Friday, August 2, 2013

Yellowstone Vacation – Hot Springs, Geysers and Smelly Sulfur

One of the neat things about Yellowstone is that you can go from viewing wildlife to seeing incredible natural sights in a matter of moments.

We started Day 4 of our vacation watching elk graze on the lawn in front of the lodge while we ate breakfast. And then afterward went outside to take a closer look at them.

After that, we walked over to view the amazing travertine formations formed from the flow of the hot springs near our hotel.

I am always a bit relieved, and surprised, when Kai does not protest walking around and looking at the sights. On this early morning, he eagerly climbed the boardwalk to see all the sights along the lower terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs.

After we packed up the car, we drove up to see the awesome sights at the upper terraces.

Next we drove to the Norris Geyser Basin.

There are many colorful pools of hot springs and geysers at Norris.

It was all beautiful.

But as we started to walk the boardwalk, Kai started to get upset.

“I’m sick!”

“I’m getting a stomach ache!”

With Kai, it’s sometimes hard to tell if he is really physically sick or if he is saying that because he is upset about something. In this case, I was pretty sure he didn’t have a stomach ache.

“Mom, call a doctor!’

We asked if the sulfur smell was bothering him.


His comments drew snickers from other tourists. My wife and I were not amused.

He confirmed to us later that he did not like the odor. The smell from the sulfur did not seem so intolerably bad to us. Why was it for him? Is he really just that much more sensitive to it than us? Does he just need to grow up and learn to tolerate things better?

We got Kai to complete the walk around the boardwalk, but abandoned a plan to do the boardwalk in the adjacent area. I decided to take a slight detour and drive to a lodge where we could have lunch and take a break.

At lunch, his stomachache magically disappeared. My wife and I recovered as well.

In the afternoon we drove over to Artists’ Paintpots, where we had to hike up to see some sights.

Surprisingly, Kai did not complain at all.

And he especially enjoyed seeing the bubbling mud pots that made a funny sound.

Our next stop was the Midway Geyser Basin. We had prepared Kai that it might smell, and that he could cover his nose with his fingers. Kai did not put up a fuss about seeing it, and we were relieved that the smell was not unpleasant.

We saw the beautiful Excelsior Geyser.

And the spectacular Grand Prismatic Spring.

Kai enjoyed seeing all of it, which made it much more enjoyable for the rest of us, too.

Our last stop of the day was the famous Old Faithful geyser.

When we arrived, we found out that it was due to erupt at any moment. We rushed over but found out that we had just missed it. It would be an hour and a half before the next eruption.

Kai was disappointed at missing the eruption, but was somewhat soothed when I explained that we would see the next one.

We had time to look around and see other things, but Kai did not want to take a chance that we would miss Old Faithful go off again.

He kept asking me what time it was, and pestering me to go over to the geyser. Finally, with nearly an hour to go, we decided to go grab a seat and wait it out.

Kai used his iPad while we waited, though when we were within 10 minutes of the eruption, he put that down.

His patience for waiting was rewarded with a nice show. We saw Old Faithful do her thing. I took a video during the eruption, but this is a photo afterward.

It was a day of ups and downs, but we had seen some of the most famous things Yellowstone has to offer.

Next: Yellowstone Vacation – Chuckwagon Delight


  1. Fab photos! So glad you are having a lovely time - with the usual difficulties thrown in of course. But sometimes our children can amaze us with what they will do, don't they?! I totally get his sickness at the smell, can imagine my girl would be just like that. Wish we could visit that amazing place - just done a 90 minute plane journey this summer, not sure how old she'll have to be before she'd make it all the way over there stuck on a plane :) I can live in hope I guess!

    1. Thanks, Steph. There are a lot of challenges that come with travel, but we're trying to pick our spots with Kai in mind. We may be pushing it a little bit, but overall he's doing okay. I hope you feel you can do a trip like this one day, too.

  2. Great vacation so far. More nice photos...and more funny events :)

    "Take me to the hospital right now!" will long remember that one :)

    1. Shiroi, those memories get funnier as time goes on. :)


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