Artist’s Paint Pots ~ Yellowstone National Park, USA (Part 2)

Sunburst over limestone coated hills and a geothermic smoking mountain.

Morning sunshine over Roaring Mountain, Yellowstone National Park.

How many parks can claim UNESCO World Heritage status?

Yellowstone National Park, the world’s oldest “National Park”, established in 1872 by an act of American congress, has been a designated World Heritage site since 1978. Home to more geothermic activity than anywhere else on earth, Yellowstone is also one of the last, nearly intact, temperate-zone ecosystems, providing a refuge and natural home for many plants and animals that no longer thrive elsewhere.

UNESCO also recognises Yellowstone for its “extraordinary scenic treasures”; an assessment I’d have to agree with. While we loved seeing Old Faithful and some of the other iconic Yellowstone National Park activity, it was equally impressive to see just how much else the park has to offer.

Horses, horse wagons and farm utility vehicles at the side of the road: Yellowstone Plateau

The horses wait for their morning riders: Yellowstone Plateau.

I had vague childhood memories of the Paint Pots at Kootenay National Park in British Colombia, and so was curious to see Yellowstone’s Artist’s Paint Pots. This is one of the less-visited attractions in the park, but we enjoyed the short walk (1.8 km) along the trail and boardwalk that takes you around pretty geothermic hot springs, mudpots, fumarole, and a small geyser.

Small lake, Artists Paintpots, Yellowstone NP

Small lake, Artist’s Paint Pots, Yellowstone National Park

A bubbling hot spring, Artist

A bubbling hot spring ~ one of the many fascinating, but nameless, features at the Artist’s Paint Pots.

Landscape: White limestone ground, red and black dead pine, green pines, blue and green waters; Artist

Subtle colours and beauty ~ Artist’s Paint Pots Yellowstone

Geothermic steam rising behind a wooden walkway: Artist

Steam rises everywhere from hot springs and from cracks and fissures in the earth.

Small seed pods in front of geothermal steam. Artist

It amazes me how many plants survive and thrive at the edges of the geothermal pools.

Bubbling Hot Spring, Artist

Some of the small springs bubbled with amazing enthusiasm!

Blue Spring, Green Grass Artist

Impossibly clear springs contrast with red and white soils and green grasses.

Lodgepole Pine and hotspring steam: Artist

New-growth lodgepole pines grow next to the steaming hot pools.

Dead tree wood, Artist

Nature’s Still Life: This area suffered major forest fire in 1988, and the evidence is still around.

Red mud pots, Artist

Some of the “paint pots” are brightly coloured by cyanidia, a unicellular red algae.

Lanscape: milky blue paintpots and red algae. Artist

The milky-blue colour in some of the features comes from silica, suspended in the water.

Young adults on the boardwalk, Artist

Visitors try to capture the white-on-white.

Boiling white mud: Artist

The boiling white mud in the Paint Pots is a clay mineral called kaolinite.

Bubbles of boiling white clay: Artist

There is a constant “plopping” noise as the clay in the mud pots builds up heat and bubbles over.

Creamy blue-white hot-spring pond. Artist

Another silica milky-blue pond.

Fringed Gentians, Yellowstone National Park

Beside the trail back to the car park, autumn Fringed Gentians (Gentionopsis crinito) signal the onset of cooler weather.

Text: Happy RamblingIt was a delightful stop, and a good introduction to some of the natural beauty the park has to offer.

Until next time ~ Happy Rambling!

Pictures: 13August2012