One Word Photo Challenge: Emerald

Emerald Pool

While the color here is lacking some green this pool usually reflects it name in a beautiful emerald hue.

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Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming



Travel Theme: Unespected

I lived and traveled throughout the eastern and southern US until my mid-40s. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Appalachian Mountains. The mountains in this range are generally about 4000 feet above sea level and the highest is Mount Mitchell in North Carolina at over 6600 feet. The Appalachians are the oldest mountain range in the world and such have experienced much erosion. They’re rounded, covered in green and often look like rolling hills.

In 2005 I finally took my first road trip west. The mountains dwarfed anything I’d seen in the Appalachians. The Yellowstone Ecosystem in general proved quite unexpected. I expected geysers and hot springs but soon realized there was so much more. As we traveled south down the John D Rockefeller Jr Memorial Parkway my eyes and soul experienced a most unexpected spiritual awakening. We were already 8000 feet above sea level when we saw those towers of granite jetting into the sky for another 5000+ feet.

I haven’t been the same since. I even changed my geographic focus from human to physical, teaching geomorphology instead of culture and sacred landscapes. I’d seen photos of Yellowstone and the Teton’s but nothing compares to seeing such places with your own eyes. You can’t grasp the majestic nature of the American West, or any geographic region, until you visit yourself. No photo can adequately convey the treasures of this earth.

And while I did return, I still long to see them yet again.


Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

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Travel Theme: Round

The elusive round benchmark

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When I taught geography I taught a class called “map reading”. As part of mapping, locations, of finding our way around this earth the US Coast & Geodetic Survey has left markers around the US marking elevation (used in topographical maps)

I had never seen one until years after I quit teaching. I found this little prize on a trail over looking Firestone Cascades at Yellowstone National Park.


What does this benchmark mean?

US Coast & Geodetic Survey Bench Mark: Geodetic is the practice of measuring the earth’s surface. The bench mark (geodetic survey mark) is used for measuring, surveying and triangulation. This marker is used to mark elevation.

7103.473: elevation

Y9: designation (the benchmark name)

1923: year monumented

Today benchmark hunting has become a popular activity similar to geocaching. Benchmark hunters will often refer to a NGS Dataset for information on the markers.



My entry for the Travel Theme  round challenge

Travel Theme: Tempting


I love the water. I love swimming, body surfing, kayaking and just floating. When I see water I just want to jump in. The bluer the water the more tempting.

This is Yellowstone lake. I look at it and thirst just thinking of that lovely blue water enveloping me. But wait…enter at your own risk. A few minutes in this lovely lady could easily lead to hypothermia. The average temperature is in the low 40s.

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Blue Pool in the Norris Basin drew me right to it. That clear blue, still water called my name. It said “Ana, jump right in. I’m warm and refreshing.” But wait…enter at your own risk. Thermal pools often reach 200 degrees. Jump in and you’ll boil in minutes.

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Photos taken at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Threes

Lewis Falls, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming: Overview of the area

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Lewis Falls & my daughter: relationship to area gives some perspective on size

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Lewis Falls & fisherman: this shows more detail of the falls as well as the presence of the fisherman who wasn’t visible in the above photos. This gives an even greater perspective on size. He was in the other photos just not visible.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Family

FAMILY of Buffalo


Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Preoccupied

So PREOCCUPIED, this buffalo doesn’t notice the walkers, drivers or cyclists.

Sunday Stills, the next challenge: Bridges


Weekly Photo Challenge: Community

Community of Elk

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A Word A Week Photograph Challenge: High

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Tower Falls, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

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A Word A Week Challenge: Behind

Traffic Jam at Yellowstone National Park

On my first trip west we encountered a lot of construction in several of the national parks. We actually arrived the night before this photo was taken but the gate attendant warned us we may not get a camping spot and we should travel back 50 miles to Cody. You see from the east entrance the closest campground was 50 miles away and he was concerned we wouldn’t make it in time before it filled and would then have to travel 100 miles back to Cody. We did take his advice and found a quaint cabin only 30 miles away.

As a geographer, and teacher on the national parks, I knew Yellowstone was big but it didn’t quite hit me how big until I learned how far the closest campground was. It was an amazing adventure and an amazing park with such wonderful variation in geography, geology, history and culture.

So for this week’s topic BEHIND I chose this photo of my family traveling for nearly an hour behind all these vehicles at a snails pace.

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