Sunday, June 16, 2013

Yellowstone - Part Seven - Geothermal Delights

On my full solo day after my tour, I was determined to see "everything else."  That's impossible, but I had limited to things I was interested in.   One was the various hot springs, mud pots, and various other thermal features throughout the park.  What helped me time-wise was that a couple hot spring areas were closed due to bear emergence from their dens. I hope those bears are enjoying the hot springs without me and the mob scenes.

I set off at 6 am for what was to be a very full day.  My first mistake was viewing these thermal features during the cold morning.  It was a very foggy drive to the south part of the park and these features were steaming away in the cold.  At the top of my list was to visit the Grand Prismatic Spring , which is best viewed from above.  Well it was just too foggy to see anything and I wasn't even aware there was a mountain trail for viewing, but I was able to appreciate the micro terraces along the edge.  Next time!

Grand Prismatic Spring

Turquoise Pool
Along the way to the various spots, you can see many dead trees with a white base.  This is called bobby-socked trees. These geothermal features are often on the move so they can move into a former forest and kill all the trees.
Bobby-socked trees
What you can't see in photographs is the bubbling activities that occur in many spots. Also missing are the crazy noises and smells (sulfur) that come along with it. Also missing is the bison scat that was just everywhere. 
Fountain Paint Pots
This one made some crazy noises that sounded like it belonged in some show that includes dragons. It would make a loud whooshing noise and then steam and a wave of water would come out.  This would happen over and over again.  I tried to find a good video to link to, but frankly they just don't do it justice. 
Dragon's Mouth Spring

Here's a couple shots of the overview of the landscape riddling with geothermal action at Norris Geyser Basin. I just couldn't capture the amazing colors of the pools, bacteria, and minerals. 

I would be incredibly remiss to not include Mammoth Hot Springs Terrace, which was within easy walking distance from my cabin. These terraces are not what they used to be.  They've been slowly drying and changing throughout the years, but still amazing to look at. 
You can just barely make out the small turquoise pool in the front left.

Camera just doesn't do it justice to the brilliant white color.
In my cabin, they had an old photograph of ladies in their Victorian garb sitting on these terraces.  I can't imagine how treacherous it was to get to that spot and find a good spot to sit. This is not the photograph, but the closest thing I could find on the web. 

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