Lake Yellowstone

Star hot spring - crystal blue water, but smoking hot
Star hot spring - crystal blue water, but smoking hot03-Jul-2011 11:50, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 5.6, 21.461mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 80
 
Day 2 – The next morning we had breakfast inside the hotel’s restaurant. We again were in time to watch Old Faithful erupt. We then took a short walk on the boardwalk around the geyser. There were many hot springs, the blue star hot spring was a sight of nature’s creation – crystal blue water calming staring at us. We then drove a bit to another rather longer boardwalk where the Excelsior hot spring and the Grand Prismatic lake was. Both were another sight to watch. The Grand Prismatic lake – true its name – displays a variety of colors and it was a great place for photography. You want to visit any of these places in the early morning or the evenings for the best pictures. We wanted to take a hike to overlook the ‘Mythical falls’. About 300 yards into the hike we decided against it getting concerned about running into bears (After we were back home, we heard of a bear attack where a man was killed close to Mammoth Springs).
Grand Prismatic lake
Grand Prismatic lake03-Jul-2011 13:45, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 4.0, 6.1mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 80
 

We weren’t hungry yet for lunch, so we decided to drive towards north to the Mammoth Hot Spring area. It was about a 40 or so mile drive. We stopped on many occasions to take in the sights. Far off snow covered peaks are always fascinating to watch especially in the middle of summer! There were herds of wild buffalo (bison) near the foothills and that was our first sighting of the bison. We even spotted an elk sitting way far in the shadows of a farm and a couple more much closer. We arrived at Mammoth Hot springs after lunch local time. The area was busy with tourists and very close to it were a block of buildings including a restaurant, gas station and visitor center. Lunch was vegetarian sandwiches and fruit cups with lemonade.
Overlook on the way to Lake Yellowstone Hotel
Overlook on the way to Lake Yellowstone Hotel03-Jul-2011 19:42, Canon Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, 16.0, 37.0mm, 0.02 sec, ISO 400
 
The Hot spring itself occupies a large area and one has to go on a bit of a hike to reach the top. I decided to stay back in the car after we saw the closest one. This one had numerous step like formations all perfectly flat. It took about 30 minutes for Rama and Vikas to come back. We thus far had covered the south-west and north-east part of the park with the drive in between.Our next stop was going to the Yellowstone Lake hotel slightly south of the middle east of the park. The drive was about 2 hours. The roads travelled over the most hilly region of the park which gave way to some fantastic vistas. The parks have the most deaths not by animals but by driving accidents. The maximum speed limit I saw was 45 mph. Teeming with tourists who are eager to look around, you will see cars driving slower and then there are always the ones who are in a hurry. A shiny Camaro was one such. Luckily there are many turnouts that you can pull into to let the faster ones pass you by.
04-Jul-2011 09:00, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 4.0, 12.074mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 80
 
We reached the Yellowstone Lake hotel around 4 PM or so and checked in. The room was nice, large but bright. The hotel is set in a grand setting sitting atop a small hill overlooking the huge Yellowstone lake. When you hear about Yellowstone, you only hear about the geysers and hot springs and not of the lake. The lake occupies an area of 136 square miles and has a perimeter of 130 miles. Sitting on the benches, one needs to turn the head more than 180 degrees to take in all of the lake. The Yellow building, nearly 80 years old, is in sharp shape and is easily spotted from the lake. The lake was ruffled and you could see many small waves due to the evening wind. Standing on the banks was a bit unsettling. We had made dinner reservations before stepping out and once outside we thought it was getting chilly and dark. Back inside the hotel, there is a large entertaining hall outside the large dinner hall. There was a troupe playing music and entertaining the guests. We managed to get food earlier than reserved (just ask the attendant if you can). The food was alright – pasta wasn’t perfect. We got back to the room for the night.

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