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Motor Coach Tour 2011
Thursday, May 26th
Yellowstone National Park

Today we go from Old Faithful back to Mammoth Hot Springs up the west side of the park.

One thing that happened overnight was that the weather changed for the poorer. The temperature went way down and there were sporadic snow flurries with a few ice pellets thrown in for good measure. These occurred mostly in the morning but it stayed cold all day.

Before we started out this morning there were some additional pictures taken. These consist mainly of an Old Faithful eruption that occurred this morning and some additional pictures of the inside of that unusual lobby at the "Inn".

At this point I have a confession to make. To get the neat inside pictures of the lobby that I took last night I had to make some adjustments to the camera for those to work. It seems that I forgot to reset them either last night or in the rush to take the eruption pictures this morning. This resulted in all of the morning pictures being 2 stops or EV for those in the digital camera world overexposed. The content, particularly the eruption pictures, made this problem even more difficult to resolve. Thanks to the fact that the pictures are digital, and to Adobe Photoshop CS4 I have managed to adjust a number of them to be reasonably usable. They are not perfect put they will do. This problem existed right up until you see the second picture of the old yellow bus in a parking lot. That is when I discovered the problem and from then on, all is mostly well.

Here are the Old Faithful morning eruption pictures, such as they are.

Inn from Old Faithful Olf faithFul Eruption 2
The Inn from Old Faithful.
Yes, the white stuff in the foreground is snow.
The eruption commences.
Olf Faithful Eruption 3 Old faithful Eruption 4
If you take a close look at this and the pictures that follow the water coming out does not shot up that high. Most of what you see is steam especially on a fairly cool day like today. These are taken from further around than the video was so the water can be seen better. I do not think that captions are needed on the rest of these. Enjoy!!!
Old Faithful Eruption 5 Old Faithful Eruption from 4273
Old faithful Eruption 6 Old faithful Eruption 7
Oldfaithful Eruption 8 Old Faithful Eruption 9
Old Faithful Eruption 10 Old Faithful Eruption 11
Old Faithful Eruption 12 Old Faithful Eruption 13
Old Faithful Eruption 14 Old Faithful Eruption 15
Old Faithful Eruption 16 Old faithful Eruption 17

Old faithful Eruption 18

Here in one image that is larger.

Old Faithful Eruption Large


All these eruption images were taken over a 3 minute long period centred around 8:35AM. The park rangers do their best to predict the next eruption. Old Faithful's name originates in the fact that it is the most predictable of all the geysers in the park. Around the time we we there it was averaging about every 92 minutes but can vary from 40 to 126 minutes depending on many variables. This one was about 15 minutes later than they estimated and it was cooooold out there waiting for it.

Here are a few more pictures of the lobby area of the Old Faithful Inn. These are taken from different angles and with somewhat different lighting than yesterdays.

Lobby 26th Fire Place 3 Lobby General 26th #2
The fireplace in better light than yesterdays. The front entrance is to the right.
Lobby General #1 Lobby Crows Nest #1
This probably shows the Crows Nest better than the ones yesterday. Front entrance is lower left corner. Some of the stairway structure that goes up to the Crows Nest.
Lobby 26th Crows Nest #2 Lobby 26th Rooms 1
Though hard to see the floor of the Crows Nest is near the top in the centre of this image. The high priced rooms above the main entrance.
Lobby 26th General 3 Lobby 26th General 4
The high priced rooms across the way. The entrance is out of the picture to the bottom right. More of the lobby balconies.

Here are the last 2 Inn pictures.

Restaurant 1 East Wing From Restaurant
The restaurant we ate in for dinner last night (good) and for breakfast this morning (could have been better). The east wing taken through a window located on the 3rd balcony of the lobby.

It is just about time to depart so here are the details of the route for today.

Map May 26th

Here is the map for today.

Obviously we start at the bottom centre at Old Faithful and head up the road northward.

Our first stop was at Fountain Paint Pot which is located just a bit north of half way between Old Faithful and Madison. If your eyes are good and you can read the map, it is located at the eastern most bend in the road just below the purple label Lower Geyser Basin.

From there we headed to our morning washroom stop at a spot near Madison.

From there we headed along the West Entrance road to the West Entrance and just outside it to West Yellowstone, Montana. There we visited a wildlife centre with a small museum that specialized in bears. This is not normally included in the tour but it was a make up for missing Little Bighorn several days ago. We also had lunch at a restaurant there. I must have thought that the town was not too exceptional as I took no pictures there except one inside the shop at the wildlife centre.

From there we headed back into the park and then headed north from Madison with a stop at what I think is Gibbon Falls located at the point where the road takes a sharp north turn east of Madison.

I believe our last stop for the day was at the Norris Geyser Basin which is just below the word Norris at the junction of the road going east (that we took yesterday and the road going north (for us today) to Mammoth Hot Springs where we arrived between 4 and 4:30 pm.

We departed from Old Faithful at approximately 9:00 as there was no rush to today's schedule. As we were leaving we saw this....

Old Bus 1

This is an old bus that is used to give hotel guests tours of the park.

