we happened upon a momma bison and her baby. Kind of far away to get a good pic with the lens I had handy.

    3. There was another momma bison and baby closer to the road.

    4. As we were driving and talking about our time in Yellowstone, I remarked that I was surprised not to have seen more wildlife than we did. Yes, we saw bison around every turn, a couple of bears, a couple of coyote, and a handful of geese. I had expected to see a lot of elk also, plus maybe other wildlife. About 30 seconds after I said we hadn't seen any elk, we saw a couple of them hanging out near the Mammoth Hot Springs area like someone's pets.

    I'm still sorting and editing the Mammoth Hot Springs images, so stay tuned for more of day 7.

    Thanks for looking.

    Sherry P.
  • slpollettslpollett Registered Users Posts: 1,173 Major grins
    edited July 3, 2014
    Day 7 (con't). We spent a couple of hours exploring around Mammoth Hot Springs on our way out of Yellowstone.

    1. This is Liberty Cap.

    2. This is the lower section of Mammoth Hot Springs. This area is called the Palette Spring. I think it lives up to its name--lots of different colors and textures here. The terraced white stuff is chalky limestone deposits.

    3. A closer look

    4. The view back toward the old Army post.

    5. A view from the Upper Terraces. This is looking out at the area between Trail Springs and Canary Spring.

    6. This is looking out at Trail Springs. If you follow the center branch up from that dead tree in the lower right, just to the right of the top of that branch is the dead tree in the previous picture. You can see the boardwalk where I was standing to take that previous picture. Don't know why I thought I needed to share that, but oh well. mwink.gif

    7. Orange Spring Mound

    8. Hard to tell in this picture, but I finally got to see my elk. There was a herd of them just inside the arch at the entrance to the park. If you look closely, you will see an elk by the arch and another couple of them in the road under the arch.

    9. Elk in the road. We are just coming through the arch & these guys /gals were in there to say goodbye and come again.

    10. After we left Yellowstone, we drove across Montana back to Sheridan, WY for the night. This is the road in Montana somewhere along the way.

    11. Day 8. We headed from Sheridan, WY over to Devil's Tower. We hiked all the way around it, took some pictures, then headed over to Mount Rushmore.

    12. Closer

    I'll have to stop here for a while. More Devil's Tower and Mt. Rushmore yet to come.

  • slpollettslpollett Registered Users Posts: 1,173 Major grins
    edited July 12, 2014
    :DThis will be my last post from this trip. Like I said before, 12 days & 4004 miles on a road trip. We saw a lot of the country that we had not seen before & hit some of the major tourist spots along the way. It was fun & tiring. I've already posted the first 7 days of the trip & now will continue with days 8-11. Day 12 had no pictures as we were just too tired and in a hurry to get home.

    Day 8 (Con't.)

    1. I took the previous images of Devil's Tower before we actually arrived at the Visitor's Center. Once inside the park, we came upon fields of prairie dogs. They were so cute! It was interesting how the pups on one side of the road were yipping to the ones on the other side of the road. They were very entertaining to watch. This one was right next to the road & was a bit shy.

    2. We walked the trail that went all the way around Devil's Tower. It really looked different up close and even looked different from the various angles as we walked around it. I thought it was interesting with all the large boulders right at the base on this side. That's my daughter sitting on one of the rocks.

    3. This is a view from the 'back' side of the tower. Think "Close Encounters of the Third Kind".

    4. This is the tower from the back side.

    5. A little further around the got much closer to the tower. The formations all around the tower were very interesting to me.

    6. As we left the park, we stopped at the prairie dogs again. I couldn't help it...they were just so cute.

    7. After we left Devil's Tower, we headed over to Mt. Rushmore. We had to stop when we reached South Dakota.

    8. After eating lunch in Deadwood, we reached Mt. Rushmore. This is an interesting place that I am glad we visited. It reminded me of the Alamo though--so 'big' in your head (imagination), but not so big in real life. I won't say it was a disappointment, but we were all like "This is IT?????"

