We spent most of our first full day in the park wandering around the Upper Geyser Basin, waiting for things to go off. First, of course, was a stop at the temporary visitor center, gradually being replaced by the building in the photo below, which will open for the first time this coming August.
Giantess Geyser pool and new Old Faithful Visitor Center
The new visitor center is enormous, and has an interesting pattern that looks sort of like snow on the roof. I can’t wait to go inside next time I’m in the park.
Having gotten eruption forecasts for Grand and Riverside geysers, neither of which were predicted until later in the afternoon, we decided to walk down towards Morning Glory Pool.
This was when my friend L learned that no matter how much you think you’ve prepared, at 65 years old (I’m 51) you need a lot of stamina for Yellowstone. And this was when I learned that my definition and L’s definition of relatively level were not similar at all. To her credit, however, she made it down to Morning Glory Pool and back as far as Daisy Geyser, where we stopped to wait for Daisy to erupt, eating our packed sandwiches in the meantime.
Alas, we left the vicinity of Morning Glory Pool about twenty minutes before an eruption of Fan and Mortar, as we found out that afternoon. Too bad I didn’t have the walkie-talkie turned on. I’m still kicking myself for that one, as I have never seen Fan and Mortar, and I’m beginning to wonder if I ever will.
After Daisy’s eruption, I walked out towards Punch Bowl Spring, too. I love Punch Bowl Spring — it’s always bubbling, and it’s such a neat shape.
Punch Bowl Spring
It was getting on towards the middle of the afternoon by the time we got back to the cabin, and L gave out on me. She told me to go on and wait for Grand, though, so I took her up on it. 800 miles one way is a long way to drive without getting to see my favorite geyser as many times as possible. So I packed up my cross stitch, and a bottle of water, and coated myself in sunscreen, and headed out, arriving just at the beginning of Grand’s four-hour window.
It was a lovely afternoon, big white puffy clouds, hardly any wind, and temperatures in the low 60s. People came and went, the walkie-talkie chattered, and I got into several enjoyable conversations with my fellow geyser enthusiasts. I also finished most of a cross-stitched tulip [g].
Grand went off about ten minutes after the middle of its window, around five pm. It was a one-burst (the most common type for Grand — my first-ever Grand eruption was a five-burst back in 1999, so I’ve been spoiled ever since), but it was a good, prolonged one-burst, and it was beautiful. I took more pictures, as if I didn’t already have dozens from previous trips (my current screensaver is a montage of Grand photos). This is the best of this trip’s bunch, in my humble opinion.
And that was the highlight of my day [g]. I could watch Grand by the hour. Or the day. Or the month. I am especially fond of it since it’s part of Charley’s time travel device
The next day was our animal-watching day. More tomorrow.