Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Yellowstone: West Thumb

Yellowstone Park was so enormous, it was a bit overwhelming to decide which portions to see each day. We did a bit of research before our trip, but even so, we didn't really feel the magnitude of its size until we were driving through the park each day. We kind of stumbled upon West Thumb because of its proximity to our campground. It looked really interesting as we were driving by, so we pulled in to explore. And, it was so interesting we ended up going back twice. We all had fun exploring this portion of the park.

Here's a useful map for this portion of the park:
Map of West Thumb
 
This interactive map helped with navigating the entire park:
Main Map of Yellowstone

I also had downloaded the Yellowstone National Park by Chimani app on my phone. It was extremely helpful. If you download it directly onto your phone (or tablet) you don't need to have cell service or use your data plan while you use it in the park. It does take quite a bit of space on the phone, but it was well worth it!

In one easy walk, you can truly get a feel for the landscape of Yellowstone; where thermal features mingle with the raw beauty of the lake and forest. It's really one of the most unique things I've ever experienced.
 
 The kids loved walking on the wooden boardwalks, and navigating around the little geysers and thermal features.

 The basins were amazing. The "Abyss Pool" was like a deep aqua jewel in the ground. The deep, mystical pool was perfectly named. I felt spellbound looking into its depths.
 I mean, this was amazing, right? I could have stayed here for hours looking into the clear water. But it was hot, and there were mosquitoes, so I kept moving.




 The kids were pretty impressed by it all too. It was like nothing any of us had ever seen before. The bubbling, simmering pools, the popping bubbles in the mudpots....just so much to take in.
 Looking out over the lake was beautiful too. It was amazing to see the effects of the thermal features on both the land and the water. We could see portions of the lake that were steaming hot, and felt the coolness of water nearby. We all agreed this crazy combination must be why we hadn't been able to catch any fish! It definitely couldn't be our lack of skill, or loud little boy, or the park's rule that you couldn't use live bait...nah...it must be the thermal features for sure.
It was cool to see the "fishing cone" where fishermen in the 1800's would catch, and quickly cook their fish in the same spot! Amazing!
Exploring West Thumb was a perfect way to spend part of our Fourth of July, but it was HOT!! We decided to finish the hike and try to find some shade...STAT! I just wanted a couple more pictures first. My sweet family agreed to the photos...but some of them could not contain their exhaustion with the heat. They tried though. And I love them for it.
 Yes, we were all a bit melty, but a very happy bunch.
 It was another great day in Yellowstone!









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