    9. From the plaza.

    10. My daughter and my husband

    11. The next morning (Day 9), we began our drive back toward Texas. We planned to stop at Wind Cave National Park since it was close to Mt. Rushmore and on the way home. We did pass by the Crazy Horse monument & saw it from the road. We did not get out to get pictures though. I guess we were too tired? My daughter and my husband with their required shot by the park sign. This one was taken with the Canon G-12 as I had packed up the 'big' camera for travelling. :D

    12. We did go down into the cave. I didn't take very many pictures because the G-12 really couldn't handle the dark spaces very well. I took this picture with my cell phone. It shows some of the 'box' formations inside the cave. Wind Cave has quite a bit of this type of formation & I think it is the largest cave with this feature in the world. The formations are fragile and are formed when water seeps through the limestone. The limestone dissolves & the minerals in the water leave behind the box work.

    After leaving Wind Cave, we hit the road for the long haul to Colorado Springs, CO. We didn't stop along the way to take any pictures. I think I slept most of the way. Did I mention we were tired by this point? I think I just wanted out of the car!

    13. Day 10. We planned to spend the day in Colorado Springs. After breakfast at our hotel, we went over to Garden of the Gods. This is a park area with large red rock formations. This formation is called The Kissing Camels.

    14. My husband took this shot with his gopro.

    15. These next few will be some random images around Garden of the Gods.




    19. Balancing Rock

    20. This is another picture my husband took with the gopro. He spied my daughter waving us over. She had spotted the deer and was trying to get some pictures.

    21. There were more than just the one deer.

    22. We continued our drive around Garden of the Gods. Here, you can see Pike's Peak behind one of the rock formations.

    23. Look closely and you will see some climbers on this rock formation.

    24. I have many more photos from Garden of the Gods, but I won't bore you with them any longer. After lunch, we headed to Pike's Peak. We rode the cog train up to the top. This is a view of a train on the way down that we passed while we were on the way up.

    25. Some views from the train ride up.





    30. Once there, the requisite picture of my daughter and husband with the sign. This was taken with my cell phone.

    31. Random stranger even offered to take a shot of all three of us together. Another cell phone shot.

    32. This is a view of Colorado Springs from the top of Pike's Peak. If you notice the red formations just above the center of the image--that is Garden of the Gods. Another cell phone shot.

    33. Our train up top.

    34. I took more pictures on the way down, but most of the views are similar to those from on the way up. This one might be a little different.

    This was the end of day 10. After our train ride, we ate dinner and went back to our hotel to pack for the last legs home.

    36. Day 11. We left Colorado Springs to head towards Texas. We really didn't know how far we would get, because we still had a couple of more stops planned. Even though we were tired and ready to get home, we didn't want to skip the last two items on our list. The first place we wanted to stop was in the northeast corner of New Mexico at the Capulin Volcano National Monument. My daughter saw the sign for it on the very first day of our trip. (Remember we had stopped that first night in Raton, NM.) We were tired from a long day's drive as we approached Raton. This volcano is just a few miles east of the city, but we were too tired to stop at that point. We decided to stop by on the way home. Just have to stop by the sign...

    37. This is a photo of the volcano. We went to the visitor's center and looked around, but we did not take the road to actually drive up to the top of the volcano. I guess we were too tired. We looked around for about 30 minutes & watched the movie about the area's volcanos but just didn't feel up to going to the top of it.

    38. We continued on driving toward home. Our last sight-seeing stop of this trip was just before we reached Amarillo, TX. We stopped at the Cadillac Ranch. I've heard of this place numerous times, but never 'really' knew where it was. We saw it as we passed it on our first day of driving and decided to stop on the way home. I don't think anyone else really wanted to stop besides me, but my husband did pull over and let me go take a look and also take a few pictures. The owners of Cadillac Ranch planted these old cadillacs in a field. People come visit and bring their spray paint to add their own little touches. We didn't buy any paint, so I just took pictures. :D




    We stopped for the night in Lubbock. So close to home, but too tired to drive the last few hours.

    Day 12: We got up early and hit the road. We didn't stop to take any pictures of anything and got home just after lunch time. We were exhausted, but glad to be home. It was a great trip. We saw a lot and learned a lot. Next time I go to Yellowstone, I think we will fly in and rent a car. :D

    Thanks for letting me bore you with our vacation pictures. I was disappointed that I didn't manage to get any really spectacular shots, so I will just have to be content with vacation snaps. I had fun anyway.

    If anyone is really interested, here's a link to the full gallery of 1200+ pics.!i=3262011758&k=ZCGBkwK

    Sherry P.
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