Everyone, except Garry had a cough, sore throat and temperature - not a great way to start a huge day! We were both worried about how Yas and Max would handle a full day outside on the back of snow mobiles, and were hoping for a drastic improvement in the weather.
We arrived at the Three Bears Inn just after eight am to get dressed in the special suits and other protective clothing which included balaclavas under helmets and beanies and both hand and feet warmers for the kids. Garry and I were lucky as our snow mobiles had heated handles and seats. Looking fantastic in our incredibly flattering down jumpsuits we had a two minute lesson on how to operate our machines and off we went!
Poor Yas was finding the going tough, she was very cold and wanted to go home. On the other end of the spectrum Max had declared himself a Ninja and wanted me to go faster. The snow stopped and the sun was shining and we were riding through beautiful canyons.
We again saw Eagles, Bison, Elk a Coyote and even a very large Black Wolf on our way to the famous Geyser - Old Faithful.
We were only a couple of miles away when I noticed Max falling sideways off the back of our snow mobile in the rear vision mirror. I luckily grabbed him with one hand and stopped - he had fallen asleep! I tried to wake him but to no avail, Max rode the last mile asleep. How he didn't fall is a miracle.
We waited for the Geyser to erupt and were treated to the most amazing sight - a herd of Bison wandering past the eruption. A lady standing next to us exclaimed that she had been traveling to Old Faithful for the past forty years every winter and had never seen Bison near the Geyser, We felt lucky to see such an amazing sight.
On our way back to the park entrance we stopped at another famous site that included Hot Springs, Fumarole's and Mud pots.
The following three photographs show the beautiful colours that are created by light refraction, suspended mineral particles and heat-loving organisms.
A Hot Spring contains superheated water which cools and circulates as it reaches the top of the pool and is then replaced by hotter water from below. The water below was estimated to reach up to 200 degree's! Our guide told horror stories about people who fell in and all their skin peeling away from their bones....
The following images are of the famous Mud Pots. These wonders appear in places where microorganisms help convert hydrogen sulfide, which rises from deep within the earth, into sulfuric acid. The acid dissolves surrounding rock into clay, which mixes with rising steam and groundwater to form mud of varying colours and consistencies.
A Fumarole is a vent in the earth's crust, (a steam vent). The steam rushes up through a series of cracks and fissures and out of the vent, sometimes with enough force to create a large hiss or roar.
We were once again treated to the most amazing site of a heard of Bison as we were almost out of the park. We turned off the engines and sat quietly, watching as they trotted right past us, really only metres away. It was wonderful, they stopped and looked right at us. I especially love the sound of their hooves in the snow and their snorting. I was glad Max agreed not to call
or yell out, "Hello Buffalo" to each animal as he did on the first day out the window of the snowcat. On the snowcat, Max amused the other tourists with this call, to the point that they were encouraging him to make this call out if Max didn't see an animal.
Yellowstone Park was more amazing than any of us could have imagined! We hope to return in Summer to see this beautiful national park in a different season. Wow!!!!!