Yellowstone – National Parks Road Trip – Day 9

As noted previously our hotel room was very new, having been open only two weeks. The hotel was committed to and designed for conservation. A free water bottle refill station was situated in the lobby of the hotel and the room key card was used to power electricity while in the room and shut off when you left the room to eliminate waste. The room also had a theme of teddy bears since Teddy Roosevelt was known as such a conservationist and so engaged in establishing the national park system. Even the bath soap was shaped into teddy bears. When we awoke the electricity was not working and had to take a shower in the dark. It was also cold enough to see frost on the car. The car temperature read 31 degrees.

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The agenda for this day was to take the South Loop. The cool morning allowed for some light fog to develop along the river, and in the valley’s, and with our early start it was peaceful and not crowded. After a couple of brief stops along the river, the lake and the Continental Divide, we arrived at the parking lot for Old Faith, being able to park in the first parking space next to the walkway to the geyser

The visitor center at Old Faithful has the expected eruption time for all of the geysers in the valley. It is highly recommended to pay a visit to them as you arrive, it greatly increases your chances for successful geyser eruption viewing. First up was for Old Faithful for 9 am but only saw a small baby eruption which happens occasionally. So we went off to have a breakfast of ham and cheese bagels at a coffee shop. Ugh, not the best breakfast but no other choice.

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The guide said next up was the Daisy Geyser, which showed us a a powerful eruption. This was most impressive, addition to the . It made me look forward to seeing Old Faithful later on. We walked the path behind the geyser where we met girls from Paris, France. Together we watched Old Faithful erupt from a distance but got a nice view of the full plume of water gushing upward.

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We hiked the upper geyser basin before returning to the lodge for lunch. For the afternoon we walked back toward the geysers to see the Grand Geyser but it did not erupt, so we made our way to the Riverside Geyser that erupted for twenty minutes. As the group of people sat on benches watching the eruption two Bikini top middle-aged women posed in front of the geyser saluting with open arms. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of these women. This photo became the photo of the day with the caption of “All hail the geyser gods“, which to this day is the most requested photo I have ever taken.

On our walk back to the main lodge we passed Castle Geyser which was erupting, which lasted for a very long time. Once we returned to the lodge we found seats on the porch and chatted with two Ohioans waiting for old Faithful to spew. This time Old Faithful erupted at full force. Having completed the tour of the geyser basin we headed out to complete the South Loop.

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Up next; Biscuit Basin. This thermal basin is particularly volatile and unpredictable. An earthquake occurred nearby decades ago and Sapphire Pool erupted violently blowing away the large rock biscuits around the crater. Biscuit Basin was named for those biscuit-shaped mineral formations. We crossed a creek so clear that you could see colorful pools of blue, orange, and red bacteria. The pools bubble and steam in orange bacterial mats. Thermal microorganisms thrive in the clear pools. Toxic gases exist sometimes with dangerous levels of hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide in some hydrothermal areas.  The park has a smell of rotten eggs and a burning sensation lingered in our throats at times. Just beyond Biscuit Basin was Midway Geyser Basin where we were able to photograph rivers coloring the banks of the geyser. The area was jammed with cars so we skipped seeing Midway Geyser.

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The last stops of the day were at Great Fountain Geyser to see the most predictable geyser in the lower basin. The Great Fountain Geyser usually peaks between 75 and over 200 feet high and erupts every 9 to 15 hours. The next eruption was expected much later in the day at 10:30 pm so we moved on not seeing activity here. Just beyond was a visit to the Lower Geyser Basin to see the Fountain Paint Pots and the Fountain Geyser that erupted with two smaller geysers called Clepsydra (Greek for water clock) and Spasm Geyser.

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The Fountain erupts every 14 hours and we were lucky to see it. It was the best geyser with the most explosive eruption spewing for 30 minutes. We also saw many steaming vents and thermal pools. As we watched the geyser’s activity and felt the spray, we talked with Grace and his wife, Elizabeth, from Basel, Switzerland. Grace has been to all the lower 48 states and his wife was visiting the USA for the first time. From here we drove to Firehole Canyon to see a narrow canyon with a nice waterfall. The canyon was so narrow it restricted vehicles to only cars on a one-way street. Steep cliffs lined the road and river.

Dinner was once again in the cafeteria, followed by more star gazing.