Grand Prismatic

Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone, Wyoming, U.S.A

The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park is the largest hot spring in the United States, and the third largest in the world, after Frying Pan Lake in New Zealand and Boiling Lake in Dominica. It is located in the Midway Geyser Basin. (Wikipedia)

While the Old Faithful geyser may be more famous, the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring is the most photographed thermal feature in Yellowstone. It has unique colors combined with its own steam clouds over a large area.

What Makes the Grand Prismatic so Grand?

Deeper than a 10-Story Building
Extremely hot water travels 121 feet from a crack in the Earth to reach the surface of the spring.

Football Field on Steroids
The third largest spring in the world, the Grand Prismatic is bigger than a football field at 370 feet in diameter. A gridiron is 360 feet long and 160 feet wide.

Rainbow of Colors
The hot spring has bright bands of orange, yellow, and green ring the deep blue waters in the spring. The multicolored layers get their hues from different species of thermophile (heat-loving) bacteria living in the progressively cooler water around the spring. And the deep blue center? That’s because water scatters the blue wavelengths of light more than others, reflecting blues back to our eyes.

A Living Thermometer
What living thing in Yellowstone has helped investigators solve crimes and NASA search for extraterrestrial life on seemingly inhospitable planets? Heat-loving microbes living in the Yellowstone’s thermal pools. In 1968, researcher Thomas Brock discovered a microbe living in one of Yellowstone’s extremely hot springs. In the years since, research on Yellowstone’s microbes has led to major medical and scientific advances, including the sequencing of the entire human genome.  Check out yellowstonepark.com for more information and images.  https://www.yellowstonepark.com/things-to-do/grand-prismatic-midway-geyser-basin

Below is a neat YouTube video that provides an elevated view of the spring.

AMAZING PLACES ON OUR PLANET
The Beauty of Our World Without Words
by Milosh Kitchovitch

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Old Faithful

Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park erupts steam

Old Faithful is a wonderful place to observe natural wonders. I was mindful that we were standing atop a super-volcano, and hoped it wouldn’t erupt anytime soon. The geysers are continuous reminders of the power underneath.

Old Faithful is a one of the most popular geysers and is located in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, United States. It was named in 1870 during the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition and was the first geyser in the park to receive a name. (Wikipedia)

The famous geyser currently erupts around 20 times a day. These eruptions are predicted with a 90 percent confidence rate, within a 10-minute variation, based on the duration and height of the previous eruption.

During visitor center hours, geyser statistics and predictions are maintained by the naturalist staff. This is done by good old-fashioned observation, timing with a stopwatch, and writing in a log book. Visitors can check for posted prediction times in most buildings in the Old Faithful area and on the webcam web page https://www.yellowstonepark.com/things-to-do/about-old-faithful

When we visited Old Faithful, it had a continuous flow of steam flowing upward.  We could see other smaller geysers and hot springs throughout the area while waiting for Old Faithful. 

Crowd waiting to see Old Faithful, while observing another geyser in the distance.

Once the steam starts to bubble up water, it indicates the eruption is about to happen.  It’s fun just waiting with expectancy.  The height varies and the one we saw didn’t seem to erupt as high as anticipated.  Check it out. 

Also amazing were the other geysers and hot springs in the area.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Settlers make a difference

Cunningham cabin at Grand Teton National Park

Frontier settlers throughout history made a difference toward building development and life itself.  Wyoming’s Grand Teton benefited by certain visionaries. 

J. Pierce Cunningham was a rancher who became a conservationist.  He settled in Jackson Hole in the 1880s despite the winter hardship.  He originally opposed the expansion of Grand Teton National Park but later became an advocate. 

Cunningham teamed with his neighbor, Josiah “Si” Ferrin to write a petition signed by 97 valley ranchers who agreed to sell their land to form a “national recreation area.”  John D. Rockefeller, Jr’s Snake River Land Company bought Cunningham’s land and other ranches.  Rockefeller later donated more than 33,000 acres to expand the national park. 

Now we can observe and preserve the beauty of the Grand Teton National Park. 

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Life ripples

Water view at one of Grand Teton’s glacier lakes – Jenny Lake

Who can see real beauty beneath?

We behold clear view obscured by uneven ripples.

How can we see beneath the surface,

Not knowing what lies underneath?

Yet we see beauty while trying to understand,

Not knowing full the image – is it danger or is it safe?

Only when we wait for calm to form

Will we know true intent of what’s inside.

Then we focus on what is there that we did not know;

There is calm, some rocks, but still there is growth

We look up to the splendor that wasn’t there,

When we saw what was below.

