Day 4: Yellowstone National Park

Trip Start Jun 15, 2011
Trip End Jun 21, 2011

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What I did
Visited various sites in Yellowstone National Park

Flag of United States  , Wyoming
Friday, June 17, 2011

Today was sort of an easy day with some down time and guided touring.  We woke up and had breakfast in the Obsidian Dining Room at the Snow Lodge (it was fine, although I really missed the Wort Hotel's oatmeal), and met our group for a walking tour of the Old Faithful area.  Disney provided a guide for us, Rose, who was a former middle school teacher. 

We started at Old Faithful, and saw the geyser, and Rose walked us around the perimeter of the area pointing out the various thermal features of Yellowstone.  (For the record there are geysers, fumeroles, hot springs and mud pots.)  Without going into a lot of details, we learned how to tell whether or not a hot spring was really hot, or not so hot, based on the colors.  There's also a lot of interesting things going on within the thermal feature itself such as the silica and bacteria.  Anyways, I learned quite a bit and found it interesting.

After our tour we had a short break and a 'picnic' lunch in the lodge area.  It wasn't much of a picnic because of the cool weather, but we had plenty of seating in the atrium and lobby area.  Then we had another break to shop and had to meet back in the lobby area for a tour of the Fountain Paint Pots and hopefully another thermal area if the bus could get in.

We boarded our bus for the Fountain Paint Pots, which are mud pots.  A mud pot is basically a thick soupy mud which is hot.  To me it looked like soup.  Anyways, it was pretty interesting to walk around this area.  Upon the circuit in the mud pot area we headed to the largest hot spring in Yellowstone, Grand Prismatic Spring--providing we could get the motor coach parked.  Fortunately we had cooperation from another coach driver, and our bus sneaked into a parking spot.  (Apparently this was a miracle, because this area was just packed full of cars.)

The Grand Prismatic Spring is a huge area, and I didn't take any pictures because the only thing that would come out would be the steam rising from the thermal features of the area.  Rose walked us around here too, and explained what we were seeing.  Again, I thought it was very interesting and educational. 

Upon completion of the tours we headed back to the lodge for our optional group ScavINNger Hunt.  I won't spoil it and tell what we did, but our team won, and I remembered how to read a compass, and we all had some fun.

Dinner this night was on our own, and most of us were heading to the Old Faithful Inn, which is the one which inspired features of Wilderness Lodge at Disney.  The food was fine, and we were out of there in about an hour.  Then back to the room for some emails and bed at 10pm.  Tomorrow morning we're on our way to Brooks Lake Lodge which is higher in the mountains, and luggage has to be ready at 7:15am.   
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