Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Yellowstone: You Should Go There

Day 262/366: Grand Prismatic Spring and Approaching Storm

Our trip to Yellowstone was tremendous.

B and I turned into dorky geyser geeks while we were there, trying our darndest to see as many erupting geysers as possible. Very few geysers are predictable, but there are a handful that the rangers can predict within a certain window of time--anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. Sure, we had to sit and wait, but I can't think of too many things that are as worth the wait as a geyser that spews massive amounts of superheated water from the bowels of the Earth high into the air.

Castle Geyser, a Straight Shooter

I saw people who (unlike those of us that had waited) just happened to be in the right place at the right time when this geyser (Castle Geyser) erupted. Did they thank their lucky stars? Incredibly, they just walked by this geyser--one of the oldest and most magnificent in the park--without even stopping to look at it! What? You don't like erupting geysers? You'd rather not be deterred from your mission of buying a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos at the cafeteria near Old Faithful? Totally understandable. NOT!

Anyway, I tried (fairly unsuccessfully) not to let that attitude annoy me too much, but I so do not get that. If people like that aren't enjoying being at Yellowstone then why are they cluttering it up with their presence?

Then there were the true geyserphiles who pedaled around the geyser basins on bikes with little portable stadium seats strapped to their backpacks, so they could be nice and comfy while watching and waiting for eruptions. Full marks to those folks!

I found it wonderfully relaxing to just sit in front of a geyser knowing that it probably would erupt sometime in the next two hours, but exactly when--who can say? It's a good exercise in patience and the longer the wait the more the anticipation builds...until!

Grand Geyser Erupting

Also, the more time you spend lollygagging around in the vicinity of a whole bunch of geysers, the more likely it is that you will happen to witness the eruption of one of the unpredictable geysers.

Like weird-ass Grotto Geyser. What a thrill it was to come upon it in late afternoon after walking by it in its quiescent mode a few hours earlier and to see it erupting full bore from both barrels.

Grotto Geyser Erupting from Both Barrels


So, yes, geysers and the other hydrothermal features at Yellowstone are the big draw, but we also thoroughly enjoyed an awe-inspiring hike along the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, including a descent into the canyon; seeing dozens of bison and elk nearly every day; and just being there amid all that rich and varied beauty. We stayed til dusk or til after dark every ding-dong day.


More photos here.

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