Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Earthquake Lake, Yellowstone River and a Surprise
Located a short way to the east from West Yellowstone, MT, is Earthquake Lake, which was created during a severe 1959 earthquake that created a dam on the Madison River.
When the quake hit, a very large landslide crashed down a mountainside, killing 28 people and virtually blocking the large Madison River, and within a month, the 190' deep, 6 mile long lake was created.
This caused understandable concern among the Army Corps of Engineers who were worried about failure of the new, landslide dam and resulting huge flooding downstream. They worked at a feverish pace and were successful in creating a spillway to protect the dam. Wow, an interesting story that we enjoyed learning about.
We then returned to the park and decided to travel along the beautiful Yellowstone River. The river has its source at Lake Yellowstone, which sits at 7,732' in elevation and is the second largest freshwater lake in the world above 7,000' as it covers over 136 square miles.
Shortly after the river leaves the lake, it passes under Fishing Bridge on its path to join the Missouri River and eventually, the Mississippi.
However, the river has to drop a very long way and quickly enters the Upper Yellowstone Cascades where the river rushes through these beautiful rapids.
What a beautiful spot as the river rolls by. Fed by snow melt from the lake, this is one cold, clear river.
In the spring, Cutthroat trout move upstream to spawn near the lake and actually jump up these rapids. Since we were there in August, we did not see any of them, but it was easy to imagine how hard they have to swim to get upstream.
We then headed north toward the Falls of the Yellowstone, but suddenly, Rick saw this coyote easing across the road. He did not seem very concerned about us and just walked down into the woods, probably muttering something about tourists.