Yellowstone National Park, July 1-2
We woke up that morning feeling refreshed after a long night’s sleep. We woke up early, of course, and we ate breakfast there too. We decided to go to the Upper Geyser Basin first. It took a long time, even longer than the day before’s trip, to get there. It was mostly because we decided to take a detour. We took a lot of detours on that roadtrip.
We went off the side of the road (Fire-Hole Lake Drive) and got to a geyser named Great Fountain Geyser. First Geothermal fact of the day: The Great Fountain Geyser is a geyser in a hot-spring. It can shoot water and steam up to 75-150 ft in the air and, if your lucky, up to 220 ft in the air. The Great Fountain Geyser has an eruption interval of 11-14 hours.
The next geyser we saw was the White Dome Geyser. The White Dome Geyser is a 12 ft high geyserite cone geyser. White Dome Geyser has a minimum interval of 8 minutes to a long interval of 35 minutes. Eruptions have the height of 30 ft and can last up to 2 minutes. White Dome Geyser is semi-famous.
Next we went to the Upper Geyser Basin. The Upper Geyser basin has a countless amount of hot-springs, geysers, and hot-spring geysers. If I tried to name them all, and tell some facts about all of them, right now, we would be here for a thousand years. So I will just tell you guys some facts about some of the most famous hot-springs and geysers we saw there.
First let’s start with the Grand Geyser and the Turban Geyser. Grand Geyser erupts after every 6-7 hours with a height of 200 ft, making it the tallest predictable Geyser (Great Fountain Geyser does not count because it is not that predictable). It erupts for a duration of 9-12 minutes. Turban Geyser is connected to the Grand Geyser.
It erupts every 17-22 minutes with a duration of 5 minutes. The normal eruptions have a height of 5-10 ft. During Grand Geyser’s eruptions, the Turban Geyser’s spray can reach up to 20 ft. The Turban Geyser will continue to erupt an hour after the eruption of Grand Geyser, along with the Vent Geyser.
Vent Geyser is the last geyser in this group (this group of geysers are literally called the Grand Group). Vent Geyser usually erupts at the start of a Grand Geyser eruption and lasts an hour after Grand’s as stated above in the other paragraph ↑↑↑↑↑↑. Vent Geyser’s eruptions start at 75 ft then gradually declines to 40 ft. Sometimes, on rare occasions, Vent Geyser can erupt before Grand Geyser’s eruption or completely by itself.
Sometimes you can’t see Vent Geyser through the Eruptions of Turban and Grand Geysers. The next geyser we saw was the Economic Geyser. Once widely popular, the geyser is largely inactive today. It did not erupt in our time there. The prize for the longest erupting geyser went to Grotto Geyser. Grotto Geyser erupted for a long time as we went all the war to Morning Glory and back, but it was still very active.
Grotto Geyser has a specific shape; it was formed from sinter covered trees. Eruptions are 10 ft and can last up to 10 HOURS!!!! That is a long time for geysers. But that’s not all. On very rare occasions, it can go over 10 hours, up to 26 HOURS, which is the longest time for an eruption ever recorded for Grotto Geyser.
The next famous attraction we saw was the Morning Glory hot-spring. The Morning Glory was named after the flower Morning Glory. The color of the hot-spring used to be a deep kind of blue. But now the color of the hot-spring is not that deep blue anymore, as tourists have extremely vandalized the hot-spring, lodging all kinds of debris, which eventually lets out more thermal energy from the pool.
As a result, the heat of the pool is perfect enough for red-colored cyanobacteria to live in, so the colors of the spring have changed. Morning Glory is referred to by park officials as “Faded Glory”. As we left Morning Glory, it started to rain.
First it was just drizzling, so we quickly hurried to the nearest shelter, hoping it would not rain on us. Miraculously (again) we reached the Old Faithful Basin Gift-shop. It was a really long walk to the gift shop. Annoyingly, the rain stopped as soon after.
Then we went to see the Old Faithful Geyser. The Old Faithful Geyser is a cone geyser that erupts up to a height of 145 ft. With an interval of 90 minutes, it is one of the most predictable geysers in the world. It is the first geyser named in the National Park. Fun Fact: The Old Faithful Geyser was sometimes used to wash laundry. Old Faithful got a little damaged because of the laundry usage.
There was a huge crowd at the Old Faithful Area. Even though we got there first, people started crowding and pushing us back. After just a few pushes, we were all the way back and we could not see anything. We went there in the year 2021, and there were people on edge about COVID-19. So, as a lightbulb went on in my head, I started coughing. The coughing made a HUGE gap around us and we reclaimed our spot. It was never crowded again for us during our time in the Upper Geyser Basin.
Two geysers we did not see were Castle Geyser and Beehive Geyser. Castle Geyser is like Grotto Geyser; they are both formed from sinter-covered trees and that is why Castle Geyser’s shape is like a castle. The Geyser has an eruption interval of 10-12 hours. The spray goes
up to 90 ft.
