Adventure is out there! Today we visited towering geysers, colorful prismatic springs and rushing rivers.
The thing that no one tells you about adventure is that it will also give you throbbing feet, tight calf muscles and aching hips. My wife said to include suburn too. We had a great day, but after a couple of days of trekking up and down stairs, hills, boardwalks and paths, covering many miles, we are tired!
Okay, Pirate, stop whining and bring on the photos of Old Faithful and the Grand Pristmatic Spring. We’re getting there, relax, we’re on vacation.
Our number one intention today was to see Old Faithful erupt, so we headed south. Our first stop was the Junior Ranger Outpost in Madison. Debbie is working on getting her Junior Ranger badge to add to her National Parks collection, so we stopped here to check on Ranger-led programs and find the geyser schedule for the day.
It was on this site that members of the Washburn-Langford-Doane expedition met and decided that this land should be protected as public lands. I’d say that was a pretty great decision. They petitioned the government and in 1872 President Grant created our first National Park.
We took the Firehole pass and saw some beautiful canyons, a great looking swimming hole and these guys out fly fishing. I wonder if they caught anything or just enjoyed a morning filled with beautiful blue skies and whispy clouds.
It takes much longer to reach one of the major attractions than it would appear on a map, especially in the morning. I told Jordyn we should be rope dropping these things to avoid traffic :) Parking is a struggle again today as we pass through the Grand Prismatic and both sides of the road are lined with cars when it says “No parking.” We finally reached Old Faithful and after a little driving around we found a car leaving and pulled into the Old Faithful Inn area.
It’s a great looking structure.
We only had a short time frame to try to catch the Castle Geyser and Riverside Geyser or we’d need to return and possibly return twice. We made it to the Castle Geyser as it was erupting with steam and water. Castle Geyser only erupts about every 14 hours.
We didn’t realize how far it was from the Castle Geyser to the Riverside Geyser. We began our trek and had about 10 to 15 minutes to make it. Little did we realize it was over a mile away. We picked up our pace and made it just before Riverside began to blow.
My kids laughed as we were walking as they remembered us walking from the Capital building in Washington D.C. to the Lincoln Memorial because we thought it was a “short walk.” I was very sick that day and it was brutally cold too. At least all the members of our party were in good health and it was only in the low 80’s.
Riverside didn’t disappoint us at all. It was heaving water and steam over 70 feet in the air across the Firehole River. It lasted a solid 15 minutes before dying off. Riverside usually blasts about every 6 to 7 hours.
As we made our way back, using the Boardwalk side, we saw the Grotto Geyser. It’s much smaller than the previous two, but is very unique looking. My kids thought it reminded them of the troll at Epcot’s Norway pavilion. Back, back, over the falls!
We passed the Chromatic Spring. The beautiful colors of the various hot springs are made from thermophiles which are organisms that love heat. I guess they all moved down from Canada for the summer!
After the 2 mile trek back to the beginning of our walk, we were nearing the Old Faithful when we asked a group of people watching anxiously when it would blow. It was about 8 minutes away and we had a perfect view from across the stream with only a few people around us. We opted to watch from there rather than join the masses near Old Faithful Inn and the Visitor’s Center. Old Faithful blasts the sky with water and steam every 60 to 90 minutes, so it’s easy to fit into your schedule.
We were really tired and sore, so we opted to return another day to try for the Grand Geyser, which is the tallest predictable geyser in the world. We did some shopping in the Snow Lodge.
Debbie opted for this Black Bear which reminded me of a little black bear I owned as a child. My parents used to take us regularly to the Great Smokey Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee. I used to enjoy shopping for little Indian tomahawks, old west style pop guns and little black bears. I hope my kids gain an appreciation for the National Parks like I did as a child.
Here’s a photo of the Old Faithful Inn on the main Entrance side. We actually saw a number of open parking spots on this side after we had parked. Drats! The shuttle buses are original to the park. The driver said the only things that aren’t original in this one are the steering wheel and the driver. They use them to shuttle guests to various attractions around the park.
Here’s a view of the inside atrium. Debbie wanted to climb to the top of what looks like a treehouse.After having lunch at a nearby picnic area, we made our way to the Kepler Cascades. A note on lunch. I’d advise you to get an inexpensive cooler in West Yellowstone and fill it with your lunch each day and pack LOTS of bottled water. Put some little snacks in there as well. We took a small bag of snacks and water as we surveyed the geysers earlier and it was a life saver.
From there we stopped to visit the Grand Prismatic Spring. It’s really beautiful from the right views, but you won’t see it from the top as many of the photos demonstrate online. Here’s a landscape shot of the area. There’s another large one down below as well.
We saw a couple of baby deer and stopped, which led us to a little road for Firehole Lake off to our right and decided to see where it went. There were maybe 5 people down this way and there are some beautiful terraces and many geysers. This one is called White Dome Geyser.
We saw it on our first trip around, but it didn’t blow. My daughter wanted to get the name of it and take a few photos, so we circled back. As we were about to leave it spewed water and steam for us. 2 other families came roaring down in their cars to catch it as well.
On the drive back to Island Park, we saw this amazing sunset which lit up the sky like a raging fire. I told my kids it will be a great day tomorrow because “Red skies in the morning, sailor take warning. Red skies at night, sailor’s delight.”
I hope you’re enjoying following our adventures. Today we hope to visit the local museum, catch an Imax about the area and hopefully go horseback riding.