Yellowstone National Park

We took a road trip recently to Yellowstone National Park.  Pretty good drive from Seattle, about 715 miles each way. We drove the MINI, out on its first road trip. Really amazing scenery on the way over, starting at Puget Sound, through the Cascade mountains, the desert of central Washington, and into the Rocky Mountains.

The way there was pretty uneventful. We stopped in a few times for gas, and had lunch in Spokane, WA (at Arby’s). I handled several work related phone calls, working on some last minute stuff for the Google+ launch.

We stayed in the Big Sky Resort, in Big Sky, MT. It turns out that if you want to stay in the national park, you have to book about a year in advance. Good to know for next time. We met up with Cortny Helmick‘s parents in Big Sky, that had just arrived that day form the midwest.

Yellowstone National Park, June 2011

We spent the next day actually driving around Yellowstone. One should really spend more than a day there, but you can see a lot in the day. Highlights included a viewing of an eruption of Old Faithful and a visit to the Grand Prismatic Spring. Pictures:

Some thoughts about Yellowstone:

  • Old Faithful is simply amazing. You see steam rising out of the earth for a while, then a little bit of water bubbling up, and then within seconds water is shooting over a 100 feet into the air!
  • Bubbling mud! Didn’t even know this existed, but Yellowstone is home to some bubbling mud. Kind of unsettling standing on ground that is that thermally active.
  • The grand prismatic spring is really cool. At first it looks like the steam is causing a rainbow to form, but when you look closer it isn’t quite a complete spectrum. The colors come from colored bacteria that grow in a rainbow colored order – amazing. And on a sunny day, the colors reflect up through the steam (captured in my pictures).
  • The mammoth hot spring is neat, but kind of out of the way.
  • Animals – we saw lots of bison, a few elk, and a beaver (that was unexpected and cool). Didn’t see any bears or moose, but we also stuck close to the road.

After a day in the park, we spend 2 days driving back. We stopped for a night in the historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane, WA. The guest list and history of this hotel are both fascinating and impressive.

Last day of the trip, we drove from Spokane to Seattle, using the northern route. And WOW, amazing driving through Washington. We have a huge diversity of landscapes, and it is well worth the drive.  A quick stop for lunch at the Munchen Haus in Leavenworth, WA, and back home in Seattle.