We all emerged from our little yellow cabins to eat breakfast together and head out to hike Pelican Creek Nature Trail on Yellowstone Lake. Our daily physical/weather team today took a temperature reading of 38 degrees! We were bundled up and ready to keep exploring. Some of us journaled, some sketched the scene out in front of us, and others enjoyed the view while letting their minds wander.
Excerpt from Talicia’s Journal Entry:
“I’m losing track of the time. All the days are packed with new adventures, new discoveries, and new knowledge. I sit at the edge of Yellowstone Lake observing the view. The mountain caps are covered with snow. Pelicans perch on the island not far from view. Are they taking it all in too? I close my eyes and feel the breeze blowing gently across my face. I listen to the water swoosh, swoosh, swoosh- waves bouncing back and forth in a rhythmic dance. I’m without words to adequately describe its beauty, so I take it all in. The cool sand beneath me, sediments of earth’s history- shades of mocha, cocoa, and cream, a beautiful mix around me…”
Next, we headed to meet National Park Service fisheries biologist Pat Bigelow at the marina. She told us more about the NPS’s conservation efforts to reduce the Lake Trout population that unfortunately made its way to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem after being introduced here by humans. These fish outcompete the native Yellowstone cutthroat trout and disrupt the delicate food web, causing a variety of negative effects to many other species. Forty-two species of Yellowstone predators (including grizzly bears and white pelicans) prey on cutthroat trout because of the shallower waters they inhabit. Lake trout, which typically stay in deeper waters, escape this predation thereby further exacerbating the pressures on cutthroat trout.
A few more stops along the way to our next destination included lunch at Angler’s Bluff, the Continental Divide at Isa Lake, and Kepler Cascades.
After cold and wet conditions all morning, it was delightful to make our way through amazing geothermal features of the park in the Upper Geyser Basin. We stopped at Black Sand Pool, otherwise known as Thumper. The sun above us and the earth beneath us warmed both our bodies and spirits as we laid on the ground and felt the “thumps” or vibrations of the pressurized water and steam escaping from below.
We also saw a number of geyser eruptions including Daisy, Beehive, and OId Faithful. Did you know that Yellowstone National Park is home to more than half of all the world’s geysers? It is no wonder that people travel far and wide to see these unique and powerful displays of nature!
After a quick dinner, we headed to Grand Prismatic Overlook for an evening hike. The thermophiles (heat loving microorganisms) living in the pool give this water the beautiful rainbow-like colors for which is it famous.
It was the perfect place to have our end of day group meeting where we discussed highlights of the day and personal obstacles and triumphs we have experienced so far on this trip. We are heading to bed at the Old Faithful Inn, ready for another great day tomorrow.