My third full day at Yellowstone was spent entirely in the Upper Geyser Basin, waiting for things to go off. In order to really get to see the geysers properly, you need a couple of things, plenty of patience, and plenty of time. I had the latter, or at least a whole day, and I helped myself out with the former by loading my daypack up with a picnic, a book, my journal, and my camera, and then stopping by the visitor center to collect eruption predictions.
Oh, and good walking shoes. I must have walked at least six miles that day.
The first thing I did was walk down to Morning Glory Pool:
Morning Glory Pool isn’t as blue as it used to be because of vandals throwing stuff in it. How can people be that stupid?
Riverside Geyser was due to go off next, so I stopped there and waited:
Riverside erupts out over the Firehole River, and afternoon eruptions (which this wasn’t), often have rainbows in the steam.
Next was Grotto Geyser. Ahem. Okay, this is a G-rated blog, so I’m not going to make the obvious comment, but honestly.
Grotto Geyser. ‘Nuff said.
Those are supposedly trees that have been coated with sinter over the last few thousand years.
Next was a geyser I’d wanted to see ever since my ex absolutely refused to wait through its four-hour eruption window thirteen years before. I’ve talked about Grand Geyser here before, how it’s the tallest predictable geyser on the planet, and how it was part of the inspiration for my novel Repeating History, and just generally how amazing it is. So I won’t go on and on and on, even though I could, quite easily. But I will tell you that my first-ever eruption of the Grand was a five burst eruption, which is quite rare, although I didn’t realize it at the time. I do remember the gazers with their walkie-talkies going practically ballistic, though. Anyway, here’s one of the first photos I ever took of Charley’s geyser:
Isn’t it Grand? (sorry)
After that, well, everything else, while wonderful, was something of an anticlimax. Still, I also saw Giant Geyser’s crater, which looks like an enormous hollow tree stump:
Giant is not a regular eruptor, and while I saw an eruption on a later trip, it was not cooperating today.
I saw Sawmill Geyser, which erupts much of the time. It’s one of my favorite smaller geysers, mostly because of its sheer exuberance. But I could say that about most geysers — I’ve never seen an eruption where the geyser in question didn’t look like it was having one heck of a good time.
Sawmill in the distance. Grand’s pool is just in front of the hillside to the left.
And Castle Geyser, which is, of course, named after its cone, which from many angles does look kind of like a ruined castle.
This is Castle’s steam phase, which is incredibly noisy.
All in all, my best, if most footsore, day in the park. Not least because of my epiphany while gazing raptly at Grand, when I suddenly thought, wow! Wouldn’t that make a terrific time travel device!