We couldn’t see while looking below,

Even the ripples made us sad.

But when we lift our eyes above,

Leaving behind that we could not see

To embrace the beauty, that was there all along.

But we chose to look below, blurs made us sigh

Til we choose – looking above,

Seeing heights and grandeur unfold. 

More than meets the eye,

When we work to understand, even though we were told.

Grand Teton National Park mountains and glacier lake

Don’t be distracted by the surface with stress and ripples,

Choose beauty and joy beyond where we are, and what will be.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Watch out for Mama Bear

Grizzly and her cub along U.S. 26/287 in Shoshone National Forest

Seeing a Grizzly beside U.S. 26/287 was a big surprise as we traveled from Dubois, Wyoming toward Grand Teton National Park.  We enjoyed the ride through the Shoshone National Forest, Togwotee Mountain, Bridger-Teton National Forest, past Lava Mountain,  another crossing of the continental divide, and finally entering the Grand Teton National Park. 

Electronic and posted signs warn humans when bear, moose or elk are near the highway. Actually, expect to see them at any time. You never know.

We hoped to see Grizzly bears, from a safe environment, and just happened to drive slowly by the mother and her cub.   Occupants in the vehicles that began stopping stayed inside their protective cages.  That’s a good thing.  These are the wildlife you wouldn’t walk up to and pet – even if we desire it. Everyone is cautioned to not become friendly with all wildlife. That’s why they are called “wild.”

I never suspected that this encounter with the Grizzly would be the only sight of one during our time in Wyoming. 

Dash cam view of Shoshone National Forest

The drive toward Grand Teton was exquisite and fun.  I really appreciate the Shoshone National Forest that showcased its beauty as much as its ruggedness.  The forest offers superb scenery and endless recreational opportunities! It was set aside in 1891 as part of the Yellowstone Timberland Reserve, making the Shoshone the first national forest in the United States.

The forest has 2.4 million acres of varied terrain ranging from sagebrush flats to rugged mountains. The higher mountains are snow-clad most of the year.

Immense areas of exposed rock are interspersed with meadows and forests. With Yellowstone National Park on its western border, the Shoshone encompasses the area from the Montana state line south to Lander, Wyoming, and includes portions of the Absaroka, Wind River and Beartooth Mountains.   https://www.fs.usda.gov/shoshone/

Grand Teton National Park view from Togwotee Mountain

I could readily notice the escalating splendor as we approached the Grand Teton.  I’ll highlight this spectacular place in the next few posts. 

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Travel eats

The Cowboy Cafe is a welcome spot in downtown Dubois, Wyoming

One of the challenges in traveling distances is scheduling places to eat, especially when one is trying to cover some ground while driving hundreds of miles.  What’s a person to do? 

I don’t necessary want fast food, nor do I want to spend much time in a sit-down restaurant with servers.  I enjoy protein bars, fruit, or plain snacks to intervene when I begin having slight hunger urges.  Sometimes though, I snack too much just to compensate for the boredom and driving fatigue. 

Ideally, I don’t like to travel more than four to six hours a day.  That provides time for me to not rush, locate eateries and maybe take a side road somewhere, trying to find that little nugget of awesomeness. 

We ate at a few restaurants while staying a a number of days in Dubois, Wyoming.  That was nice and relaxing.  Two of my favorite places are Cowboy Café and Lone Buffalo Steak House.  They have outstanding food, excellent service with a friendly smile and the western feel.    

Cowboy Café is more of a quaint place and sometimes one gets to sit a little closer to neighbors.  That’s okay.  Everyone is friendly. Plus, there was a really neat Water Wheel Gift Shop next door that had unique items at a good value.

One of our interesting conversations occurred while sitting with three young men from Texas.  They had been hiking and camping in the mountains and were having their last meal in Dubois while heading back home.  They had an almost-close encounter with a grizzly bear when they found themselves between the mother and her cub.  That’s not good.

The polite young men said they had never been so scared before.  They had their bear spray but decided to quietly back away, before using the spray.  Apparently, the mother bear had not seen them (since their eyesight isn’t very good) and had not received their scent.  They were very happy to remove themselves from that environment. 

The Lone Buffalo Steak House, across the street from the Cowboy Café, was new since the building was recently renovated.  The dining area is spacious. and the atmosphere is inviting, as well as the food.  Their steak is some of the best I’ve eaten.  It’s worth a stop if you go through Dubois. 

Now to the fitness center, right?

