There Is More to Yellowstone NP than Hydrothermal Wonders… Scenic Beauty

Peggy and I are wrapping up our visit to Yellowstone today from our journey around the US last fall with pictures of a few of the many scenic views found in the park. All photos are taken by either Peggy or me unless otherwise noted.

Photo of Gibbon Falls taken by Curt and Peggy Mekemson.
When it comes to scenic beauty, one can find plenty in the rivers that flow through Yellowstone National Park. This photo is Gibbon Falls on the Gibbon River.
Photo Gibbon Falls of Yellowstone National Park by Curt and Peggy Mekemson.
The river drops some 84 feet and then makes its tumbling way for a quarter of a mile to the Yellowstone Caldera. A paved trail leads along the river providing great views of Gibbon Falls.
Close up photo of Gibbon Falls in Yellowstone National Park by Curt and Peggy Mekemson.
A close up. Can you hear the roar? Having cut its way back from the Yellowstone Caldera, the rock will continue to erode its base leaving the Caldera farther behind and increasing in height.
Photo of Fireball River by Curt and Peggy Mekemson.
Looking positively serene in comparison to Gibbon Falls, this is a shot of Firehole River not far from Old Faithful and the main hot springs area of Yellowstone. Appearances are deceiving, however. toward the end of the photo you can see where the river narrows. It is about to go tumbling down…
Photo of Fireball River tumbling over rocks by Curt and Peggy Mekemson.
A side road runs along the Firehol River and provides views of the river’s rapid descent. I’d say we were no more than a few hundred yards below where we took the ‘serene’ photo.
Photo of rapids in Fireball River In Yellowstone by Curt and Peggy Mekemson.
This would probably make a white water rafter or kayaker drool.
Photo of Fireball River by Curt Mekemson.
If I were in a raft and turned around to spot this monster, I might have a heart attack. Can you spot the eyes, nose and mouth? Not to worry, however. Yellowstone National Park does not allow rafting on its rivers. The monster has to eat fish. There is a small section of the river between rapids where Peggy swam when she was working at Yellowstone in 1969. She apparently avoided the monster.
Photo of backdrop to Gibbon River taken by Peggy Mekemson.
The Firehole calms down when it meets up with the Gibbon River. And check out the wall. Isn’t it magnificent? Climb to the top and you will be out of the Caldera. Some rock climbing skills may be necessary. Grin.
Photo of volcanic rocks above Fireball River in Yellowstone NP by Curt Mekemson.
This close up of volcanic rock spires above the river provides a perspective on how rugged the cliffs above the river can be.
Picture of people fishing on the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park by Curt and Peggy Mekemson.
The Gibson/Firehole river then joins the Madison for a more leisurely pace and great fishing, which is what the two people on the left are doing. We also spotted buffalo and elk near the river.
Picture O Gardner River in Yellowstone National Park by Curt and Peggy Mekemson.
We found this little beauty on our way up to Mammoth Hot Springs and its travertine terraces. It was a bonus. Known as the Gardner River, it had carved out Sheep Eaters’ Cliff that we had stopped to see.
If this looks familiar, these are the same type of basalt columns that I featured on my earlier post about Devil’s Tower National Monument. The primary difference being that the columns at Devil’s Tower formed far underground and grew to gigantic size. These were part of a lava flow along the surface and are much smaller.
Photo of Sheep Eaters cliff in Yellowstone National Park by Peggy Mekemson.
I suspect you are curious about the name. I was. The cliff is named after a band of Shoshone Indians who were known as the Tukudika, or Sheep Eaters. They apparently found big horned sheep quite tasty. I get it. I presently have a package of lamb in our refrigerator that I am planning on turning into lamb curry, one of my favorite dishes.
Photo of Cut Mekemson at Yellowstone by Peggy Mekemson.
As we continued our journey toward Mammoth Hot Springs in the northern section of Yellowstone, we came on a wildly colored meadow painted with fall colors. I liked it so much that Peggy took my photo standing in front of it.
Photo of Yellowstone National Park taken by Curt Mekemson.
This comes close to my idealized view of the Western United States with vast distances topped off by impressive mountains. The soft colors of fall, the dark tree lines and gently rolling hills all added to the beauty. Over on the right, you can also see an aspen grove.
Photo of Yellowstone NP back country by Curtis Mekemson.
Another view of the backcountry on our way to Mammoth Hot Springs that we liked.
Photo of buffalo in Yellowstone National Park by Peggy Mekemson.
We even found a buffalo that seemed to fit beautifully into the fall scene.
Photo of Yellowstone NP road by Curt Mekemson.
Ever feel like you are living on the edge? The view around the corner was spectacular.
Yellowstone photo by Peggy Mekemson.
It was the sunlight on the peak that caught our attention. But note the avalanche path along side the peak as well. It has to be one of the longest paths I have seen. And finally, there was the splash of brilliant yellow from the aspens.
Photo of Aspens in Yellowstone NP by Curt Mekemson.
Speaking of aspens, I’ll wrap up today’s post with these beauties. They will also serve to wrap up my series on the Yellowstone National Park. In our next Monday post, Peggy and I will visit two scenic towns along the Rhine River. BTW, as you read this, Peggy and I are on a riverboat traveling up the Nile River in Egypt on my 80th Birthday trip.

