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Zigzagging Through Yellowstone

A trip to Montana for some work inspired a side trip to Yellowstone National Park–a place neither my husband nor I have ever visited.  And after a long day of hiking and exploring and photographing…zigzagging through Montana and Wyoming, on boardwalks, winding roads, and dirt trails, it’s nice to take a little time to reflect (and to put my feet up!).

What trip to Yellowstone would be complete without a trip to Old Faithful?  This world renown geyser is iconic.  It erupts pretty reliably about every 90 minutes…and draws a large crowd that gathers, jockeying for front row seats.  I’ve been interested in taking photos of people lately…and this crowd gave me ample opportunity!

viewers of old faithful

And somehow, we managed to arrive at Old Faithful moments before it erupted.  I was able to walk right up and move into a great place for experiencing the eruption.  It starts slow, burping steam and spewing water, gathering momentum and height as each burp shoots water and steam higher and higher into the air.  At its height, I could feel the warm drops on my body, like a gentle sprinkle.

old faithful

One of my favorite times of the day was the quiet time we found out on a trail away from most of the thermal action.  We hiked through a forest, over a river, up and down trails, enjoying the quiet magic and natural beauty.  We heard the loud clicks of insects and watched a chipmunk nibble the leaves of a plant growing up near a fallen tree.  I loved watching these butterflies light on the plant in front of me.

butterflies in yellowstoneAs we continued back toward the trail head, we caught a glimpse of Old Faithful…from the back, through trees, far from the crowds gathered.

Old faithful through trees

Later in the day we continued our explorations as we headed back in the direction of our hotel. We almost missed this amazing display of color…thinking we had already seen geysers.  And this unedited photo only captures a fraction of what you see in person!

unexpected colors

As we headed further down the road to catch a glimpse of some paint pots, the light was beginning to change as clouds gathered and the sun dipped behind them.  I love the way the light and shadow plays with these bare trees with the clouds as a dramatic backdrop.

light and bare treesThe sky continued to darken as we came around the corner to find this geyser spewing.  It seemed to be in continuous action, with water and steam shooting high into the air.

sky and geyserIt probably won’t surprise you to learn that we soon found ourselves in a huge downpour. Luckily, we had made it to the car before the sky unleashed.  And after a pretty good soaking, the skies began to clear and sun emerged again.  As we got closer to the North entrance of the park, the sky was bright and the clouds once again white and puffy.

light and river

And the sun was in a great position to take a perfect picture of the historic arch, marking Yellowstone as our first National Park.  What a beautiful place!  I can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds as we set off on another zigzagging Yellowstone adventure!

arch at yellowstone

**A side note…I decided on zigzagging for this photo essay because of the zigzagging boardwalks and walkways in the park.  Here’s one example:

zigzag walkways