Monday, August 18, 2008

Mark's Favorite Out-West Memories IV

Finally, how can you not love Yellowstone, the grandmother of all National Parks. Especially after having driven north through Nevada and Utah, we were so grateful to see greens and blues again. We decided that we are a green-loving family. Besides the beauty, it is fun to see signs of the geothermal activity going on under our feet. The kids loved the color and sputter of the hot springs. So did Cathy and I.

Pretty nice, eh...
And finally, catching DeSmett SD was really a great high point of the trip. It's the place where Laura Ingalls Wilder spent many years and many of the buildings from her family story have survived. Other representative buildings have been hauled in or built, and there are many fun farm critters and knowledgeable people around to help you live the experience. The kids have gotten hooked on the Little House on the Prairie books--the boys in particular--since visiting it. Nate insists that Cathy reads a chapter each night before lights-out. And I've enjoyed bringing up stories my parents and grandparents told me about life on the frontier of North Dakota in the horse and buggy days. It's fun to compare notes with Laura's memory.


our little brown life said...

Hi guys! Just wanted to post really quick to let you know that I've been checking- though I haven't had the time to read ALL of Mark's memories (chuckle), I've read quite a few and really appreciate the pictures. Mark, it's great to hear from you. Now if only Luis would catch on...
Love ya'll,

teresa anthony said...

So how hot IS the water around the hot springs and geysers in Yellowstone?

When mom was here reading your posts while you were still on your trip, we saw the pictures of your family on the boardwalks above the hot springs. Mom was a little freaked out, and I thought she was maybe over-worrying (doesn't run in the McDonnell tradition, does it Cath? :)

I did do a little google check though, and it sounds like the geothermal activity around Yellowstone IS really hot. So maybe she was right to worry a tad bit.

But what did the literature or park rangers have to say about it? How hot is the water?

Geographically minded enquiring minds want to know!

The Schultz Family said...

Well, the boardwalks are set far enough from the bubbly hot areas, so it seemed safe. And there's lots of signs warning people to STAY ON THE WALKWAYS! Accompanied by little illustrations of people and dogs getting hit by scalding water. It seems to work. Still, if I had had a toddler, I would have held on to him VERY tightly.

One thing, though, is that very occasionally a new hot geysor erupts unexpectedly in a new place in the park. Hopefully it won't ever happen right under a "safe" walkway with unsuspecting people on it. (I mentioned that possibility while we were there, and Mark, as always, marveled at the macabre scenarios my mind conjures up.)


The Schultz Family said...


I too, just had to know the answer to your wonderful question. Just how hot is a hot spring? False advertising? Or the real deal? I decided that risking the skin at the tip of one finger would be a worthy sacrifice for science. So...that picture of Brennan and me..kneeling on the boardwalk. Yes, we are illegally dipping our fingertips in the water. (We were careful not to touch the gorgeous algae growing on the sediment at the bottom.) It was about the temperature of tea when you don't have to blow on it anymore, but it still is "hot". Now, it had been slowly flowing (and cooling) over a flat expanse of earth in a sheet less than an inch deep and over fifty yards wide since it first left the bubbling, smoking center of the hot spring. So, I dare say it would be a mite toastier in the bubbly part.