Our first stop was at Fountain Paint Pot one of the other geo-thermally active areas in this part of the park. This was where the weather was the most exciting for the day although you probably will not be able to see it in the pictures that follow. It was windy, snow with ice pellets was falling, and as noted earlier cold. Here are some pictures still with the over exposure problem noted above but not too bad considering.

Fountain Paint Pot 1 Fountain Paint Pot 2
I think this is Silex Spring. The Fountain Paint Pot. There had been so much snow and rain that it was more water than the mud that is usually associated with it.
Fountain Paint Pot 3 Fountain Paint Pot 4
The Pot form the other side. Not sure what this is but it could be one of the geysers in this area.
Fountain Paint Pot 5 Fountain Paint Pot 6
The area around the "Pot". I think these are dead Lodgepole pine trees. The thermal activity has killed them.

It would have been nice to have had a bit more time here but the weather was such that nobody wanted to. Most people did not come with clothing suitable to this environment. We saw it, but it would have been nicer with better weather.

Our next stop was the morning break where we saw this again.

Old Bus 2 at Madison

Here is that old bus again.
This is the picture where I discovered the camera setting problem and fixed it.
From here on all the pictures were exposed correctly.

From here we headed along the West Entrance road to West Yellowstone, Montana for the visit to the Bear Refuge and lunch. Along the way we saw some Bison. After all we cannot go one day without seeing some of them, can we.

Bison Herd May 26th

We saw some other wildlife a short distance along the road from the bisons. This is the only time we saw one of these.

Wolf Crossing Road Wolf just off road

Yes, this is a wolf. It just sauntered out on the road a long way in front of the coach, walked across, and disappeared into the woods.

As I noted above when we got to West Yellowstone I took almost no pictures there except for this one in the souvenir shop at the wildlife refuge.

Large Bear

Those of you that know me are aware that I have a soft spot for plush animals or toys.
Knowing this you will probably understand why I would want to include this.
Thanks to the family who agreed to sit there so I could get some feeling of its size.

In one of those quirks of fate that sometimes happen, not long after being at the bear wildlife refuge we saw this......

Bear May 26th #1 Bear May 26th #2
Another bear...  
Bear May 26th #3 Bear May 26th #4
Bear May 26th #6 bear May 26th #6 Full
  Again, just like yesterdays bear, here is what the picture to the right looked like before I enlarged the bear in it.

We headed back from West Yellowstone and started the northern half of today's journey. Our first stop was at what I think is Gibbon Falls. Gibbon Falls is located on the edge of the Yellowstone Volcanic Caldera and falls over it.

Here are two pictures, one of part of the falls and one of the view from the top of the falls.

Gibbon Falls View from waterfall
The upper part of the waterfall. The view.

Our final stop this day was the Norris Geyser Basin. The weather was not quite as bad as earlier at Fountain Paint Pot but it was still cold and windy. More time would have been nice here too but at least we got to see it. Here are some pictures.

Norris 1 Norris 2
The Norris Geyser Basin A steam vent that was roaring away.
Norris 3 Norris 4
A couple of wider views of the basin.  

Norris 5

I believe this is a thermal pool but I do not remember its name.

If I remember correctly we drove the rest of the way to Mammoth Hot Springs without any more stops. We went directly to the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. Here is the map...

Mammoth map

Amazingly we came up the road that comes in from the lower left labelled "To Old Faithful via Norris and Madison".

Shortly after arriving I took the last two pictures of the day.

Mammoth May 26th 1 Mammoth May 26th #2
This is a closer view of the mountain in the next picture. Looking towards the Terraces where the hot springs are. You can see some steam to the right of centre.

The Elk, that seemed to be all over the place around here yesterday, were nowhere to be seen today for reasons unknown.

Dinner was on our own tonight, (that means not included) and there were only two options. The hotel does not have a dining room so you need to go a short distance to a building that has a fairly expensive dining room at one end and a reasonably priced fast food like (but better than average) restaurant in the other end. I think many people ended up in the fast food like restaurant sometime before it closed at 8:30PM.

Later in the evening there was a presentation by a person who was a musician but has worked in the park for a long time now. He had an old style slide presentation about the park that was presented with him playing accompanying music live on a grand piano in a room called the Map Room. It has been a while since I have seen multiple Kodak Carousel slide projectors using Kodachrome slides and running on an auto timer. It was very good and very well presented.

I returned to my larger than last nights room which was as far away from the lobby as one can get, which seems to be the norm for many of my rooms. It was again an old hotel. This one, as currently configured, was opened in 1937. There has been a hotel here since 1883.

That concludes this full day in Yellowstone National Park. Tomorrow we drive all the way back down the road we came up today and keep going leaving the park and heading for Jackson, Wyoming. One wonders why the tour company would book these two hotels in this order. They know that the the route of the tour takes it out of the park to the south so why would they not book the southernmost hotel (Old Faithful Inn) on the second night since it is closer to the route out. The normal route into the park allows a tour to go either way since it comes in a just bit south of the centre of the park. Even Tour Director Jack could not quite figure that one out.

On to tomorrow and Jackson, Wyoming.

Back to May 25th (Pt. 2)

Created: August 14th, 2011
Last Updated: Thursday, August 25, 2011 5:49 PM