Yellowstone 2004

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Hellroaring Creek. Loraine took a hike out here during her conference at Big Sky, Montana.
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Hellroaring Creek trail. George Fisher (advisor), Bill Abbett (scientist), and Loraine (scientist) on the trail.
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George resting on the rock in the middle of the creek.
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Matt in the lobby of the Huntley Lodge in Big Sky, Montana. Loraine had her conference there.
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Matt at a sign indicating that the Forest Service designated the area around the 1959 Hebgen Lake earthquake as an "Earthquake Area."
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Trees that died when they were submerged when a massive landslide dammed up the river during the 1959 Hebgen Lake earthquake.
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A massive landslide triggered by the 1959 Hebgen Lake earthquake. The scars were still easily visible nearly 50 years later.
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Matt at the historic Hebgen Lake earthquake scarp.
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Female elk chewing near the Madison River at the West entrance of Yellowstone.
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Us with elk along the Madison River.
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Elk by the steaming Madison River early in the morning.
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While we were sitting on a bench enjoying the beautiful morning, Mrs. Elk came right up to where we were sitting to munch a particularly tasty looking bush.
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Loraine at Great Fountain Geyser. We later saw it erupt. Note the beautiful terraces.
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Thermophilic bacterial mats at Firehole Lake.
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Lion Group erupting just a few minutes after we watched Old Faithful erupt.
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Loraine with a particularly beautiful hot spring near Castle Geyser.
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Matt at the eruption of Daisy Geyser. We had perfect timing -- arriving just moments before it began erupting.
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We saw this skeleton of a buffalo near Daisy Geyser. You can see its horns and hide. Morbid, but very interesting...
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Loraine at Grotto Geyser during its eruption. This Geyser has some really interesting formations at its nozzle where the geyser originally formed near some trees. Deposits of silica formed around the trees, leaving behind strange looking stumps.
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Loraine at Morning Glory pool. Look how deep it appears to go! The color gradient reflects a gradient in temperature. Blue bacteria grow in the hottest water, then white, yellow, orange, and red-brown.
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Matt at Giant Geyser. We never saw it erupting, but it was venting steam from this interesting nozzle when we saw.
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Beautiful Loraine at Beauty Pool on Geyser Hill.
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Loraine captured these pretty formations in the microbial mats at Beauty Pool.
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Matt points out the eruption of Castle Geyser in the distance.
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Loraine during the eruption of small Anenome Geyser. While not as big as some of the other Geysers, and isn't very spectacular during the eruption, but when it finishes, the magic begins. The pool of water you see in this picture slowly drains back down the hole just like a toilet flushing. Slowly, over about 11 minutes, the pool fills back up and begins the process all over again!
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Our very first buffalo ever! This one was sitting in a "nest" of dust by the river.
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We backpacked to Lone Star Geyser along a short and pretty trail. We had dinner by the geyser as we waited about an hour and a half for it to begin erupting. During that time, it kept treating us with frequent splashes and a constant rumble. These events were not quite spectacular enough to distract us from the extraordinarily painful mosquitos. Three other groups of people left before the eruption actually began because they couldn't handle the pests.
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We backpacked to Lone Star Geyser along a short and pretty trail. We had dinner by the geyser as we waited about an hour and a half for it to begin erupting. During that time, it kept treating us with frequent splashes and a constant rumble. These events were not quite spectacular enough to distract us from the extraordinarily painful mosquitos. Three other groups of people left before the eruption actually began because they couldn't handle the pests.
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We backpacked to Lone Star Geyser along a short and pretty trail. We had dinner by the geyser as we waited about an hour and a half for it to begin erupting. During that time, it kept treating us with frequent splashes and a constant rumble. These events were not quite spectacular enough to distract us from the extraordinarily painful mosquitos. Three other groups of people left before the eruption actually began because they couldn't handle the pests.
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We camped in this beautiful meadow, but didn't spend too much time enjoying it. Between the torrential rain storm and the mosquito infestation, we stayed inside the tent as much as possible. Here you can see Matt's multiple layers of protection from the elements. While it may look funny, it made things a lot more tolerable.
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Loraine at Black Sands Geyser basin.
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Excelsior Geyser made this huge crater back in the 1880's. It's eruptive cycles are decades apart, but are really dramatic.
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The surreal landscape between Excelsior crater and Grand Prismatic Spring.
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Loraine at Grand Prismatic Spring. Because it had rained so much overnight, there was still a lot of moisture in the air -- that means lots of steam masking the colors of Grand Prismatic Spring. Nonetheless, Loraine loved the colors so much that we had to include her in front of it.
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Matt at the upwind edge of Grand Prismatic Spring. The wind was blowing the steam pretty hard, and brining a massive storm in. We made it back to the car just moments before the downpour started!
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A classic aerial photo of Grand Prismatic Spring on a day with less steam than during our visit. Look at those colors!
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Lupine and colors of a spring near Grand Prismatic. Note the ominous looking storm approaching. It started to rain like crazy as soon as we made it back to our car -- perfect timing!
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Four geysers were simultaneously erupting and visible from this location near the Fountain Paint Pots.
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Loraine near two geysers erupting simultaneously.
