While our primary reason to go to Yellowstone National Park was for photographing wildlife, you can't visit Yellowstone without checking out what made it famous to begin with.
Yellowstone has around 10,000 various geothermal features within its boundaries: geysers, mudpots, fumaroles (steam vents), and hot springs.
10,000!!! Wrap your mind around that number!
I can only imagine how the first native Americans viewed this area...as sacred, mysterious, and even quite scary!
We spent one afternoon in our snowcoaches seeing and photographing several of these geothermal features....
It was very cold outside, with air temperatures in the teens, so the steam was a big part of the landscape in those areas.
I love how the steam created the frostiness on the trees...
Many of the most-visited geothermal areas are inaccessible during the winter. You can see how deep the snow is...that is a bench on the side and Kim is walking on a boardwalk with a couple of feet of snowpack on top.
It was not my favorite part of the trip, but pretty amazing geologically.
John, one of our guides, makes his home just a few miles from Yellowstone and is an expert on all the science of the geothermal phenomena. Not my thing at all, so I just concentrated on the photographic aspect of the hot springs mixing with the frigid environment.
We are talking HOT! John had horror stories from recent years of people who didn't heed the warnings to stay on the boardwalks, the most recent of which was a young college grad with his sister who decided to test the heat and fell into one of the hot springs. His sister caught the whole horrific incident in a phone video...by the time help arrived, his body was gone and they were only able to retrieve his hat, backpack, and clothing. The water literally melted him right before her eyes!
We were very careful to stay on the boardwalk, treacherous enough with its icy areas!
Some incredible colors!
One of the snowy boardwalks....
In the mudpots area we visited, John issued a photographic challenge to capture a bubble as it is bursting.
Harder than you might think...especially with the steam often in the way...
My favorite color in all the world, right here!
Another amazing facet of God's marvelous creation, a stunning mixture of...
...hot and icy.