Geysers, geysers, and more geysers. This was our geyser day in case you couldn’t tell. (WARNING A TON OF PHOTOS AHEAD, but I’ve narrowed it down from the 160 i took that day….) We loaded the boys up early from the cabin and started driving to Old Faithful. We made good time and pulled into the parking lot and there were very few cars there. After making a quick stop in the bathroom we checked out the posting to see that it was still going to be awhile until Old Faithful erupted. So after a couple cute photo shots, we took off on the upper Geyser Basin Trail.
Caedmon was set in the backpack and Leighton was quite happy walking with his little camel back and watching the geysers as we came to them. Some were just steaming but a number were at least bubbling a little. The path was fairly empty too which was really nice. We took our time and hiked along. It was gorgeous, and so fun to see Firehole River with a number of areas of steam rising up from it.
We came to Grand Geyser where there were a lot of people sitting around and watching it. We learned that there was about a 3 hour time window when it might erupt and we were in about the middle of it. We grabbed a spot on a bench and sat down to watch. We learned from an official “geyser gazer” that Grand has 20 minute cycles, and at the end of the 20 minutes either it erupts, or the little geyser next to it named Turban Geyser erupts. The “geyser gazer” told us that it depends on how full the pool around them got and stayed during the 20 minutes. We watched for a cycle and Turban went off and not Grand, so we continued on.
We came to Grotto Geyser and it was putting on quite the show. Leighton deemed it one of his favorites and Caedmon giggled with all of them.
We turned around at Morning Glory Pool. That had been our original plan, and while we were there we found out if was going to have to be our default plan as well because there was a momma Grizzly and baby cub further up the trail and it wasn’t safe to go any farther.
We took a different path back and on the way stopped at Castle Geyser. It was actually a perfect spot, because we could turn around and look up the hill and see Grand finally taking off.
Total we walked about 3.5 miles and we were all ready for lunch. We ate lunch on the deck of the famous Old Faithful Inn. The inside is beautiful and the porch was amazing.
After lunch we headed down and got a mandatory touristy photo in front of the Old Faithful sign and then found a spot to watch her take off. We were not disappointed in the least.
Leighton immediately crashed in the car before we had even left the parking lot. We did see a bear off the road and Clint got out and got a couple of shots of it.
We drove a little farther while Leighton snored in the back and came to Fountain Paint Pot Loop. Leighton had been telling us since watching the video from the library about Yellowstone that he wanted to see the paint pots. As it turned out he was a bit crabby from his nap and not all that excited. Caedmon on the other hand thought they were the greatest thing ever and kept giggling and saying “bubble bubble bubble”
From there we headed back to The Midway Geyser Basin Loop. The Firehole River runs right along side of it, and we learned (or I read from our trusty guide book as we pulled into the parking lot) that Excelsior Geyser pours 4000 gallons of steaming water into the Firehole River every minute. Excelsior Geyser use to have 300 foot eruptions, but it’s eruptions actually destroyed itself and now instead of erupting it just pours tons of water into the river. As we were crossing the bridge there was an osprey that was flying overhead and trying to catch it’s mid day snack in the river.
We took photos in front of Turquoise Pool and Opal Pool and then headed to Grand Prismatic Spring. It is the largest hot spring in Yellowstone and measures 250 feet by 350 feet across. From the board walk it is hard to really appreciate its beauty, but from up above it is amazing. There are a couple hikes in the park where one can get a better above view, but we just had done plenty of walking already (close to 5 miles) and had to be happy with what we got. It was still amazing.
We headed back to our cabin and the boys and I played outside a bit while Clint warmed up our dinner. The swing that the boys were on is right where the buffalo had been the night before. There was a small water wheel that they were absolutely fascinated by as well. We all slept good that night.