Mammoth Hot Springs, West Thumb, and Goodbye to Yellowstone!

✍️ 🕑 September 21, 2021 • Series: Go West, Young Lad • Tags: wildlife photographyyellowstonenational parksbuffalovolcanic rockgeothermal featureslakes • Places: Mammoth Campground Mammoth Hotsprings Sheepeater Cliff Biscuit Basin Black Sand Basin West Thumb Geyser Basin

And so, all good things come to an end.

#IWokeUpLikeThis
#IWokeUpLikeThis

I awoke on Tuesday, September 22nd with "a zip in my bip and a pop in my bop," (rather like this kid) ready to spend one final day exploring the cold and phenomenal park before heading south to the Grand Tetons, where I would camp a few more nights.

The first order of business was to visit Mammoth Hot Springs. It was close to where I was camping that I did not feel compelled to stop there the previous days, knowing it would be so easy to drop by in the future.

But, on my last day, it was my last chance to see the beautiful cascading travertine, so there I dutifully went...

Old Faithful, Fairy Falls, and More of Yellowstone

✍️ 🕑 September 20, 2021 • Series: Go West, Young Lad • Tags: yellowstonenational parksbuffalochipmunkwaterfallgeysers • Places: Old Faithful Grand Prismatic Spring & The Midway Geyser Basin Fairy Falls Artists' Paintpots

I awoke on the twentieth of September, itching to see some more geysers and such. After waiting for an elk to move so I could relocate my tent, I jumped in my car and headed towards Old Faithful.

Snowy roads leading into the park, cellphone snap taken for the 52 Frames Challenge, 'My Daily Routine.' By my fifteenth day of my westward drive, driving was indeed my daily routine...
Snowy roads leading into the park, cellphone snap taken for the 52 Frames Challenge, 'My Daily Routine.' By my fifteenth day of my westward drive, driving was indeed my daily routine...

It was a cold Monday morning, and as I drove the snowy roads up into the park, I hoped that my destination, quite possibly the park's most famous attraction, wouldn't be too crowded when I got there.

A Few Horny Elk at Yellowstone

✍️ 🕑 September 19-20, 2021 • Series: Go West, Young Lad • Tags: wildlife photographyelkyellowstonenational parks • Places: Mammoth, WY Gardiner, MT Mammoth Campground

This marks the 19th post in this series on my road trip from Pennsylvania to Seattle, and as such, it is has finally overtaken "Attractions of Pennsylvania" for the longest "series" on this blog. What a milestone!


In my last post, I finally arrived at the place I was most excited to visit in my drive across the United States, Yellowstone National Park.

After discovering that conditions were just a touch colder than I was prepared for during the daytime, I began heading towards a campsite and a warm meal. Traffic ground to a halt. I figured the cause was some sort of relatively rare animal, causing drivers to slow down and snap pictures from the middle of the road, an annoying penchant of Yellowstone visitors seeing their first buffalo.

As it happened, I was almost completely correct in my guess about the material reason for being in first gear.

The only thing I was wrong about was the type of animal.

It wasn't a buffalo.

It was elk.

Lots of 'em.

Quoth The Corvid, Yellowstone

✍️ 🕑 • Series: Go West, Young Lad • Tags: national parksyellowstonegeyserslakeswaterfallsriverscanyons • Places: East Entrance to Yellowstone Nine Mile Post / Turbid Lake Trail Trailhead LeHardy Rapids Mud Volcanos Grand Canyon of Yellowstone Norris Geyser Basin

Of all of the places I ever visited as a youngster, Yellowstone National Park left the biggest impression on me. I thought its geothermal features were spectacular, its nature unparalleled, and its crowds easy enough to overlook when everything else was so spectacular.

I made sure when I planned my trip West to not just visit Yellowstone but to spend as much time there and just outside there as seemed reasonable. So, after a day spent just outside the park boundaries, I would spend a total of three days visiting the park.

I hadn't planned much of a park itinerary, but I wanted to visit a mix of popular and less popular spots. Along these lines, I picked out my first planned hike, one not far from the park's east entrance.

A signpost indicating nearby trails, including one I planned to hike...
A signpost indicating nearby trails, including one I planned to hike...

Soon, it would turn out there were a few other things I hadn't necessarily planned on. Like snow.

Ancient Lakes

✍️ 🕑 March 13-14, 2022 hiking and campinggeologyvolcanic rocklakesriverswaterfallscentral washington state • Places: Ancient Lakes Trailhead

On one particular weekend in mid-March, the weather seemed nice enough for a little overnight hike around Ancient Lakes, Washington, a beautiful area that with a rich geological history... and a lot of horses, kids on mountain bikes, and loose boulders.

A view early into the Ancient Lakes Trail, showing just how remote and untouched the landscape truly is.
A view early into the Ancient Lakes Trail, showing just how remote and untouched the landscape truly is.

A visit that could raise the following, suspenseful questions:

  • Will Steve manage to find some solitude?
  • Will Steve stay warm and dry at night?
  • Will Steve be well-fed?
  • Will Steve be back to Seattle in time to join his 3PM workshop on perception of time & art?
  • How will Steve navigate the myriad of trails in the area?
  • Will Steve consume the lake water, rumored to be chockfull of nitrates and agricultural runoff from nearby farmland?

All this & more follows.