Word of the Day: Geothermal Features

Want to know the quickest way to sound smart and like a total Yellowstone local? Use the term geothermal in a sentence when referring to natural occurrences such as Old Faithful, hot springs, or other various unearthly things such as mud pots and other geysers.  Little fact, because we are full of knowledge about these smelly, weird, and slightly creepy features, Yellowstone has over 10,000 thermal features! These pictures are from the Mammoth Hot Springs which are located at the north end of the park. 

The National park service states, “Geyserland, fairyland, wonderland–through the years, all have been used to describe the natural wonder and magic of this unique park that contains more geothermal features than any other place on earth.” Fairyland? Wonderland? Not sure those are accurate descriptions of these guys, as I spent the day with my nose covered and laughing because I couldn’t believe how BAD it smelled. I continued to tell Ryan this is one big fart being released by the Earth. Everywhere you look, Earth farts were occurring – and more than one at time, so you can imagine something as big as the Earth releasing this “excess air” and how bad it would smell. Sulfur mixed with rottenness equals smel-ly! 

We weren’t sure what to think of these things. They were cool, but, not that pretty, yet we kept taking pictures of them. They were mysterious and intriguing because it’s as if we were seeing the crust of the Earth. I guess we were just fascinated by them as neither of had every seen anything like it before. This was copied from the National Park Services website regarding the Mammoth Hot Springs:

“Water rises through the limestone, carrying high amounts of dissolved calcium carbonate. At the surface, carbon dioxide is released and calcium carbonate is deposited, forming travertine, the chalky white rock of the terraces. Due to the rapid rate of deposition, these features constantly and quickly change.”

The park makes these cool boardwalks so that the millions of visitors every year do not disrupt the natural occurring events, such as the hot springs. 

So there you have it – the weird, creepy, kind of pretty in a un-earthly way Mammoth Hot Springs geothermal feature!

{I’m sure after my description you are all dying to go now – sorry if these are one of your favorite Yellowstone features they just weren’t for us!}

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Costa Rica | Vol. 1 | Arenal

SPACE

We arrived at San Jose Airport on Friday and picked up our rental car from Dollar and headed towards Arenal.  We missed our first two exits even though we had GPS and three co-drivers.  One reason why it took three hours to to only go ~100kms.  We drove through a lot of countrysides and a few cities including San Ramon which had a pretty impressive church. Once we gained some elevation the roads became more and more twisty, we went from sun to clouds.  I was shocked by the size of the trucks that drove these narrow roads including the one way bridges.  On the road towards La Fortuna  we saw a bunch of waterfalls and fast moving rivers.

We grabbed lunch in La Fortuna at Las Brisitas and were pumped to try the local cuisine.  The ‘mexican’ food here was good, nothing out of the ordinary other than nacho cheese was substituted.  The highlight of lunch was finally reaching our destination and of course a cold Imperial beer.

We paid for lunch and headed about fifteen minutes up the road to our hotel where we’d spend the next couple of nights.  At Tabacon resort we were greeted with a glass of delicious fruit juice and were pumped to see our room had a great view of the volcano. This place was NICE!  Alex and AC came over for a cocktail and we caught a shuttle across the road to the hot springs.

My expectations for the hot springs were not too high, I was expecting jacuzzi size pools and lots of crowds with a sulfur stench.  Well I was wrong, Tabacon has hot springs of a whole other kind. It is an adult paradise.  Rivers of jacuzzi water flow through the jungle and land in lava sand bottomed pools where steam rises into the romantic light. Above the steam and exotic trees we enjoyed a star filled sky.  Sitting in the jungle, while hot water rushed around me with a cold beer was a new experience.  It was only night one, we were HAPPY campers!

The next morning was early and we headed up the hill towards our next adventure, zip-lining with SkyTrek tours.  A couple of kilometers past Tabacon, we left the paved road and headed into the tropical forest.  The plan worked out and we were the first up and got to do the tour with only us four.  This afforded us time to take in each view and mess around with our video cameras, Gustavo and Andres (our tour guides) had lots to share about the wildlife and the parasitic jungle where vines, trees and all other plants fight for sunlight.

Finally, it was time to zip!

We all howled with excitement on each line and for good reason, some of them were hundreds of feet above the jungle over half a mile long and you travel over 50mph!  Such a blast!

To refuel for the hot springs, we had dinner at Que Rico in La Fortuna and shared great pizza and a couple of beers.  Then it was on the main course, another night in the hot springs!  To top it off, we ran into Brent and Suzi and relaxed till they finally kicked us out.  Hours melt away in the hot springs at Tabacon.

We weren’t ready to leave, but next up was Manual Antonio.  Please stay tuned.

SPACE

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