Beehive Geyser is a Cone Geyser with a height of 4 feet, resembling a beehive (as the name suggests). An eruption of Beehive Geyser lasts 5 minutes and goes up to 200 ft in height. Beehive Geyser has a warning system for an eruption called Beehive’s indicator. This geyser starts to erupt a little before a Beehive Eruption.
That was it for the Upper Geyser Basin. Then we went to the Midway Geyser Basin. Next, we went to the Opal Pool. Opal Pool is usually a hot-spring, but it is considered a fountain-type geyser. In 2005, the Opal Pool was completely drained, only to be refilled in 2008. The Opal Pool used to be blue but is now “vivid green” according to Wikipedia. I saw it as blue with an outline of red in our time there in the Midway Geyser Basin. (Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, even colorblind people).
Turquoise Pool is a hot-spring with temperatures of 142 and 160 °F (61 and 71 °C). Turquoise Pool has a connection to the Excelsior Geyser just like Indigo Pool, (a small hot-spring by the side of Excelsior Geyser). Not much is known about the Opal, Turquoise, and Indigo Pool. So I am going to leave it at that. Let’s get on to the BIGGER FEATURES in the Midway Geyser Basin.
Once the largest Geyser in the world, Excelsior Geyser shot water over 300 ft up in the air before the 1900s. This Geyser lost its eruptions because of its eruptions. The eruptions were too powerful and they damaged the internal plumbing of the geyser and it is now a hot-spring.
It dumps 4,000 to 4-500 gallons of water into the Fire-Hole River every minute. We can see that just before we went onto the boardwalk. I thought it was from the Grand Prismatic Spring at first, where the water came from, but it was not. This geyser is a fountain-type geyser.
The Grand Prismatic Spring is a big hot-spring with the dimensions of 250×380 ft and has a depth of 160 ft. As the name suggests, it is a colorful hot-spring, though you can only see the colors from the lookout point and not on the boardwalk. You can, however, see the blue of the water being reflected in the fog.
This spring has had its fair share of vandalism. Once, on August 2, 2014, a person crashed a drone into the waters of the spring. The drone has not been recovered since and it has, thankfully, not changed the spring in any way or manner. Some people have walked just outside the Grand Prismatic Spring, almost breaking the fragile crust of the spring.
Now you may be asking, “The Midway Geyser Basin is all done, so where will you go next”. Well, I have just the answer to that, because we went to Norris Geyser Basin next. The Norris Geyser Basin is just like the Upper Geyser Basin where there are a lot of hydrothermal features, so I will just tell you guys about the famous ones here too.
The first hydrothermal feature we saw in the Norris Geyser Basin was the Emerald Spring. The Emerald spring is named after its color, which is Emerald green. The light absorbs all colors except blue, which then gets reflected through the sulfur (which is yellow) in the pool. So the color of the springs turns green.
Even though it didn’t look like it, the spring has a depth of 27 ft and a temperature of 83.3 °C (181.9 °F). Sometimes it can erupt. Some optical physicist played a prank on people using this spring, and he dumped chemicals into it. It is unknown if this act damaged the spring.
Then we saw Steamboat Geyser, which is currently the tallest geyser in the world. Grand Geyser was the tallest predictable geyser in the world and Steamboat Geyser has rare super bursts up to 300 ft. Mostly its eruptions are 10-15 ft. Steamboat Geyser may take 3 days or 50 years as an interval for an eruption.
Next was Cistern Spring, which is connected to Steamboat Geyser. It drains when a major eruption of Steamboat happens. It pumps a lot of silica into the surroundings, much more than most of the other features in Yellowstone. We saw the trees nearby colored a grayish-white color. I think that is because of the silica from the spring.
Then there was the Echinus Geyser, which is the largest acid water geyser in the world. This Geyser is a fountain type geyser that has an eruption lasting 4 minutes with a height of 40-60 ft. Acid Geysers are rare because the acid water eats away the plumbing system of the geyser, turning the geyser into just a hot pool of acid water. The acid water in this geyser has a ph of 3.3-3.6, almost as acidic as vinegar.
Before we got to the next geyser, we saw a fabulous sight. Or rather, someone else saw it and then we saw it too. As we were walking down the trail, a person told us that there was a fox over in the tree-line. When we turned to tell him thank you, he was gone! Spooky. But the fox was grey even though his species is classified as a red fox. I found out that the fox’s name was the Rocky Mountain Red Fox (Vulpes Vulpes Macroura).
Then we got to Puff-N’ Stuff Geyser. Not much is known about this geyser except that it is mostly a fumarole at times. Next we saw Pork-chop Geyser. Pork-Chop Geyser was a hot spring with infrequent bursts up until 1985. Then it became a geyser which would continuously erupt. The geyser would make a sound that could be heard far away. It then exploded in 1989, sending rocks away up to 216 ft.
The last Hydrothermal feature I am going to mention in the Norris Geyser Basin is the Minute Geyser. We did not see this geyser, but it is one of the most famous geysers in the basin. It used to erupt every 60 seconds, like the name says, but it stopped being that wonderfully predictable due to the vandalism tourists did. By throwing rocks into the geyser vent, the geyser got damaged and now it erupts infrequently.
