Today was geyser day at Yellowstone for us. We toured the rest of the geyser basins around Old Faithful, the Upper and Lower Geyser Basins. We started at the Black Sand Basin which is about a mile from Old Faithful. I did my best to name these geysers and other hot features accurately, but probably got some of them wrong. But as Jennifer said, we saw things that bubble, stink, and squirt. And that just about sums up hot pools, fumaroles, and geysers.
At Black Sand Basin, we saw Cliff Geyser which exuberantly and frequently erupted. I think we saw three sets of eruptions in the time we walked around this relatively small area. The Opalescent Pool was a great example of a hot pool showing great variations of colors which they told us was due to the thermopiles, or heat loving organisms, that live in the water. It's amazing to me that anything could live in this hot water, but truth is stranger than fiction.
Next, we visited Buscuit Basin where we saw Sapphire Pool. This pool was a beautiful shade of, uh, sapphire, I suppose. Remember, guys can only tell 16 colors. The water was amazingly clear as we could see down into the pool. The photo doesn't do this pool justice. Then we saw Jewel Geyser which provided quite a show for us as it, uh, squirted really hot water out. We went on to see the other great "water features" at this basin but I'll only show you two of them. And it's really hard to show photos of things that stink but, trust, me, there was lots of rotten egg smell around.
We stopped by Great Fountain Geyser on Firehool Lake Drive next, but we learned that it wasn't expected to erupt until somewhere between 9:30 and 11:30 tonight. I guess it puts on a great show but how can you see it in the dark?
After lunch along the Firehole River, we drove along Firehole Canyon Drive where we saw 400 foot cliffs that were pretty much straight up, and the Firehole Falls. Then we drove on north toward Norris and saw the Gibbon Falls, shown here. According to the park service, these falls occur at the edge of the caldera. This is THE caldera that defines the park as it is basically a collapsed volcano from about 640,000 years ago and the caldera defines the edge of what was near the top of the now-gone volcano.
We drove on to the Norris Geyser Basin and saw more things that bubble, stink, and squirt. After a while, how many of them can you take in? So we walked the paths and saw some more but I think you get the picture.
We stopped on our way back to camp to get some necessary suppplies, including Gatorade (the trails were pretty hot and we were in need of more liquids) and beer (a good chaser for Gatorade). We haven't drunk much beer lately but are really enjoying one at the end of a long day of hiking in hot, high country. We haven't been below 6000 feet since we arrived here, and are currently at 7700 feet elevation. and we seem to dry out faster at higher elevations. So we headed back to camp, and in the Hayden Valley, we saw our daily BOTD (bison of the day). He wasn't holding up traffic by being in the traffic as we had seen for the last several days, but he held up traffic anyway as he was just off the side of the road, up the hill a bit. And everyone had to stop and look and take pictures, including us. But so far, we haven't seen a bear or moose in Yellowstone.