Finally temperatures are cooling here. Saturday was in lower 30’s which is a big relief after the month of mid 40’s in May. June and early monsoon showers are very welcome.
To make most of the lovely weather, we made an impromptu trip to Blackbuck resort in Bidar. Technically in Karnataka, Bidar is a 3 hour drive from Hyderabad and a popular weekend destination from Hyderabad. The resort is set on banks of Vilaspur lake about 25 kms from Bidar. Most people start early on Saturday morning, have breakfast en-route and spend the morning exploring Bidar fort and tombs before heading to Blackbuck resort for lunch.Rest of the day can be spent at the resort with variety of activities.
Nested on banks of lake, the blackbuck resort is home to langoors and peacocks. It is clean, spacious and offers package deals including meals at a reasonable rate. The staff is very helpful. While the resort is not very luxurious, it is a great place to unwind after a hectic week. A lovely place amidst nature a short drive from hustle and bustle of Hyderabad!
To keep visitors engaged, the resort offers a lot of activities. Nature walk to see Emu farm is offered in the evening. Lots of different varieties of birds are seen en-route and come visit the lake at sunset. There were these yellow flowers in bloom all along the path along with fiery red Gulmohar. And so were these unique fruits that the birds love to feast on. When the lake is full post monsoon season the resort also offers coracle rides on the lake.
The sunset over the lake was brought to life by the chirping of birds, playfulness of monkeys and the beautiful red-yellow afterglow. After sunset we enjoyed a wild life documentary along with a round of beer and snacks. Telescope was setup to star gaze and post dinner a campfire was setup.
The best part of staying at the resort is the safari at sunrise to see the blackbucks. Even Varun was thrilled to get up early to go out in the jeep and see deers in their natural habitat. We not only saw deers but a wild boar, countless peacocks and many langoors. While we were driving back, a dog chased a herd of blackbucks around and it was surreal to see them galloping away.
We also saw a whole bunch of colorful birds whose name I don’t recall anymore.
We came back from the safari to breakfast and then sat on the private gallery off the cottage to watch more birds and animals come to the lake below. We saw lizards and a huge reptile cross across the brush below amongst other scary animals like tadpoles, frogs and squirrels.
We left after taking a short nap as we were tired after carrying Varun on the long nature walk and waking up early to for the Safari. Our initial plan was to leave after lunch and shop for the Bidri artwork that Bidar is so famous for. But the mid day heat got to us. It was back in 40’s again. Varun slept as soon as we started driving back. We plan to visit again after the monsoon season when the weather will be cooler, the lake full and the deers back in larger numbers.
Besides wildlife, Yellowstone national park is famous for its geysers and hot springs. Some are predictable like the Old Faithful; others bubble and gurgle like the Paint pots. Some howl like monsters and others are still.
They may be brown and orange or prismatic with blue-green shades. They all smell of Sulphur.
And you don’t want to miss them.
Artists Point in Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
One of the most unusual scenic vistas in Yellowstone is the artist’s point. This is a beautiful canyon with yellow rock that gives the park its name. The falls, the colors of the canyon and the river below are beautiful.
There is a short walk with a vista point for a perfect group shot. We spent some time here before heading to the lake.
After seeing a bunch of hot springs, we headed to Lake Yellowstone. This is where the caldera is – below the lake. Along the lakefront there are more hot springs and geysers. We walked around the boardwalk to take a look at the beautiful colors in the water.
Old Faithful Geyser
On day 2 and 3 in the park we saw various geysers and hot springs with Old faithful being the most spectacular one. Every 45 minutes the geysers erupts like clockwork. We all got there early to get a place in the front row and waited for the count down. And when it was time the geyser erupted ferociously and faithfully. Awesome.
It amazed adults and kids alike. One of America’s greatest natural wonders!
While we were in Old faithful area we continued further and saw the Firehole falls. We hiked a bit in the area before we headed out of the park towards the West Entrance.
