Sunday, September 11, 2011

Midway Geyser Basin and the Grand Prismatic Spring (August 19 Part 4)

I guess we saved the best for last during this trip because finally on the last full day in Yellowstone I got to see the area that I wanted to see the most. The Midway Geyser Basin is the most amazing area of the entire park to me. Crossing over the Firehole River we saw the runoff from Excelsior Geyser flowing into the river. It looks like it would be a fun waterslide if the water wasn't nearly boiling.
Excelsior Geyser used to be the largest geyser in the world, but stopped having eruptions in the 1880s and since then had much smaller eruptions in 1985. Thousands of gallons of hot water flow out of the geyser into the Firehole River every day.
You can feel the heat radiating off of the Grand Prismatic Spring as you get closer on the boardwalks, and the colors seem to be floating up into the steam. The Grand Prismatic is 370 feet in diameter and is the third largest hot spring in the world. The two larger ones are in New Zealand.
There are a lot of buffalo footprints in the area. Since this geyser basin stays so warm in the winter the bison and elk like to stay there. As exciting as it was to be so close to the Grand Prismatic, I wasn't satisfied with this view and knew how to get up above it to see it better.
It's easy to see where the Turquoise Pool got its name. This pool has an underground connection to the Excelsior Geyser.
I wanted to scramble up the hillside on the other side of the Grand Prismatic Spring, so we drove back to the Fairy Falls Trailhead. About a mile down we left the trail and went up the hill on the left.
These lodgepole pine trees are still young. This area burned in the 1988 fires, but someday when these trees grow taller it will block the view of the spring, so I thought we should do this hike while we could.
This is one of the most amazing things I've ever seen!
Zoomed in on the boardwalk between the Grand Prismatic and the Excelsior.
You can see what this climb was like at me and Savanna's feet here. It was loose sand with downed trees everywhere. We had to take our time and find the best way up and down, still with some sliding.
Here is one more shot of Jay and the spring before we headed down. Maralee was just too tired to do anymore hiking at this point, so Garrett stayed with her at the bottom of the hill. Hopefully if we are there again they can both get up there to see it.

1 comment:

Lois said...

Awesome pictures Lisa! I can see why this area is one of your favorites.