Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Horrors of Seven Mile Hole

A smoky haze filled the skies, drifting across Yellowstone from forest fires burning to the west of us. I did not bring binoculars, nor did I bring my bigger “good” camera. The idea was to carry as little weight as possible, down into and up out of Seven Mile Hole.

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Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Early Morning Riser – West Thumb Geyser Basin

I was up and out early the other morning, ready to spend a few quiet hours roving West Thumb geyser basin on Yellowstone Lake. At just past eight o’clock, I knew I would have the place pretty much to myself.

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Boardwalk at West Thumb geyser basin on Yellowstone Lake

Monday, June 23, 2014

Random Roadside

As a summer seasonal park ranger in Yellowstone, I get asked a lot of questions, such as Where is the best place to take pictures? 

My answer?

Pretty much anywhere you look.

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Early morning  along West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake.  Red Mountains in distance.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014

Walking the Hard Road to Travel

Just up the road a piece from Grant Village, along the shores of the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, there lies a gravel bar that is perhaps a mile or so long. When folks these days learn that its name is the “Hard Road to Travel,” they often wonder if it had been constructed as a road. They inquire, Who would build a road out there in the lake? Why would anyone do that?
 
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Hard Road to Travel

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

West Thumb Geyser Basin – Then and Now

Before leaving Yellowstone last September, I walked around West Thumb geyser basin to snap some photos of the thermal features. At the time, these three adjacent thermal pools along the middle boardwalk had been full to the rim, crystal clear, and steaming. It looked like they could remain that way forever. I wanted to see whether any thermal features might change over the winter, though, and what surprises might await my return in the spring.

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Blue Funnel Spring - September 2013

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Z Fold of Ogden Canyon

My original plan was to spend a few mid–May days at Antelope Island state park in the Great Salt Lake and hike Frary Peak, the highest peak on the biggest island in the largest saltwater lake in the western hemisphere. However, cold windy weather and a waffling state of mind led me to a change of plans. This change turned out to be fortuitous, since I would have most likely been eaten alive by Antelope Island’s famous biting gnats. Also, I might have missed this jaw–dropping Z fold in Ogden Canyon.

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See the Z across the canyon!


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bizarro Rocks of the Beaver Dam Mountains

This was all Jerry’s idea. He wanted to go out to the Beaver Dam Mountains and look at the cool metamorphic rocks. There is a canyon on the other side of the mountains, he said. Why don’t we go check it out? Now, Jerry is a geologist but he is also a paleontologist, one of those peculiar people who studies dead things in mud. He claims metamorphic petrology sets his head to spinning. I only have an undergraduate degree in geology but I completed three years worth of field research in these rocks and did my senior project on them (you can read about some of that here!). He figured I could help him recognize a few things and so I said I would do my best to enlighten him. 

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Jerry becomes ONE with the metamorphic rocks
 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Peculiar Set Of Geologic Circumstances

Fossilization has been on my mind for several reasons, not the least of which is my having recently located a 270–ish million year old ammonite (read about the adventure here!).

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Permian limestones - where fossils are found