We stayed overnight outside West Entrance and then started for an all day trip to Seattle the following morning. Pre-kids,we all loved Yellowstone national park. Animals, geysers, hot-springs, lake, camping and telling each other stories of bison attack as we walked back to the campsite in the dark. That night it rained and water entered our tents soaking us. Some of slept in the van scared about bear attacks and carbon dioxide poisoning.
If we were to plan now we would probably stay in one of the motel outside the park or in the historic lodges by Old Faithful. It will be a different experience now nevertheless it will still be equally amazing!
We were fortunate to spend an evening as well as an early morning in Lamar Valley – it’s the place to be to view wildlife. You will see more than bison’s and deer’s here. Brown bears, coyotes crossing the road, and even foxes.
We did one trip on our own and then did another one with a guide who had a telescope. We could see a family of wolves only through the telescope.
And while we were driving, we came across a classic scene. Lots of cars parked along the road, people running with their camera and an excitement in the air. We also ran as we knew this was the biggest attraction in the park – Grizzly bear.
We saw a small cub and were super thrilled that since its mom was not nearby we could go see the cub up close.
Another such scene is for the elusive Moose and for eagles. Be warned though if there is a ranger asking you not to stop and see the animal, follow his advice. Else you may get a ticket; just as our friend almost did.
The park is a mecca of animals. To truly see wildlife you have to get up at 5 :00 am and drive out into the valley. The advantage of the guide is that he brings out hot coffee and breakfast along with the telescope. Do plan a trip here especially if you have older kids who will enjoy seeing animals in the wild.
I apologize for the poor photos. They were all taken from the car for the fear of Bisons that were everywhere. The guys had scared me with stories of bison attack. don’t let them put you off from visiting the park. It is a park I want to take Varun when he is a bit older as there is possibly no amusement park that can match what Yellowstone has to offer!
Located mostly in Wyoming and a little in Montana, this is THE park to go with family and friends. Wildlife, geysers, hot water springs, rivers and canyons, lake, fishing and waterfalls, it truly has something for everyone. We planned a 4 – day road trip from Seattle to Yellowstone over one Fourth of July weekend. And it was yet another EPIC trip!
Planning a Trip to Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is the shape of a number 8. Most attractions are along this loop. Each loop has various entrances. We planned to enter the park via the north entrance in Gardiner and then drive around the loop clockwise starting with Mammoth Hot Springs, Lamar Valley, Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Lake Yellowstone and then around to Old Faithful. Our plan was to visit the numerous geysers along the way and exit via the West Yellowstone.
It was going to be a lot of driving but we were young without kids and we were really looking forward to a lot of bears, bisons, elks, moose, dall sheep and more.
Getting to Yellowstone
Yellowstone is about 800 miles from Redmond -it was one long road trip. But its doable in 4 days. We started on Friday evening and had dinner along the way. We stayed overnight somewhere after Missoula. It was a basic motel with a MacDonald’s nearby where we had breakfast.
After breakfast we continued on I-90 and reached Gardiner by noon. We passed under the Roosevelt park and then headed straight to first attraction, Mammoth Hot Springs.
Mammoth Hot Springs
This was our experience of the active super volcano that is Yellowstone National Park. This active volcano fuels all the thermal activity in the park. Sulphur fumes are in the air and its a unique experience to see the hot springs bubble, gurgle and smoke all around.
There is a board walk and its recommended to stick to the boardwalk -its safe that way! The white terraces formed by calcium carbonate deposits are straight out of discovery channel. Algae has tinted these terraces red, brown or orange and its a sight to admire.
We walked up to take in the hot springs and wondered if there is a place where the hot springs meet cold river water to form natural hot springs to bathe in. There is supposed to be a spot along the river but we didn’t know where it is so we didn’t bother about it. We saw a bunch of bison’s lazing and grazing in the meadows around.
We were in the park only a few hours and we already got to experience hot springs and wildlife. The trip was on to a great start.
We were looking forward to more wildlife in Lamar valley.Stay tuned for next post on wildlife and more wildlife!