Saturday, August 11, 2012

Other Geysers

After Old Faithful did its thing, I took my buffalo jerky and headed off across the Yellowstone boardwalks to see more geysers.  It was ridiculously cold, so few people were out with me.  Along with the cold came sporadic driving snow.

Mineral build-up around a geyser in the foreground, old Teddy Roosevelt-era hotels in the background.
Walking around the thermal features at Yellowstone is awesome, because you're constantly on wooden boardwalks.  This is for your own protection, as the water is extremely hot and the earth only looks like solid ground.

Like I'd want to mark them.  Bacterial flats?  Ugh.  But they're pretty.

The steam did smell sulfury, but not that sulfury.  Not nearly as bad as riding in a car with Dad and one of the cannons, at the end of the day on 4 July.

What did the first pioneers here think?  I kept wondering if they were missionaries or other god-fearing folks, because if so, they probably though they'd wandered into some terrifying hell-vestibule.

These signs are everywhere.  Sure, it looks like normal dirt/plants, but you'll probably end up, like, sinking into boiling mud up to your thigh, which will then have to be amputated, Civil War-style.
This is actively geysering.  Not all of them shoot out water like Old Faithful.

The hottest parts of the thermal pools are the blue areas (if I'm remembering right) and are blue because they are populated by cyanobacteria.  As you move from the center towards the edge of the pool, the colors change as the water cools and the types of bacteria present change.  Sure, the water cools, but its still wicked hot.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Old Faithful

Of course, my first destination in Yellowstone was Old Faithful.  This photo of me and the Park's sign was taken by a friendly Chinese couple.  They were taking turns, making individual photographs of them and the sign, so I offered (via gestures?) to take one of them together.  They were super-cute and happy, and then took one of me with my camera (and also with their camera - their slideshow back home in China "And here is a random Caucasian girl who took a photo for us!").
I was very pleased, because they said almost every single Chinese word that I know.  Which is not many.  They counted off pressing the shutter, 'one, two, three,' and then thanked me afterwards.  The only other words I know that they didn't say were 'dumping' and 'little sister'.  Needless say, my Chinese is tailor-made to run a dumpling-eating contest.

A large sign at the Visitors Center posts the predicted geyser eruption time, plus or minus ten minutes.  I got there about 25 minutes before the predicted time, and so headed out to get a good spot on the large wooden boardwalk built a safe viewing distance from the action.

I was all lazy, and not very hungry, so I bought myself a pack of buffalo jerky at some general store place?  It seemed an appropriate snack/lunch for Wyoming, and I later wandered around geysers, standing in the sulfurous fumes to keep warm, eating buffalo jerky.

Go go go!  But alas (!) the drama is decreased due to a sullen grey sky.
A small crowd gathered to watch.  On the other side of me was a small family (dad, boy kid, smaller girl kid) from Wisconsin, and they were being so stereotypically Wisconsin, accent and doofus jokes the whole time.  I alternated between wanting to giggle at all their doofusing or punching them all to make them shut up.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I'm Never Home These Days

I'm never home these days.  And I have loads of photos to post.

I originally thought this summer was just going to involve an intense May, but it has morphed into an intense summer.

1). Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival weekend with Heather
2). AIC Annual Meeting in New Mexico
3). a visit from Mum & Auntie Rita
4). attending a wedding in Cody (Wyoming)
5). Liang & Michael coming to Philly for a few days
6). concert, friends, and research in Ottawa (Ontario) for almost a week
7). a week in Huntsville (Alabama) teaching workshops
8). a week in Bowie (Maryland) teaching workshops
9). a week in Jackson (Mississippi) teaching workshops
10). and a college roomie reunion weekend with Liang and Big Spicy (Dara)

I'm tired.  And Cordelia Cat sulks at me whenever I return.  And I'm looking forward to returning to Ordinary Time.

Yellowstone, East Gate

Immediately in Yellowstone, like barely a couple yards.  Notice: minimal snow.

Heading into higher elevations.
Snow, through some very high pass.  I had doubted about the gate being closed, thinking all, "Whateves, I've driven several times on Interstate 81 through blizzards on the way to Canada."  This was a similar snow-situation, though I-81 is not on the edge of a mountain, which does add a bit more interest to the drive.  And instead of my trusty Green Car, I had some sort of weak-engined rental Dodge-thing.

To the right, you can kind of see the edge of the snow drift that needed to be cleared in order for cars to drive through.  It was Death-Star trench quality.