The weather has been a little interesting in early August, with some days in the 90s and others in the 70s. That difference matters to me as 90s is a little hot for me to be seeing the geological sites (that hot steam can really add to the heat) but the 70s are just perfect. One cooler evening we decided to go into the park and check out the Mud Volcano which looked pretty interesting. Basically it is a small hill full of geologic and thermal formations but this one has some unique features.
Right after that we saw another pool with a buffalo laying right next to it. We have seen this several times but never so close up and watching him take a nap. Honestly for me this might be the quintessential Yellowstone picture and we stayed for a long time taking pictures until the rangers shooed us off since we were so close. They made it pretty clear that the wooden railing on the boardwalk would provide no protection if the bison got annoyed but he honestly didn’t seem to care. He was sleeping 🙂
After the first couple of sites we had to walk up a pretty steep hill but it was worth it. Beautiful views from the top and more neat things to see. I will say the boardwalk was pretty torn up though and we guessed that bison were walking on it.
Another really cool feature was called Black Dragon Cauldron. This was very active and the water was churning so much it actually made waves. We learned the water wasn’t boiling but was was caused by gasses rising.
Finally we saw an area where there used to be a huge mud geyser. It’s dormant now but still lots of steam. The everchanging nature of these features fascinates me and I told Lee I would love to have a time machine just to go backwards and forwards to see how it would all change. You have to remember this whole area was a volcano and these spots are what are left after it exploded.
As we headed back home we got caught in a buffalo jam and watched a young man get waaaay to close to the buffalo that ultimately walked right in front of our truck. These bison are getting close to rut season and are particularly aggressive right now so we stayed safely in our truck. Here is how it played out. 1500 pounds and those horns are no joke.
Then there’s this guy who just wanted to scratch an itch, much to the sadness of this poor tree….
And as we were driving home we saw that side road to Virginia Cascades was open. They open and close side roads frequently here and this one has been closed for awhile. Once again the side road led to something really cool and I loved the hoodoo like rock formations.
What amazes me as always is the variety of landscapes Yellowstone provides. It really makes for great experiences.
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