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Matt in front of a Waterfall near Norris.
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We saw 4 male elk with beautiful horns sitting near the Gardner river.
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A unique view from on top of a hillside down into thermal fields at Artist Paint Pots between Norris and Mammoth.
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Loraine near the confluence of two mud flows of very different colors. When they met downstream, the color of the mud was a simple mix of the two!
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Matt with a pretty mountain view from the Artist Paint Pots.
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Bubbling mud at the Artist's Paint Pots. These were amazing!!! Glurp!
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As an early celebration of our 2nd wedding anniversary, we stayed in one of the "Rough Rider" cabins at Roesevelt Lodge. The cabins were gorgeous -- while they didn't have a bathroom and the walls were super-thin, they did have hardwood floors and a wood stove. What an excellent way to spend an anniversary! We dressed up in outfits that we wore on our first anniversary in Hawaii. A little out of place for Yellowstone, but a lot of fun!
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We woke up bright and early to see this herd of buffalo between Roesevelt Lodge and the Lamar Valley. Look at the little ones!
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We eventually encountered this group of people gathered around spotting scopes. Way off in the distance (near the road and the hillside beyond it) was a pack of 6 wolves. These people were very serious wolf-watchers. They were able to identify the wolves by their "names" (each wolf is given a unique ID number for tracking purposes). They let us look through their amazing scopes so that we could look literally face-to-face with the beautiful wolves.
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Wolves crossing the road. There are actually 4 animals in this picture. Can you spot them? Using the spotting scopes of the hard-core wolf watchers, we were able to see them up close and personal!
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Matt at a safe distance to a black bear eating on the hillside.
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This photo doesn't really capture how well we could see the bear. We were able to see which type of grasses it ate with every bite. And it was so peaceful looking out in the field.
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We stopped to photograph a waterfall on in the distance, and Matt decided that the hills were alive with the sound of music!
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A fantastic waterfall at the Golden Gateway south of Mammoth.
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Columnar basalt at the Sheepeater Cliffs picnic area.
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A perfect hexagonal column of basalt up close.
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Wildlife jam! This picture was supposed to show a buffalo slowly walking along the road through a narrow canyon. Because there was no place else to go, it walked along the road -- holding up traffic for MILES behind it!
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Matt with the canyon of the Yellowstone river.
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Matt and Loraine at Lower Falls along the Yellowstone River.
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The classic view of Lower Falls along the Yellowstone River.
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Loraine took this photo looking down from the top of Upper Falls along the Yellowstone River.
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Matt was too frightened to look over the edge, so Loraine took his picture looking up the river from Upper Falls.
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We took a hike along the south rim of the canyon. The colors on the other side were simply amazing.
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More colors looking across the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.
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We sat for an evening picnic by this pond. The mosquitos were pretty bad, so we covered up as much as possible. We were hoping to catch a moose visiting the pond at twighlight, but with no success.
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The next morning, Loraine looking out over the surreal Norris Geyser basin. We were there early enough that we were the only people in the basin. It looked truly other-worldly.
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Loraine posing next to pretty colors of thermophilic bacteria at Norris Geyser basin.
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Matt standing at the top of the Mammoth Hot Springs.
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Because of the abundance of silicic volcanic activity near Yellowstone, the rocks are typically quite high in silica. Because the hot water at thermal features dissolves the host rock, most of the geysers are filled with silica-rich water. When that water reaches the surface, the interesting features that form in the Geyser basins tend to be made from silica. The Mammoth Hot Springs area is different, however. Here, the water is carbonate rich because of nearby limestone in the subsurface from ancient seas covering the area. The thermal feature formations here are therefore carbonate rich, which is why some of the features at Mammoth look a lot like they come from a coral reef!
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Loraine in front of the steam and mist at Mammoth Hot Springs. It was hard to take photos here because puffs of steam periodically obscured the background.
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We were able to snap this photo at the perfect time when the steam from the Mammoth Hot Springs cleared momentarily. The active portion of the formation where there is hot water currently flowing shows up as orange-ish brown where thermophilic bacteria are currently thriving. The white areas don't have hot water flowing over them now, but the system is very dynamic and the hot springs change from day-to-day and year-to-year.
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Matt with a funny hot-spring mound in the upper Mammoth Hot Springs.
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Look at these beautiful colors and flow patterns at along the lower Mammoth Hot Springs.
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Loraine points to some really beautiful structures in the hot spring deposits.
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Looking up the hillslope at the interesting shapes of the lower Mammoth Hot Springs deposits.
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Matt enjoying the Boiling River. Here, a boiling hot river flows (behind Matt where all the green bacterial mats are) into a cold mountain river. Where the two meet is the perfect blend of temperatures. By moving closer or farther from the junction, you can adjust your temperature, and occasional blasts of cold water cool you off as the river currents change. Hot. Cold. Hot. Cold.
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The impressive Roesevelt Arch at the entrance to Yellowstone. It celebrates the founding of the world's first National Park in 1872. It boldly states that the park is "FOR THE BENEFIT AND ENJOYMENT OF THE PEOPLE." For us, it marked our exit.

Here is a list of things we saw on the trip: