Yellowstone Trip: Day 5: Big Sky to Yellowstone

On day 5 of our Yellowstone Trip, Jared and I left behind Big Sky, MT, and headed to Yellowstone National Park for the second half of our sightseeing.

Before we left, though, we took one final hike in Big Sky, to Ousel Falls. The trail was a really nice community project that was well-maintained and fun to walk, and the falls were wonderful:
Our Last Big Sky TrailOusel Falls in Big Sky, MT

After filling up the car we set off to Yellowstone, where we started our tour at the Lower Geyser Basin. The volcanic scenery in the caldera is absolutely surreal. Everything looks just like your imagination would paint a primordial planet with bubbling cauldrons, sulfurous steam hissing up out of every crack and cavern… one thing that came to mind immediately when we took our first walk out on the boardwalks that the Park Service has put in place is that the designers of the Channel Age in Myst have most definitely been to Yellowstone. It was cool, in a really nerdy way: it was like walking through Myst, with the howling winds coming from holes in the ground, the brilliant red and orange colors in an otherwise dead landscape, everything.
Brilliantly Colored WaterThermophile MatsHowling FumerolesThis Geyser Pumps 500 Gallons Per Minute into the Firehole RiverFirehole LakeSteady Geyser: This guy is continuously erupting

We took a break for lunch at a pizza place in West Yellowstone, MT, called Murphy’s, which had really excellent pizza. Later in the afternoon we traveled deeper into Yellowstone to the Canyon Village area, where we drove and hiked around the “Grand Canyon of Yellowstone”. Awesome views there, too, of the Upper and Lower Falls on the Yellowstone River.
The Upper Falls of the Yellowstone RiverThe Lower Falls of the Yellowstone RiverJared Taking In Artists PointStunning View of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone from Artists PointJared and Colin at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

Then as we were just driving back out of the park, Jared yelled “Buffalo!” right in the middle of his sentence as we came around a corner and within a few hundred feet of a buffalo enjoying his evening meal:

Later on, since everyone else had stopped and blockaded the roadway anyway, we snapped a few photos of a group of elk cows having their own meal:
Elk Cows

Finally, just to comlete the theme of evening meals, Jared and I stopped at a local counterpart of a Dairy Queen (across the street from an actual Dairy Queen, in fact) to pick up malts and some chili for supper. Add a few Grolsch from the supermarket and you have a great 10pm dinner!