Yellowstone Lake & West Thumb
Aug 29, 2013Public
Photo: The timestamp on this photo is 5:40am; we left Cody early.
 Here's an overview of our Yellowstone trip on a message board:  
http://forums.yellowstone.net/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=16904
Photo: The kids are still sleeping as we took this iconic photo op.
Photo: As we got here so early, the East Entrance wasn't staffed yet. We didn't have to pay the entrance fee.
Photo: We drove along the Shoshone River from Cody
Photo: Yellowstone Lake
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Photo: I see snow
Photo: Some parts of Yellowstone are still recovering from the 1988 forest fires, which burned through 30% of the park. The park recovered quickly, as the ashes brought nutrients and the decreased leaf canopy allowed new trees to grow.
Photo: Most of the fires were caused by lightning. A big catalyst was the park service putting out earlier forest fires *too* soon. Because of this, more dead and dry trees accumulated, where they would've normally been disposed by natural fires. With an unusually dry 1988, it was a tinderbox looking for a spark.
Photo: At 132 square miles, Yellowstone Lake is the largest lake at high elevation
Photo: Lake Tahoe is bigger (191 vs 132 sq miles), but Yellowstone Lake's elevation is 1500 feet higher
Photo: Steamboat Point, our first glimpse of the caldera effects
Photo: It was very chilly in the morning. Kids were still sleeping.
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Photo: It's almost sunrise
Photo: The Absarokas
Photo: I was surprised how non-chalantly the geothermals appeared. No signs, no parking lots, they were just there.
Photo: Lodgepole pine trees
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Photo: Fishing Bridge, but you can't fish on it anymore. The river at this point is a major spawning ground for Cutthroat Trout, and they were being depleted too quickly by fishing here.
Photo: There's the sunrise, told you we got up early.
Photo: Fumaroles or steam vents, are the hottest hydrothermal features in the park. They have so little water that it all flashes into steam before reaching the surface
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Photo: After this, we drove pretty much directly to Old Faithful