Walter and Sara Let the good times roll
In Part VIII we visited the Grand Canyond of the Yellowstone and the Mud Volcano area. The next day we got up at 7 am again. It was colder that night because it was clearer. It was 38 at 5:00 am. We set out at 8 am with picnic lunch in hand. There was a pair of pelicans sitting just south of Fishing Bridge. We actually saw 3 boats out of the lake this morning.

We found a parking place at Old Faithful just behind the Visitor’s Center across from the Snow Lodge--way closer than we parked the first time we came here at noon. We went into the Visitor’s Center and got the times of the geysers. The Riverside Geyser was supposed to go off at 9:40. It’s about a mile walk so after stopping at the rest rooms we set out along the bike path. There was a big plume of steam coming from someplace across the basin but we couldn’t tell where.
 Upper Geyser Basin Yellowstone

We stopped and took photos of Castle Geyser which was in the midst of the minor eruption which means they haven’t a clue when it will do a major eruption again.

Castle Geyser

The bike path follows the Firehole River for part of the way.

Firehole River Yellowstone

Just before we got to the Riverside Geyser we saw a plume of steam go up. Eruption in progress!

Across from Riverside Geyser

The Riverside Geyser is really cool. It shoots off at a bit of an angle across the river and the water lands in a spatter in the river.

Riverside Geyser

It has two orifices. The back one shot off steam while the font one did both steam and water.

Close up of Riverside Geyser

The whole eruption lasted 20 minutes and we watched the whole thing. It was very entertaining and most certainly worth the hike.

Riverside Geyser

Once the Riverside Geyser was finished with it's show we started to make our way back along the boardwalk that wanders through Upper Geyser Basin. There were lots of things bubbling and steaming and burping and we stopped to watch them all.

The Grotto Geyser was just putting off steam but I loved the modern sculpture look of it.

Grotto Geyser

I noticed some Fringed Gentian (Gentianopsis crinita) growing in amongst the grasses along the boardwalk.
Fringed Gentian

The Giant Geyser was bubbling and steaming but it never really got into erpution mode.
Giant Geyser

The Chromatic Pool just steams and looks pretty.
Chromatic Pool

As does the Beauty Pool.

Beauty Pool

Just after the Beauty Pool, Walter spied this near-perfect Grizzly print in the mud.

Grizzly Bear Print Yellowstone

THe Belgian Pool is real hot in the middle where the water is clear aqua and then cooler over to the side where there are yellow-green algae growing.

Belgian Pool

This silly looking little geyser is the Penta Geyser. When I first walked up it had just finished shooting water out of all of it's 5 orifices at once. While I watched it spurted and spat in a very enjoyable way.

Penta Geyser

There were dragonflies all along the boardwalk and I caught this one resting on a mat of algae.


Heart Spring is really heart shaped but maybe it was once upon a time.

Heart Spring

Depression Geyser gets its name from the way the center of the geyser has dropped below the surface rather than building up a cone like many of them do.
Depression Geyser

This is Anemone Geyser between eruption. It really does look like a closed up sea anemone.

Anemone Geyser before eruption

It erupts very frequently (like every 5 minutes or so as I remember) so we didn't have to wait long for it the change. As soon as it stops erupting it drains and shows it's anemone face again.

Anemone Geyser during eruption

After crossing the Firehole River, we came around the back side of Old Faithful and waiting the few minutes until she erupted right on time.

Old Faithful Geyser from upper geyser viewpoint

We rested a while and then drove north to the Firehole Lake Drive that had been closed earlier in the week when we'd been in this area. It was a nice little drive with few cars so we could stop and get out and see things easily. This is the Surprise Pool boiling at its edge. They used to toss sand into it and watch it explode, thus the name Surprise. Needless to say they don't allow that any more.

Surprise Pool

The White Dome Geyser went off just as we were driving up.
White Dome Geyser

Young Hopeful Geyser  was splashing along at the edge of a lake.

Young Hopeful Geyser

Artesia Geyser splashed good too.

Artesia Geyser

We took the little road into the Artists Paintpots and the parking lot was complete chaos. People were parked along the edge so they’d lost the outgoing lane. Regular cars were parking in the RV lanes every which way. I looked at it all and decided I didn’t want any part of it and drove back out. As we neared the road we saw and ranger driving in. And I hoped he’d have luck straightening the mess out.

We drove on and stopped along the Gibbon River for lunch.

Gibbon River Yellowstone

And then actually found a parking spot at Gibbon Falls (a lot that had been full every time we drove by it.)

Gibbon Falls

There were very few bison visible in the Hayden Valley this afternoon. It was warm and about 1:30 so it was the heat of the day and we guess they’re off over the hills now. We did see a big bull who was walking for a long ways in the northbound lane of the highway. The motorcycle group in front of us stopped in the middle of our lane and waited for him to cross. He eventually crossed after a number of folks had passed him and a big diesel pusher was driving right behind him.

Bison on the road with motorcycles

We slept in until 7:20 the next day and didn’t get up until 8. We hit the road at 9 am to begin the journey home. On the way out we saw a lone bison in the Hayden Valley and then saw another on the road to Madison. We saw a herd of elk in Mammoth Springs right in front of the Post Office.

Elk at the Mammoth Hot Springs Post Office

I thought it was kind of this bull to pose with a calf like this against the Post Office wall.

Elk at Mammoth Hot Springs Post Office

We stopped in Bozeman for groceries and then went on to camp in Deer Lodge that night. The next night we stopped just outside of Couer d'Alene and then on the third day made it home.