Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sep 7 – Old Faithful Area

Another long post where I could easily have shown three times as many pictures.

Today we went to the south western section of the park at the Upper Geyser Basin which contains Old Faithful. This place must be crazy on a summer weekend because the parking lots are massive. It was busy but not too bad today.

We had a lot of different weather. We got up to sunny and cold. When we got to Old Faithful it had clouded over but soon it was sunny and hot. In the afternoon it clouded over and we seemed to be surrounded by thunderstorms but we only got rained on driving home.

Here there is a huge complex of stores, lodges and visitor’s center all encircling Old Faithful. It erupts about every 90 minutes. The next predicted time was 10:47 +- 10 minutes so we went and waited in the massive ring of benches.


As the time neared I would guess that there were about 500 others.


A few minutes late, off it went.


We were actually kind of underwhelmed. We could hardly see any of the water and it looked just like a big steam jet.

We spent the rest of the day wandering the huge system of boardwalks to see the other geysers and thermal features.


This area has the largest concentration of geysers in the world. They were everywhere. Of the six large geysers that go off often enough that they issue predictions, we saw five go up close and personal and saw the sixth from a short distance away.

We also saw lots of pools and small geysers that just bubbled a lot.






We heard a roar and looked back to see the Beehive Geyser going off. It goes off once or twice a day in a jet about 180 feet high but is very unpredictable so we were lucky to see it at all. 


Moving on.



Aurum Geyser goes off every 2 to 5 hours.


We saw a bit of bubbling but not the full 20 foot spray.




So many bubbling hot springs.




Not sure if this was a geyser.






Castle Geyser going off up close.


Another one shooting up, off in the distance.


Next we went to join everyone waiting to see the Grand Geyser.


This is the tallest predictable geyser in the world. It erupts about every 14 hours, lasts for about 20 minutes and gives about 75 feet high. The prediction given was anywhere from 10:45 to 2:45. We got there around noon, had lunch and waited. And waited.

Every once in a while we would get some activity to keep us there. Lots of people gave up and moved on. We had lots of time.



Finally at 1:45 off it went to a huge cheer.


There was even a little side jet.


We watched to the bitter end.


While we were waiting we saw this guy that was a hard core geyser watcher. There seem to be a group of them that come out every day. He knew all the cues that indicated when each geyser was about to go off. They used FRS radios to report amongst themselves and the rangers when any geyser big or small went off so they could update their predictions. We just followed him around for the rest of the day. He gave a little talk on what to look for and what they would look like at each one.

On the way to the next one, we passed Chromatic Pool.



Another colourful pool.



Just a little bubbling out of this one.


Daisy Geyser erupts every 2 to 4 hours. We only had to wait about 15 minutes after we got there. It goes about 75 feet high at an angle for about 5 minutes. As it ends it chugs like an old steam engine.


On the way to the next we passed this weird one. They think the odd shape may be from it enveloping some trees.



Next we wait for the Riverside Geyser. It erupts about every 6 hours +- 1 hour. We waited around 40 minutes. It is on the banks of the Firehole River and arcs out over the river.



On to the Morning Glory Pool. This one is another victim to idiot people throwing things into it. The water used to be much hotter and with no bacteria, it was a deep blue. So much junk was thrown in that it constricted the opening, reducing the flow, and hence the water temperature to a point that the bacteria could grow. It still looks beautiful but people that saw it before say it was so much better.


It got gloomier as the clouds rolled in.



On the way back we saw that Castle Geyser started to really go off. This is what it looked like in the morning.


There was no prediction for this one so it was another lucky catch. It lasts about 20 minutes so we had lots of time to get close.



The spray seems to rain down.


Here it is again from a distance. The thunderstorms are moving in. We saw a bit of lightning.


Almost back to the start.




By now it was about 5:30 so we headed to the Old Faithful Lodge cafeteria for some dinner.


One last look.


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