Stoned Again Part II

Posted by on September 14, 2015 at 9:48 pm :: No Comments

Our last full day in Yellowstone, after eating a large breakfast at the Lake Yellowstone Hotel, we moseyed over to West Thumb’s assortment of geysers, pools and mudpots with my parents. Right on the shores of Yellowstone Lake, West Thumb’s hydrothermal oddities seem like a replacement for a beach dreamed up by Dali.

The Thumb Paint Pots are a field of miniature mud volcanoes 3-4 feet high. There is nothing smallish about their peculiarity.

The Thumb Paint Pots are a field of miniature mud volcanoes 3-4 feet high. There is nothing smallish about their peculiarity.

Following their tour of West Thumb, my parents departed for home and Jason and I continued our park explorations on our own. We took what we thought would be a short stop at Upper Geyser Basin and ended up staying there the entire afternoon in a very ADD fashion.

Black Pool used to be murky with growth until it got too hot for microorganisms to handle.

Black Pool used to be murky with growth until it got too hot for microorganisms to handle.

Observation Point gave a different perspective of an old favorite.

Observation Point gave a different perspective of an old favorite.

First, we decided to hike to Observation Point, which gives a 160-foot perspective of Old Faithful’s bursts, and then we trekked to Solitary Geyser, a feature changed forever by us hopeless sapiens. After that, we thought we might as well stroll around and see if any features were currently erupting or would be erupting soon. We discovered that Castle and Riverside Geysers were scheduled to gush within the next few hours and, geyser gods permitting, we could probably catch both shows and read a few pages of some good books besides. It sounded like as decent of a plan as any.

Castle Geyser erupts about every 14 hours and has one of the most interesting cones in Upper Geyser Basin.

Castle Geyser erupts about every 14 hours and has one of the most interesting cones in Upper Geyser Basin.

I am proud to report that our reading and waiting were conducted expertly. We witnessed Castle’s ramparts flooded with insistent fountains and Riverside’s rainbow gracefully arched across the Firehole River. It was quite the double feature.

This feature was named Belgian Pool in honor of a Belgian man that fell in and died many years ago. Jason's shadow slipped in but suffered no serious injuries from the incident.

This feature was named Belgian Pool in honor of a Belgian man that fell in and died many years ago. Jason’s shadow slipped in but suffered no serious injuries from the incident.

With herds of bison roaming freely across unaltered hillsides, Hayden Valley seems lost in time.

With herds of bison roaming freely across unaltered hillsides, Hayden Valley seems lost in time.

In total, we wandered about five of six miles around the basin, often in circles, before the sun called it a day and we had to too. I guess time flies when you are staring at pressurized water heated deep underground by magma from an active volcano.

Riverside Geyser produces 75-foot columns during its picturesque outbursts, which happen roughly every six hours.

Riverside Geyser produces 75-foot columns during its picturesque outbursts, which happen roughly every six hours.

So next time you have a family member cancel on the same vacation two years in a row, be unperturbed. Be happy in the knowledge that your trip will go on and your enjoyment of it should too. For life is too short not to stop and smell the sulfur.

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