Yellowstone Lake and West Thumb at Sunset

It took us five trips to Yellowstone to finally make it to West Thumb Geyser Basin.  We weren’t purposely neglecting it.  It’s just that Yellowstone is such an enormous park, with thousands of hydrothermal features spread about in so many geyser basins, you can’t do it all and somehow we missed this one.  Or maybe we saved the best for last.

After a lovely birthday dinner at the Lake Hotel, we stopped by West Thumb Geyser Basin on our way back to Grant Village,  just in time for sunset.  It was perfect.

Yellowstone Lake, at 7,733 feet above sea level and covering 136 square miles, is the largest high elevation freshwater lake in North America.  It sits in the southeast portion of the Yellowstone Caldera, an ancient crater created by the eruption of a supervolcano  640,000 years ago.

West Thumb Geyser Basin is located on the shores of Yellowstone Lake, a crater within a crater, and holds lakeshore geysers, hot springs and bubbling paint pots, heated by magma chambers less than 2 miles under the earth’s surface.  It’s smaller and more concentrated than the other basins but the setting may be more beautiful.  It was also the first feature in Yellowstone described in print, when a trapper wrote a letter to his brother about the area and it was published in 1827.

We walked the boardwalk to the lake, stopping to admire the hot springs along the way.

There was Bluebell Pool

and Black Pool,

and Abyss Pool, one of the deepest in the park at 53 feet.

Geysers were bubbling at the shore, out of cones submerged under water part of the year.

O the Joy as the sunset lit up the Basin!

The perfect end to a happy birthday at Yellowstone National Park.

~ Susanne

Buffalo, Hot Springs, and Geysers O My!

We just returned from Yellowstone National Park where we spent five days (our longest stint yet) on our fifth trip to the Park.  How shall I convey to you the magnificence of that place?

Shall I start with its history?  And tell you it became the world’s first National Park in 1872, when the U.S. Congress set aside 2.2 million acres of forest, grassland and water to be preserved “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people” where “timber, mineral deposits, natural curiosities, or wonders” would be kept “in their natural condition.”

Or I could show you the buffalo, North America’s largest land mammal, roaming freely in Yellowstone’s valleys, as they have since prehistoric times;

sometimes up close and personal.

But why stop there when I can impress you with the deepest and bluest hot springs, bubbling up from the depths of the earth, superheated by the magma chambers miles below.

And the geysers! – no doubt you’ve heard of them – the largest concentration in the world are in Yellowstone – geysers that erupt when pressure builds and the earth’s plumbing can no longer contain the heated water, like Riverside Geyser below.

Yes.  I will share all of that with you and more –  but not now – for I need time to unpack the memories and sift through the (hundreds of) photos to show you the beauty that is Yellowstone National Park.

I’ll break it down in coming posts the way the Park does by region, and share the magic of Yellowstone Lake and West Thumb Geyser Basin,  Old Faithful and the Upper Geyser Basin,  Hayden Valley, Mammoth Hot Springs, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and much, much more!

So put on your walking shoes and come along for the Tour as I guide you through Yellowstone National Park!

~  Susanne

Holding Down the Fort

September is the best time to travel so why not hit the road? That’s what we said and set our sights and our wheels toward our favorite national park, Yellowstone. I’ll have lots of stories and pictures to share later, but in the meantime I asked the boys to hold down the fort.

They obliged.


A story – Wisdom from Cats in the Garden

I did a Guest Post on Katzenworld yesterday. Some of you may have already seen it but here it is in case you missed it. 🙂

Happy Wednesday!


Cloudy with a Chance of Rain

The smoky skies made for some interesting sunrises,


and moonrises too.

But after a long, dry, summer in the Pacific Northwest, it’s good to be back to normal:

Cloudy with a chance of rain.

Remind me in November.

– Susanne

Reflections on Fall

It starts with September my favorite month.

I close my eyes and see the school, as sturdy as the last century.

It’s 4th grade again and Miss Warner is young.  Her face and hair and dress all a golden tan; her hair short and tightly coiled. The heels she wears are black like the piano she plays – upright – the music that encouraged me forever. I hope she knows this.

