Some questions will never be answered. "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop," for example. You might think that the question, "how many days does it take a teenager to get on board with the family vacation," is another one of those that will never be answered.
But friends, I have the answer:
Twenty-three days! Today Ethan was excited, he was engaged, he actually uttered the words, "I could look at this all day," and he wasn't referring to his 3DS.
We started off Friday morning in the Madison Junior Ranger station, again. Jonah really wanted to get his badge from this station, and believe it or not, Ethan really, really wanted to help raise the flag again. And he did. (If you're wondering what it looked like, just check out the photo from yesterday).
On our way out of the ranger station, we overheard one of the rangers talking about a dead bison up the road a bit. She was worried a grizzly would come soon and that park visitors might be at risk. So we headed right up there. Because we wanted to see a dead bison and hopefully a grizzly.
So, dead bison. We didn't get out of our car because we were certain a grizzly would come at any second and rip us to shreds. Obviously other people didn't have the same fears. We didn't bother waiting around though and headed up to Artist's Paint Pots.
Artist's Paint Pots were colorful geothermal features that made me think I was on Mars, instead of Earth. There was a mud volcano with thick, greyish gloop that bubbled and plopped. This is what Ethan declared he could watch all day. I didn't get a good picture of that paint pot, so I just nabbed this one off the Internet:
On the way back towards Old Faithful Village we stopped at Gibbon Falls.
Can I just tell you how much I was enjoying "on board" Ethan!
But, isn't there some law of balance in the universe that keeps things even? If one kid goes from bad to good attitude, another has to go from good to bad. I didn't take a picture of Isaac, but let's just say he was ready to be done with tour-de-Nelson.
The next stop was Midway Geyser Basin which was totally cool. The piece de résistance was the Grand Prismatic Spring. I'm guessing this photo doesn't mean a whole lot to you. It was difficult to capture the beauty and weirdness. Mostly because to see the deep blues and greens of the water, one needed to be above the pool and in my case, I was not. But here is a lovely overhead shot for you to enjoy. See the little people on the pathway? That's how huge it is.
And this is me getting all artistic on the beauty in nature. The orange was so vivid.
This was Opal Spring and you can get a better idea of the blueish green water up against the orange border. The colors are caused by thermophiles, bacteria that thrive in heat. The orange bacteria like the hotter temps while the blue and green like the cooler, but still warm temps.
We caught one more blast from Old Faithful and this time I think I got a pretty good picture. The wind was blowing the steam just right.
It was just about time for us to leave Yellowstone and head for our stop for the night, Burley, Idaho. Ethan was sad. This made stopping at one more place a little bit easier.
Of course to the casual observer, as we walked around these geysers, springs, mud volcanoes and fumerols, it would have appeared that Isaac was on a death march. That is why he doesn't appear in the picture at Spasm Geyser.
Yellowstone was amazing. There was so much to see and we had so little time. At times I felt like I was on the set of a sci-fi movie and was fascinated by the strangeness of the bubbling, oozing, steaming ground all around me. Hopefully we will make it back to Yellowstone some day and can explore it a little more.