The Family Stone Part I: Upper Geyser Basin
My family has not gone on vacation together for almost twenty years. This fall we attempted to remedy that, sort of. Jason and I traveled to Yellowstone National Park near the end of August with my parents and my brother Andrew’s family for an extended weekend overflowing with hydrothermal masterpieces.
Thanks to our well-timed reservations, made nine months in advance, we were all able to secure accommodations in the Old Faithful area. Jason and I, along with Drew’s clan, stayed in the frontier cabins adjacent to the lodge and my parents resided at the Old Faithful Inn. The cabins were definitely a relic of a bygone era. They by no means were sophisticated. However, despite their simplicity, they were tidy and, more importantly, literally a minute away from Old Faithful and the other geological oddities of the Upper Geyser Basin.
It’s difficult to describe Yellowstone to those that have never been there because it seems unbelievable even as you are witnessing it: the pockets of steam peppering the horizon, the vibrant pools and stinky mudpots, the streaks of living color turning the ground into a rainbow, and, of course, the fickle geysers. The Upper Geyser Basin holds the majority of the world’s active geysers. From Old Faithful, which erupts roughly every 90 minutes, to Giant, which hasn’t erupted since 2010, Upper Geyser’s performers are a fascinating natural phenomenon that will keep you hurrying down boardwalks in search of the next upsurge surprise. During the afternoon we spent in the area, we watched some spectacular steam and spout explosions. Grotto, Turban, Spasmodic, Sawmill, Lion, Anemone, and Old Faithful all showed us their geyser stuff. We were really trying to catch Grand Geyser’s routine too but we missed it by minutes.
The Upper Geyser Basin was extraordinary. It’s amazing how nature’s genius can transform a little groundwater and some magma heat into an assortment of majestic and powerful spray displays. I wish we had had another day to spend near Old Faithful but we had other park wonders to see. You will hear all about those marvels next week. Will you be able to quell your boiling curiosity until then?