National Parks Tour – Yellowstone Pt. 2

On our first full day in Yellowstone we decided on what we called our Geyser Day. We basically followed the pink route below. (Have I mentioned we like maps? Ha!)

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We started our day at Old Faithful. We knew it was a popular spot and wanted to beat the crowds…and we did. We had to wait about 40 minutes total, but we had front row seats! Totally worth it. It sure takes it’s time teasing though. There were 4 or 5 times we were certain it was going to erupt, but it was just the build up. When it finally erupts – well it’s hard to imagine how tall it actually gets, but it was impressive!

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After that, we walked around the Upper Geyser Basin where we saw several other geysers as well as some springs and pools. I started out by reading about each one in a guide book I had, but quickly realized there wasn’t time for that. I did my best to keep track of the names of ones we photographed, but I’ll admit we may have dropped the ball there. There are way too many to share them all, but here are a few of my favorites.

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Giant Geyser. Last erupted September 28, 2015 and before that January 22, 2010.
Side view of the Grotto Geyser. This one was really cool!
Morning Glory Pool
Crested Pool – you can see the animal prints (bison? elk? moose?) around it!

After the Upper Geysers we headed over to the Midway Geyser Basin. This is where the Grand Prismatic Spring is at…and one of the main things I was looking forward to seeing. Things were getting really busy by now and we had to park farther away than we had expected, but it was totally worth it.

Excelsior Geyser Crater

Everything in this area was impressive and beautiful, but nothing was quite like the Grand Prismatic Spring. I always knew I wanted to see it and it did not disappoint. The sheer size of it caught me off guard. And as we were standing there watching the steam rise off the surface the wind would blow the hot air into our faces. I could not stop smiling.

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These pictures do not do it justice.  I without a doubt recommend a visit to Yellowstone…and the Grand Prismatic Spring is a MUST SEE.  We saw so many things this day that I’m having a hard time covering it all. So, to summarize we drove the Firehole Lake drive and the Firehole Canyon drive, stopped at the Painted Pots (which are basically boiling mud pits), saw the Kepler Cascades and walked around the West Thumb Geyser Basin. Oh and bison, lots more bison. And now, a few more pretty photos. 🙂

Firehole Lake
Silex Spring
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Fountain Geyser. This thing was massive! And it just went of constantly, eventually we just left and it was still going.
West Thumb Geyser Basin (above & below)

Campground Bison!!

So, the weather was GORGEOUS all day…until we came back to camp to back dinner and settle in for the night. It wasn’t just raining…it was storming.  We went up to the lodge to sit inside for awhile, but it started to clear up a bit. We had bought an extra tarp and rope earlier, so we headed back to camp. Of course, it started pouring again when we arrived, but we managed to make a little shelter to cook and eat under. I was cold, but it was kind of fun. 😛 It also got down to 30 degrees that night! We had some drinks, chicken and dumplings for dinner and sat by the fire for a bit once the rain let up. Oh! AND in the middle of the night we woke up to wolves howling!! Pretty cool now, but at the time TERRIFYING.

 

We’d recommend…

  • getting up early to beat the crowds
  • packing a sack lunch, so you don’t have to stop and deal with crowds to eat. Time waster!
  • “pack your patience” just like the park tells you! Ha, there are a lot of people, be prepared for that.
  • making a list of your must sees!

Wish we’d thought of…

  • the weather….and to bring a camping gazebo/shelter to cook under
  • again the weather and how cold it was going to be, we ended up buying gloves. I will say, I DID check the weather. Over and over, til the day we left. And it was supposed to be about 10 to 15 degrees warmer and dry. So basically, I just wish I would have packed that coat, hat and scarf that I tossed to the side at the last minute. ha!

 

Last word…here’s the thing. This post is LONG. But, if you are interested in seeing more photos here is a link to the full Google Photos album. 🙂

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