We also saw another geyser while we were exiting the Norris Geyser Basin, but I unfortunately don’t know the name of that geyser. After the basin, we went to Lamar Valley to see some wildlife. We did not go very far and we started to see foxes and coyotes running. Unfortunately, no photos. Sorry 🤷🏾.
Deeper into Lamar Valley, we saw Black Bears. There were 2 Black Bears and we only got to photograph one.
Later, we almost got to see some Grizzly Bears but we were a little late. The bears were gone for about ten minutes before we reached the spot. But what we saw the most were Bison. There were bison on our left, right, front, and back. The Bison almost made a roadblock and we could not progress further onto the road for minutes. Eventually, it was nightfall and we went back to the hotel.
We got up early, ate breakfast, and headed to the Midway Geyser Basin. We were headed there to see the Grand Prismatic Spring. Now I know what you are thinking, “You guys already saw the Grand Prismatic Spring!”. Well, we only saw it at ground level and not from high above. And seeing The Grand Prismatic Spring from high above is really something.
When we were at the overlook, people started crowding us again like they did in the Upper Geyser Basin. Guess what we did? Yup. No crowds there anymore.
We took the Fairy Falls trail to get to The Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook. The Fairy Falls trail has two points of entry, one next to The Midway Geyser Basin, the other on the Fountain Flats Drive next to the Grand Loop Road, just north of the Midway Geyser Basin. We took the one near the Midway Geyser Basin as it was the closest to the Grand Prismatic Spring. Obviously.
We passed the Fire-Hole river as we went on the trail and we also saw two miniature Prismatic Springs that looked more like the Morning Glory Pool. It made me wonder why these pools weren’t named because they were more impressive than the Morning Glory Pool. But that’s when I remembered that the Morning Glory used to be a different color.
But if a Park Ranger from Yellowstone is reading this, I name these pools the Twin Prismatic Springs. The Fairy Falls trail (up to the Grand Prismatic Spring) was 1.2 miles long and this overlook was recently made. After the overlook, we went back to the parking lot to go to our next destination, the Roosevelt Arch. We did not go to the Fairy Falls, but we heard that it is a wonderful waterfall and we hope to go there next year.
As we were going to the Roosevelt Arch, we saw wildlife, as usual. This time it was a bison crossing the road. We went through the Mammoth Hot Springs area, and we decided to go to it later in the day. We stopped in the town though, to eat lunch. My Sister was sleeping and she made a funny face. I took a photo. Then, We passed a road with cracked rocks that were slanted toward one side. It looked like it was the continental divide, though I am not completely sure it is.
The Roosevelt Arch was not intended to be called the Roosevelt Arch. It is called the Roosevelt Arch because Theodore Roosevelt, the president at that time, was visiting the park at that time. Teddy Roosevelt also put the corner stone of the arch. Teddy Roosevelt hasn’t returned to the park since, so he never saw the completed arch.
We took a photo at the Yellowstone National Park sign there and we also saw a LOT of Elk at the park in Gardiner. Needless to say, we took a lot of photos.
Next we went to Mammoth Hot Springs. The first place we went to at the Mammoth Hot Springs was to Liberty Cap. Liberty Cap formed because of a hot spring that was active in one place for a long time. The internal pressure of the hot spring was good enough to reach a large height, allowing mineral deposits to build slowly and continuously for hundreds of years. Liberty Cap is 37 ft (11 m) tall.
We also saw the Devil’s Thumb (a hot spring), and Palette Springs, which were right near Liberty Cap. Next we saw Minerva Terrace. The Minerva Terrace is named after the Roman Goddess of Artists and Sculptors. The Terrace is sometimes dry and some of the terraces near the boardwalk were formed recently.
Next we saw the Mound and Jupiter Spring. Mound Spring was named because it looked like, well, a mound, and Jupiter Spring was named after the Roman God of the sky and the king of all other Roman gods. Both springs fluctuate in activity and Jupiter Spring actually dried up in 1998 but not before dumping huge amounts of water in 1980, sometimes even going over the boardwalk. The trees turned rock solid because of the sinter in their system at Mammoth Hot Springs and only some plant life grow there now because of the sinter covering the ground.
The water for the Mammoth Hot Spring comes from the Norris Geyser Basin, along a fault line according to Wikipedia, but the National Park Service says that the water comes from the rain and snow that seeps underground, and from there it is heated and goes to the features of Yellowstone, including Mammoth Hot Springs. All these facts were amazing, but the most amazing fact was that a tree was buried alive in travertine from the Mound Hot Spring; if you go there you can still see it.
That was it for Mammoth Hot Springs. After that, we went to Lamar Valley to see some more wildlife. And we did. Some Deer, Bison, Prongorns, Foxes, Coyotes, Wolves, and even a Bald Eagle. The canines we saw were far away though so we did not see them clearly, only through binoculars. We went all the way to the north entrance of the park to Montana and by the time we went back, there was an awesome sunset waiting for us. Naturally, we went took a lot of photos.
Then we went back to the hotel.
Until Next Time…………………