Saturday, July 13, 2013

Yellowstone National Park- Part Two

From Norris Geyser Basin we drove west to Canyon Village, after a brief stop for supper.  Here we had spectacular views of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River and its waterfalls. Yellowstone Park received its name because of the color of the walls of the canyon.   The canyon once slid through an ancient volcanic basin; hot water eroded the rock walls of lava and rhyolite.  The canyon is still being eroded today by the Yellowstone River.  An interpretive sign near a lookout point over the canyon noted that it is forever growing wider,deeper and longer. 
On North Rim Drive we stopped at an overlook and could see the upper falls off in the distance.  The lookout point also had a vista of the lower falls, and from this point it is possible to take walkways along the canyon’s rim.  It was along one of those walkways where we were able to get some wonderful views of the lower falls.  Most interesting to us was the strip of dark green flowing down the middle of the falls and a patch of snow off to its side.  The green color is most likely because of algae present in the river
   On our way back home we drove a good distance along the Yellowstone River, through forests of lodgepole pine.  One particular section of the park was quite burned, only charred stumps of trees could be seen.  It was here where we saw a large elk buck feeding.  He probably was enjoying the new vegetation springing up among the many dead trees which were strewn on the ground around him. 
That was pretty much our day in Yellowstone, a place of rugged mountains and volcanic plateaus.  I think that if I take away any particular memory of the park it would be of its many geysers and hot springs.  We occasionally would see, just while driving along a mountain stream, evidence of that activity by a puff of steam arising out of the water.  In the canyons and rivers of Yellowstone there are steam vents which continually allow heat, hot gases and hot water to escape. After awhile we got use to seeing large patches of denuded white and black rock, evidence of the presence of ancient lava flows and hydrothermal activity.

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