Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lower Loop & Old Faithful

Chromatic Spring.We made our way to the lower loop without many stops on the way. We took several shots near the Yellowstone Lake and the first thing that fascinated us was Steamboat Point — a place with holes in the ground and vapor coming out of them. We also had our first bison encounter early on — one of many to come.

We stopped at several locations to collect the stamps including Fishing Bridge and West Thumb.

Pools and springs at West Thumb.West Thumb itself was our first actual stop and a short hike. We were amazed. The area was filled by pools about 3-5 meters in diameter. Each one was bubbling, producing vapor or both. The water was mostly clear and they had all kinds of peculiar shapes.

Spring near Old Faithful.Next stop was the biggest stop of the day — Old Faithful Geyser. Old Faithful goes off every 90 minutes plus or minus 10 minutes. There are several other predictable geysers, but they don’t off as often and can’t be predicted as precisely. By the time we got to Old Faithful it had more than an hour before the next eruption.

People waiting for Grand Geyser to go off.So we decided to take a hike around the area. It was all covered by small and big geysers, all kinds of pools and other amazing things. One could easily think that this is not Earth, if it wouldn’t be for hoards of people and green forest surrounding it all on the edges.

Grand Geyser erupting.We were walking amongst all these weird things until we reached Grand Geyser. By the plaque placed next to it, it would seem that it’s coming out of it’s plus or minus 2 hour window of eruption and still haven’t gone out yet. So we decided to wait. After waiting for about 30 minutes under a scorching sun it gave us a hell of a show. We witnessed the eruption of the biggest predictable geyser and it was definitely worth it.

Morning Glory.Meanwhile Castle Geyser started erupting behind us. Luckily for all of you reading this we were bright enough to remember that we can make some videos with iPhones, as it’s hard to describe all this with words. We’ll make a compilation of videos and post it later on.

We proceeded with our hike all the way until the end where we saw a pool called Morning Glory. Saw several Old Faithful Geyser.other geysers erupt on our way. Overall we walked for several miles and spend about 2 and a half hours here, which resulted in some sun-burn, even though we did use sun block before hand.

And by the time we were done with our hike Old Faithful eruption finished off our tour of this area.

Our next stop was Excelsior Geyser and Grand Prismatic Spring. The spring was not any less impressive than the geysers we saw near Old Faithful. The colors were just amazing and the fog rising from it was colored as well, probably by sunlight reflecting of the ground. It was extremely beautiful.

Hot springs coming off Excelsior Geyser into Firehole River.Afterward we checked out some bubbling mud and took a western exit out of the park, towards West Yellowstone. Town of West Yellowstone is located in Montana and we got yet another stamp here.

Excelsior Geyser Crater.On our way back we got stuck in traffic created by a herd of bison crossing the river. We haven’t seen so many cows anywhere as there were bison. As we later discovered there are just fields filled with bison in Yellowstone.

Grand Prismatic Spring.This effectively made us late for our 9pm dinner, but we were lucky enough to find an open restaurant in one of the lodges in the park. We were so hungry that barely warm prime rib tasted like the best steak I ever ate. Eldar was even more impressed. )

We got back to our lodge after 10pm. We were extremely tired from all the walking, driving and somewhat painful sunburn that we feel asleep quickly and slept very well. It was a great day.
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