Sorry that I have stopped posting here for several days, but our latest campground was a bit removed from civilization. We should have put in our reservations for the Grand Teton/Yellowstone area, but we failed to do that. One would think we would wise up after the several times we have been here over the years! This has gotten to be one of the busier national parks during the summertime. We did find a place to park in Grand Teton National Park-problem is that it a bit too remote to receive any telephone or internet communication. On our first day in this area we drove north from Grand Teton National Park to Yellowstone, a distance close to about 60 miles. It is probably necessary here for me to explain what Yellowstone Park is all about- and I will use the park’s brochure to explain the peculiarities of the park. About two million years ago, then 1.3 million years ago, and again 640,000 years ago the Yellowstone Volcano erupted and ripped open miles of mountainous terrain, leaving behind a massive caldera that stretches 45 miles from rim to rim. The magmatic heat powering those eruptions still to this day powers the park’s geysers. Yellowstone has a total of 10,000 of them, of which Old Faithful geyser is the most famous. While waiting on Old Faithful we took a walk along the boardwalk to view other geysers in the area.. The picture below should give you an idea as to what one of the numerous hydrothermal areas of the park looks like. Not all of the hot spots are geysers, but just hot bubbling water or mud. As I will explain later, minerals in the rock and microorganisms create a palette of colors from very bright orange to hues of green and blue.
Well, Old Faithful is not all that faithful anymore. I can remember coming here about twenty-five years ago and then we could count on it erupting about every hour. Now its eruption varies from 40 to 126 minutes. The visitor’s center near that geyser posts a schedule as to when it will erupt. While we were there it was expected to erupt at 2:10 PM. It was not until about 2:30 that it began erupting into its full mode. As the time slowly passed while we were waiting on the geyser I kept thinking that surely the crowd would dissipate, but everyone stayed. Babies cried and older children became fussy under the hot sun, but no one left. When Old Faithful finally fully erupted there was silence among the crowd. I can never get tired of seeing it, the waiting and wondering whether it will happen is part of the charm of Old Faithful.
Another place where we stopped in the park is Norris Geyser Basin. The basin is among the park’s hottest most acidic hydrothermal area. We hiked around its Porcelain Basin and again saw a mixture of geysers, hot springs, fumaroles and mudpots. The hot pools of warm water vary in color from azure to turquoise, prettiest of these is Crackling Lake. It did seem to have a crackling sound, but I thought that maybe its shimmering appearance gave off an illusion of a crackling sound. Either way, what a beautiful lake!
Microorganisms (thermoacidophiles) who love both the acidic and hot pools color the landscape. Perhaps the picture below can capture some of the beauty of Norris Basin. I will write more on our day in Yellowstone in my next posting.