Thursday, July 09, 2009

Yellowstone Trip

Being a lover of nature, national parks have always been among my favorite travel destinations. Naturally, Yellowstone National Park, the first and the biggest national park in the US, had been atop my travel list for quite some time now. Last week, I could finally take it off the list as we made a 5-day trip to the park. Though fate conspired against us to make us spend much less time in the park than originally planned, we did get a taste of everything the park offered.

We flew into Salt Lake City and spent the next day around there. After viewing the Salt Lake for which the city is named, we went to Antelope Island, which is one of the lake's islands. It offered a good view of the lake itself but little else. A lone bison and a couple of antelopes were the only wildlife we spotted and the most interesting part of the trip was a ranch, established in 1833, that offered a peek into the lifestyle during those times. From there we drove to the Dinosaur Park in Ogden. Filled with a number of dinosaur sculptures(accompanied by sounds from speakers hidden around the park) and having a dinosaur dig area, a play area and a sand box where kids can dig for precious stones, the kids had a real blast in there.

The next day we spent in Grand Teton National Park, which is directly to the south of Yellowstone. The Teton mountain range is the main attraction here and the snow-capped, jagged peaks rising majestically beyond the vast grasslands provided a beautiful view throughout the drive. Inside the park, we took a short ferry ride across Jenny Lake and then hiked about half a mile to the very pretty Hidden Falls.

It was only the next morning that we actually entered Yellowstone Park. What's remarkable about Yellowstone is the diversity that one encounters as one drives through the park. While the vast, green meadows, the pretty lakes, the wildlife and the waterfalls are all present in many national parks, the geothermal areas add something unique to the mix here. The areas with concentrated geothermal features present an amazing sight with the wonderfully colored pools, the hot springs, the mudpots and the geysers. These usually have wooden walkways to take one around the area and offer close-up views of the pools. Apart from these, there are geysers and hotsprings scattered alongside the road at many places.

So the next two days were spent inside Yellowstone itself, driving to the most popular attractions. We visited West Thumb Geyser Basin and Black Sand Basin to see the geothermal features; we saw one eruption of the Old Faithful geyser; we walked around the Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces; we took a walk across the Fishing Bridge to see Yellowstone Lake; and we saw Tower Falls and the Upper and Lower Falls. Apart from the colorful pools and barrenly beautiful landscapes in the geothermal basins, the view from the brink of Lower Falls as the water thunders down below us was truly awe-inspiring.

Some photos from the trip can be seen here.


At 11:04 PM, Blogger Filbert said...

Truly a wonder, Balaji! Any wildlife sightings? :)

At 10:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

very nice pictures balaji. kavya and karthik look very cute. sreela

At 4:51 AM, Blogger Funtabulous said...

Nice to have a write up to go with the pictures.Thanks for sharing....Looks like am gonna follow your reiview of places like i do your movies.

At 9:59 AM, Blogger Arun Annamalai said...

I guess travel posts take a lot more time for you (as you want to upload the pictures as well), hence you wrote Halftime2009 post first after your trip.

At 10:01 AM, Anonymous ram said...

bb, yellowstone national park pales into insignificance in the pics with k & k! they chewed up the scenery (pun intended!) :-)

At 7:46 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

filbert, some bison, elk, etc. but since it was yellowstone, i was expecting something more(maybe bears) but no such luck :)

sreela, thanx :)

funtabulous, thanx! i probably enjoy my travel posts even more than my movie posts :)

arun, i was also thinking about the halftime post from july 1 itself. so wrote that first :)

ram, I'll make sure they hear that :)

At 5:27 PM, Anonymous victor said...

wow great pic, that second one. sounds like a fun trip..


At 7:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BB, Where's Anu and your picture ?

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