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Dubois

The Dubois, Wyoming Horse Creek Station reminds one of a place to hitch a horse still today

Dubois — say it like “cowboys.” It’s one of the last real, old West towns — a charming hidden gem with the authentic feel of the frontier. Expedia calls Dubois the best place for an escape in Wyoming.

Barely an hour from Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park over a smooth, scenic highway, it’s peaceful here in the Wind River Valley. But there are so many things to do! https://duboiswyoming.org/

Dubois is touted as the one real western town located in the crossroads of the original American West. Here migration routes of early Native Americans forged the trails, later followed by mountain men and explorers. Homesteaders and cowboys mingled here.

Loggers hand-cut the ties for railroads that joined the nation. It is one of the best, real cowboy towns still around. Cowboys drive cattle here and compete in the Dubois rodeo. (Dubois website)

Wood plank walkway in Dubois, Wyoming

As I walked along on the wooden plank walkways, I thought of the old western movies when you would hear the cowboy (or cowgirl) boots striking the planks with an echo in each step.  Dubois provides an excellent feel of the old West, and yet with some modern-day food arrangements; although local eateries and lodging facilities are not national name brands.

Wooden structures still display the frontier spirit if Dubois. Artists become very creative such as the moose antler carvings at the Horse Creek Art Gallery.

Now, I’m glad the roads are paved; however, if they were still dirt then it would sure be interesting. I definitely would need my all-wheel drive there and be able to do more dirt exploring. Jesssayin’ as a friend says.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Dubois arrival

Respite along the trail, The Longhorn Ranch cabins are a welcomed sight. A base from which to travel, Over here, there – mostly while there is light.

Traveled over the Rockies, Reach Teton and Yellowstone, Daily commute, snow-capped peaks, grizzly with cub, Buffalo, and many more before we’re done. 

Traveled to hearts content, Camera in hand; Take a deep breath, behold the beauty, Trying not to hurry, seeing God’s great land.

For now, the journey westward complete, It’s rest for the mind, Interpreting, writing, sharing my journey, Don’t want to leave anyone behind.

I realized I couldn’t keep up with the posts while traveling since there is so much to share.  I’m now home in Florida – safely and thankfully.  We will continue the journey – virtually – recalling our days and sights. 

I’m glad you are still with me as we recap Teton, Yellowstone, Deadwood, Mount Rushmore and more.  It will take some time. 

Do you enjoy the little pieces of the journey along the way or do you prefer longer posts?

We stayed a number of nights at The Longhorn Ranch Resort in Dubois, Wyoming, a natural, western-style lodging.  It was a distance to travel each day to see Teton and Yellowstone.  Below are more images of our approach to stay in Dubois, and our lodging. The area was very relaxing and enjoyable. 

Travel toward Dubois, Wyoming.

Dubois, Wyoming and The Longhorn Ranch Resort tout their locations as a gateway to Jackson, Teton and Yellowstone in Wyoming.    “You are in for a vacation to remember at the Longhorn Ranch Resort – Formerly the home of a small longhorn cattle herd, and now a beautiful RV Park, Campground and Hotel facility located in Dubois Wyoming, along the scenic Togwotee Trail to Yellowstone. Whether you choose to stay in our comfortable hotel rooms, one of our cozy cabins, or bring your own RV with you, you will always feel welcome here.  Located just three miles east of Downtown Dubois, Wyoming and a perfect home-base for your trips to Jackson Hole, Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park!  Dubois and The Longhorn Ranch Resort will be the best stop on your Northwest Wyoming National Park tour!” http://www.thelonghornranch.com/

The Wind River’s headwaters are at Wind River Lake in the Rocky Mountains, near the summit of Togwotee Pass (pronounced toe-go-tee).  It gathers water from several forks along the northeast side of the Wind River Range in west central Wyoming. It flows southeastward, across the Wind River Basin and the Wind River Indian Reservation.  Wikipedia

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Enjoy the journey

Snow-capped mountains near the Grand Tetons from afar

So, you can’t wait to finish the journey,

Your travels bear down and create the stress,

Keep aware of life all around without worry,

Realize what we have and how we are blessed.

Clouds cap the Wyoming mountains and the lake reflects the light

The clouds along the way, always with sun above,

The snow so lovely like icing on a cake;

Yet so cold but warms the heart,

When we realize the beauty – it’s real and not fake.

Small mountains, prairies, rock, trees and lakes are part of Wyoming’s landscape

Thank you for going along on our journey through Wyoming and eventually in South Dakota.

Blessings and love along the Way!

Ron