Old Faithful’s eruption was a great experience and an introduction into Yellowstone’s hydrothermal activity. Afterwards we continued our walk around Upper Geyser Basin in anticipation of other hydrothermal surprises.
Upper Geyser Basin has the largest concentration of active geysers in the world. The basin is crossed by the Firehole River. There is also Midway Geyser Basin and Lower Geyser Basin which we passed on our way from Jackson to West Yellowstone.
We walked on the boardwalk bewildered by the out of this world scenery of Upper Geyser Basin. There are colorful, steaming pools, holes in the ground with smoke coming out, boiling springs and seething mud pools. The banks of the Firehole River were covered by grass and fir trees in some places. In other places the banks were covered by colorful deposits created by the outflowing of hot springs water. These colorful deposits were interspersed by patches of grass, tiny yellow spring flowers and steamy white smoke rising from underground.
Anemone Geyser was not active and Beehive Geyser just stopped its eruption. Only a faint white smoke was rising over the cone and a stream of spouted water was flowing towards the Firehole River.
Then, we approached a family of lions. Not the animals, but geysers: Lion, Big Cub, Lioness, and Little Cub. The biggest in the family is Lion Geyser with the largest cone and the mightiest jet. The Lion started to erupt just when we approached it. First it spewed a white cloud of steam and showered all of the spectators and passersby with warm water. We did not stay to listen to its famous roar, which usually happens in the beginning of its eruption.
Suddenly we saw that Castle Geyser across the Firehole River started to smoke. Its cone, which was formed by siliceous sinter for thousands of years, is one of the largest cones. It resembles a tower wall with turrets and battlements.
Liberty pool displayed a colorful pallet of orange, green, and yellow circles of thermophile painted water. The middle of the pool, over the vent, has a turquoise color.
We rushed to see an eruption of Grand Geyser. When we came close white steam filled the area and covered everything around with a thick fog. Then, the most powerful eruption started and we had front row seats in nature’s amphitheater. Grand Geyser is a fountain geyser and its jets can reach up to 200 feet (60 m). It is the tallest geyser in the world and it’s also predictable. It was a stunning performance.
Turban Geyser, located next to Grand Geyser, began to erupt at the end of Grand Geyser’s performance. Turban Geyser is not as powerful as Grand, but the backdrop of a thick forest of fir trees and pines on the top of a hill made its eruption particularly photogenic.
Wave Spring displayed a colorful pallet of yellow, orange and green mixed in transitory, subtle hues. Beauty Pool’s colors ranged from light brown, to terracotta and dark blue. It was an overcast day and without sunshine penetrating the depth of the pool it looked murky. Chromatic Pool had even a more dark and somber pallet of brown and dark blue with a grey hue.
We crossed the Firehole River over the bridge, enjoyed the view of its cold swift stream, and headed back to the parking lot.
We passed by very pretty turquoise colored hot springs with steam coming from the surface. Then, on the side of the paved path, just in front of the Old Faithful Inn, we saw two bison peacefully lying on the grass. We came too close to them, in order to take pictures, and they were absolutely indifferent to us and other people. However, it is dangerous to approach these animals. Even though they seem tranquil they can jump up very quickly, run and gore a person.
Visitors have to keep a safe distance of at least 100 yards (91 meters) from bears and wolves and 25 yards (23 meters) from all other animals. Bison, elk, and bears are known for killing and injuring people. Wild animals need space and don’t want to be disturbed, especially during spring season, when they are with their cubs and calves. Stay safe while enjoying the great outdoors in Yellowstone.