One of the primary reasons that I wanted to visit Yellowstone were the geothermal geyser fields here. Today we visited the area known as Upper Geyser basin. Home to Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic and in between the two several other smaller lesser known, but just as cool, areas.
Our last day the Lake Yellowstone Hotel today. I had a word with some of the staff about the poor quality of the cabins and the cobwebs they'd kindly left us in the corners and the result was a free breakfast.
The breakfast here was really fantastic. Delicious and actually not too overpriced! Great views again as you're in the main hotel dining room overlooking the lake.
Our mission for today is to make to West Yellowstone, unsurprisingly this is on the West side of the park. Shortly after we'd checked out and hit the road we stumbled across a ranger directing traffic. Wildlife alert! Sure enough, there were 3 or 4 Elk by the side of the road posing. A Park Ranger had a set of small cones and was barking instructions at people who invariably totally ignored him. Poor chap. The phrase 'herding cats' came to mind.
What a magnificent set of Antlers.
En-route to the West we passed by Old Faithful and the main geyser basins in the park. They are something to behold. Steam emitting from seemingly every orifice the ground has to offer. Our first stop was the Black Sand basin.
The geyser above is from Black Sand basin and named Cliff geyser. He erupts every 7-10 minutes and is about 20ft tall. The textures of the ground around each geyser are completely different. This one looks like it is almost Lunar.
Presumably this tree didn't enjoy the acid as the routes of the stream change regularly. Perhaps they were playing games seeing if they could trick a tree into growing and then closing in around it! Probably not, as I don't believe geysers or streams in general to possess cognitive capacities great enough.
I want to nickname these formations as 'mineral polyps'. I have no idea what they are actually called but the name I gave them stems from when I used to keep marine fish and corals whilst living in Manchester - wow, a decade ago! I had polyp corals which looked pretty much identical to these.
Two of my favourite shots of the trip coming up next. The contrasting colours of the pools, bleached earth and moody skies making for very pleasing compositions.
This pool was in Biscuit Basin which very quickly adopted the name 'Buttery Biscuit Basin'. Both Black Sand and Buttery Biscuit basins were quite quiet compared to the main Old Faithful and Grand Prismatic Spring areas which they sit in between on the road. They're well worth a stop and explore if you visit.
On our way out West toward West Yellowstone we encountered our first proper Bison traffic jam.
A huge herd of perhaps 75-100 animals, including babies!, decided to cross the road and caused about a 1+ mile long tailback in each direction.
After we'd checked into our hotel we decided to head back into the park, against the tide of people exiting (around 6pm) and this made for some lovely quiet time around the main attractions such as Old Faithful.
I'd heartily recommend a drive down through the geyser basin at twilight. The river was gently steaming all the way along. The steam was hanging lightly in the air, similarly to those evenings at Fisherground in the lakes from campfire smoke and we had the place to ourselves. Another wonderful day in Yellowstone.