28 thoughts on “There Is More to Yellowstone NP than Hydrothermal Wonders… Scenic Beauty

    • Thanks, Diana on both counts. 🙂 Firehole describes what is happening along the river from all of the geothermal activity whereas Fireball is an alcoholic drink I tried once and realized I had no desire to try it again!

    • Great article, Ray. A powerful support piece for the re-introduction of wildlife that has more or less been eliminated to reduce predation on livestock, which is one more example of how messing with Mother Nature can lead to serious consequences. Thanks. –Curt

  1. Have you ever thought of publishing these pictures you’ve collected into a travel log book?
    They’re better than any others I’ve seen.

    • Thanks, G. No, but I have come to enjoy the photography as much as the writing when it comes to blogging. I always find it interesting where our photos end up. The other day I discovered some of my Burning Man photos in a French Art Magazine. 🙂 If one takes enough photos… FYI, Peggy and I managed 3,000 on our journey to Egypt over the past three weeks. LOL. –Curt

    • As if we needed any more excuses, Crystal. Grin. BTW, the Nile was great. Wow! I’m glad that you and your daughter had a chance to experience it. I was thinking about you when we visited the unfinished obelisk. I’ll do an introductory post later this week.

      • Ha ha ha!! That is really funny. I truly had no idea what I was looking for, as my guide at the time couldn’t explain what an obelisk was. Thank you for that memory. It reminds me that just a week ago I got to see the Cyclisk in Santa Rosa. An obelisk made of bicycles. I should make a blog post…

      • An Egyptian guide that couldn’t explain what an obelisk was… There is something seriously wrong with that, Crystal, like a cowboy not knowing what a horse is. 🙂 By all means, I want to see the obelisk made with bikes. Was that in Santa Rosa Ca.? Lots of Burning Man stuff around there. Ten years or so ago, there was a 70 foot high gateway made of used bikes at Burning Man…

      • To be fair, he explained, but it didn’t help. He said, “It’s like a pyramid.” 🙂 I’ll see if I can post a photo of the Cyclisk here. Yes, it’s in downtown Santa Rosa.

    • Thanks, Dave. Another example of the unending beauty of the West’s National Parks and other natural areas. I feel for people who have never had the opportunity to experience it. –Curt

    • Indeed Alison. Peggy and I were in wilderness heaven. Day after day after day.
      Speaking of being impressed. The Nile trip was incredible! I can see why you and Don enjoyed the experience so much. We were in awe. I’ll put up an introductory post later this week. –Curt

  2. I remembered those basalt columns from your previous post immediately. And, like you, I thought that latter photo — the one just below you standing amid fall colors — comes close to catching my image of ‘the mountain west.’ If I could add only one feature to our landscape, it would be waterfalls. Of course, those would required mountains, or at least some fairly high cliffs, so if I want to see those, travel will be necessary.

    As for white water: of course there’s a song!

    • Of course there is a song, Linda! BTW, the video that went with the song speaks to the insanity of white water kayakers! In a parallel universe I might envision myself doing that. But not in this one. Disappearing under the water at the Class 10 Lava Rapids on our Colorado River rafting trip met all of my white water requirements.
      The colors were magnificent. Our trip through the mountain west was perfectly timed for it.

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