I breathe in deeply and smell the leaves, green and anxious to change their color.  But September moves slowly, able to hold two seasons at arm’s length – giving summer her fling of sunshine and long afternoons – letting fall have the mornings, cool and fragrant.

September finally relents and October marches in boldly in yellow and orange, red and gold.

The leaves adorn the trails we walk, and give fish their burial color.

Till November brings the first snow, a tease of winter to come.

A reminder that fall too shall pass.

This post was inspired by the prompt – Sepia Fall Memories – from Gin and Lemonade

~ Susanne

Sunset at Coulon

We decided to go for a walk at Coulon Park last night just as the sun was beginning to set.   The crowds from Labor Day weekend were mostly gone – the picnickers and swimmers soaking up the last of summer –  leaving the park quiet except for a few fishermen, boaters, walkers, and romantics there to watch the sunset.  Perhaps we fit the last two categories.

Enjoying the waning days of summer.

~ Susanne

Let’s Support One Another 💙

Phoebe MD hosted a meet and greet yesterday! What a great opportunity to explore new blogs including hers, which is packed full of great health info and poetry too!

Phoebe, MD: Poetry & Medicine

Thank you all for a great Labor Day Meet-and-Greet! Just to recap and to give the later participants a chance to get some love as well, here is a summary of all the blogs in reverse order. Please help me in supporting these wonderful bloggers by visiting and taking a moment to look around (and following if you feel so inclined)!



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For the Birds

I turned on the stream for the birds to drink and drenched the trees with water for them to shower.  All the regulars were there and grateful.  The chickadees and nuthatches flitted about through the wet foliage, calling to one another and ruffling their feathers, while the hummingbirds hovered, waiting to get their share.

Down below some new visitors especially enjoyed the stream.

Smaller than a chickadee, these tiny songbirds are golden crowned kinglets, and I was happy to have them drop by.

~  Susanne

Cats are not Dogs

This is obvious of course but I was thinking particularly about travel. On our recent trip to the Oregon Coast we saw many happy dogs with their owners, around town and especially walking, running and cavorting about on the beach.   I saw no cats doing the same.  Apparently they were all left behind as were mine.

Tiger the gentle giant.

Benji the spunky upstart.

Aren’t they cute?  Yes they are but they like to be cute at home, in their own territory, not in a moving vehicle, or a box,  and especially not on a leash.  Tiger and Benji not only prefer home, but they prefer home with the in and out privileges to which they are accustomed. And so it was, that earlier in the week, this exchange occurred (in word or in deed), shortly before our planned departure.

Benji:  “Please, please let me go out, if not I shall run around like a crazy cat and terrorize Tiger.”

Tiger:  “Please, please, let me go out, if not I shall be tormented by the crazy youngster.”

Me:  “You boys will be fine inside. We’re leaving plenty of food. Canned for starters and all the dry you can eat. Fresh water, at multiple locations. You’ll have the run of the place. You may even jump on the counters while we’re gone (though I don’t recommend it) but who would know? You can sleep all hours of the day wherever you choose. Make all the noise you want. You’ll have great fun, I promise. And it’s only three days. So sorry, I can’t let you out this morning.”

Benji:  “Please, please, Sue, I can’t control myself! You must let me out!”

Me:  “Settle down you wild thing. Tiger’s looking scared.”

We continue our packing as Tiger disappears to a safe place and Benji  finally gives up, resigned to his fate.  Smart boy, that Benji. I pet him one last time, brush his soft, soft fur, and tell him we won’t be gone long.

We go.

We return.

And yes, I miss them.

~ Susanne

Postcards from Seaside

There’s nothing better than waking up at the ocean, walking through grassy sand dunes, and watching the waves roll in.

It does wonders for the soul.

– Susanne

Happy Two Years with Benji

“Hey Benji!  Do you know what today is?”

“No, what??”  he asked.

“Two years ago we brought you home from Seattle Humane to live with us – and I’m so glad we did!  You’re the best cat ever!”

“Aw, really Sue? I bet you say that to all your cats.”

“No really Benji. I mean it.  You’re something special.  Whatever you do,

you do it with such style and enthusiasm, you give cats everywhere a good name.”

“Isn’t that right Tiger?”

“Oh never mind.  Happy Two years Benji!”

“Thanks Sue.”

~ Susanne and Benji and Tiger

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