Friday, January 15, 2010
Snowcoach adventures! At sunrise we met our guide and snowcoach driver, Tamarak (her name fits her personality, as she is down to earth, natural and very knowledgeable about all aspects of Yellowstone). We piled into Tamarak’s snowcoach, a van with tank-like tracks which make it easy for the van to drive over snow. We were cramped in the modified van, but ready and full of curiosity.
Our first stop was at Obsidian Cliffs. Obsidian is a type of rock created when lava cools very quickly. It is black and glassy. Native Americans used it to make arrowheads and spear tips.
If only you could have smelled the steam coming from Frying Pan Spring. There’s sulfur in the water — talk about a rotten egg smell! We observed a lot of wildlife in the morning: Elk, bison, Coyotes, Ravens and majestic Trumpeter Swans.
We had lunch at Canyon Village and then visited the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone from four different overlooks. We were most impressed by the colors in the canyon. The canyon walls were pink, orange, red and yellow and sprinkled with black streaks, which are caused by the thermal alteration of the rocks and subsequent weathering. The blue and aquamarine colors in an ice mound in front of the lower falls contrasted with the white of the snow.
After the Canyon, we upgraded from the cramped snowvan to a luxurious snow-bus due to a minor difficulty involving one of the van's snow tracks. The ride for the rest of the day was much more comfortable!
We are happy and ready to see Old Faithful tomorrow.
Q & A for January 15