Sunday, November 29, 2015
We are now in the northeast section of Yellowstone National Park, the only area of the park with a road that is open all winter. This afternoon we drove in as far as the Lamar Valley hoping to see wildlife. We saw several elk, mule deer, antelope, a coyote and at least a few hundred bison! Our favorite was this big guy which was walking right down the road towards us. A "classic" Yellowstone image!
Saturday, November 28, 2015
On Thanksgiving morning I got up early to drive out to Earthquake Lake outside of West Yellowstone, Montana and (hopefully) catch some nice clouds and colors from the sunrise. Things worked out quite nicely, as you can see! It was a cold morning with the temperature hovering right around zero degrees, but the beautiful view was worth the cold. Earthquake Lake is very unique. It was formed from an earthquake on August 17, 1959 that caused a massive landslide which blocked the flow of the Madison River and created the lake. The earthquake measured 7.3 - 7.5 on the Richter scale.
Fearing that the pressure from the rising water would cause a flood, the Army Corps of Engineers cut a 250 foot wide and 14 foot deep channel into the slide. By September 10th water was flowing through the slide. To prevent more erosion another channel was cut, this one 50 feet wide and was completed on October 29th. It is definitely one of the most unique features in the West Yellowstone area.
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
The other day after watching the moon rise over the Madison Range, we continued driving south back towards Highway 20 and West Yellowstone. It had been a very gray afternoon with relatively thick cloud cover. As sunset approached, however, there must have been a break in the clouds to the west. We driving along when Jessica said "Ooooh, the sky is lighting up!" Just moments later the sky was on fire with the reflected light from the sun setting behind the mountains. We looked for the next available spot to pull over and enjoyed this amazing sunset from the side of the highway. The mountains shown include Sawtell Peak, Mt. Jefferson and Nemesis Mountain. The Continental Divide is in between Sawtell Peak in Idaho and Nemesis Mountain in Montana.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Jessica and I are in West Yellowstone for the Yellowstone Ski Festival and some sightseeing. This afternoon after our morning ski we went for a drive around the Madison Range. As we were driving south along the western side of the range we saw a beautiful moon rising over the mountains just before sunset.
Friday, November 20, 2015
High Falls of the Pigeon River sure looks a lot different than it did a week ago! In the past week we've received about 4 inches of rain which in turn has raised the Pigeon River water level about 5 feet. The USGS maintains a monitoring station a couple of miles upstream from High Falls and according to that station the gauge height on the river went from 3 feet to 8 feet! Yesterday morning I hiked up to the falls to see how it looked after the rain. I was treated to an awesome view of the falls with high water levels, dark clouds overhead and just enough sunlight poking through the clouds behind me to produce a nice rainbow!
Below: Here is a graph from the USGS monitoring station that shows the change in the water level.