It's our third and final day at Yellowstone. Jacob is busy working so it's the Flowers family going back to explore our favorite places.
At 10:45am the line to get in has backed up a bit. These motorcycles were cutting between cars to make their way to the front, and the car in front of us was having none of that. They got out, confronted them, and the motorcycles actually pulled to the side to let the car go first.
Our first stop of the day is the Grand Prismatic Spring overlook. It was a fun hike yesterday, so today we'll do it again. I parked the truck at the very end of the parking lot.
Just more walking miles to add to our total.
It's a bit busier today than yesterday.
But the view when you get to the top is worth it.
It's a bit more crowded here.
But a nice French couple took a photo for us.
We ended up taking the long way down, which avoided some of the crowds.
And I'm still amazed by the rainbow colors you can see in the steam.
Leaving the parking lot and heading further into the park, the traffic suddenly came to a crawl. Once we got further along we could see what was causing the backup. A Bison decided to walk in the center of the street. This is him moving to the side to let people pass.
And finally deciding to move over into the grass.
When we got close enough, Theresa called the Old Faithful hotline to see when it would be erupting. The answer was - any minute now!
No reason to look for a good parking space, I pulled into the first one I saw far away and we hustled to get to the viewing area.
All these people here is a good sign!
We stood behind all the people sitting by the edge and on the benches.
And just 5 minutes after we parked the car, it started going off! We got lucky today that is was a few minute after their prediction!
Amazing. During each eruption it can release 3700-8400 gallons of water each time, and last for 1.5-5 minutes.
After the eruption it certainly does clear out a bit.
In the visitor center I wanted to make sure to watch at least 1 documentary showing the history of the park.
Ian likes to get us up close to the screen.
After the movie, we found someone had lost a credit card. We headed up to the ranger desk to turn in.
For turning it in, they were rewarded with stickers!
Seeing Old Faithful so many times has been great, but there's another geyser here that is high on our list too. It is the favorite of many of the rangers here. Grand Geyser is higher and longer than Old Faithful, but the problem is that it only erupts every 7 hours or so. That, and the window of prediction is a little wider. While Old Faithful is +/-10 minutes, Grand Geyser is +/-90 minutes! And that's for their 90% confidence estimation! You could be sitting there for 3 hours and still not see it erupt! It's 1:30pm now and the next eruption is expected at or around 2:30pm. It's already possible that we'll miss it, but we were in such a rush to get to Old Faithful, we left everything for our picnic lunch and things to do back in the truck.
We made our way back to the truck, grabbed all our gear, and headed back out to the Upper Geyser Basin where so many of these geyser go off.
Castle Geyser is very unpredictable, and even in the sign above, they didn't know when it would go off today. It was randomly throwing water 5-10 feet into the air, but that's not what we're here for.
There was an announcement that Beehive Geyser was going off soon and sure enough, we could see it erupting across the field. Those tourists are getting sprayed! When we walked over later, the walkway was still wet!
But this is what we're really here for. Grand Geyser! As we were walking up it started going off! It's 2:05pm, 25 minutes prior to the prediction, but we made it in time!
And it was definitely cool!
Instead of shooting out in a single direction, the geysers here shoot out in multiple directions, almost like the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas!
I'm glad we didn't miss it!
We continued our walk on the boardwalk around Old Faithful, seeing hot, sputtering pools along the way.
Ah, this is the Beehive Geyser we could see from afar.
Because we've already got all our stuff, and because we still haven't eaten lunch yet, we decided to have a seat on the back side of the boardwalk and watch the next eruption of Old Faithful from there.
Depending on which way the wind is blowing, you might see the large column of water, or you might just see a cloud of steam that's in the way.
While we were sitting there, there was a little bit of drama that I helped out with. This area is no longer on the boardwalk, but is paved and has gravel on either side. I was watching the people walk by and recalled seeing a younger asian couple and an older asian gentleman with them. I looked away for a bit, but the next thing I saw when I looked up was the older gentleman lying in the gravel and the younger two continuing onward. I hopped up to see if he was alright, and he was staggering to get to his feet by the time I reach him. He didn't appear to speak English when I asked if he was okay, and was just trying to get up and walk off. Unfortunately I didn't get close enough to him to catch him when he stumbled again and went to the ground. I got the attention of the couple who was with him and ran to the hotel to use the phone and summon the rangers. A short time later an ambulance came to attend him. Most likely dehydration because it was pretty warm out. Theresa and I were talking and saying that it was really good he didn't pass out while walking the boardwalk near these boiling pools! Yikes!
Well that got my heart racing. We continued back along the pathway, over towards Castle Geyser.
It might not be a large eruption, but it's cool to see how it's built itself up.
And see the little waterfalls as the water settles back down.
The kids have been working hard to complete their Junior Ranger booklets. They got sworn in as Junior Rangers.
The Rangers here and at so many of the National Parks do a great job with the kids. It's not just about handing over a badge when they see the book. It's an interaction. An experience. A chance to share their love of the park with someone else who will hopefully grow to love it as much as they do.
The patch is what Yellowstone has been giving out for those who complete the Junior Ranger program. The wooden badge, like all the other parks have, is what they're moving towards. If you remember, I had to pay $3 for each Junior Ranger book here. I asked if I could pay the $3 and get both. Turns out today is the birthday of the National Park Service and they are giving away the books for free! Well that works out well!
Looking around the display areas.
Did you know that Yellowstone contains 2/3rds of all the geysers on the entire planet?
Oh my. They've found quite the collection of plush critters, haven't they.
Well, if you're going to get something, might as well be something special to here. A Bison!
And as we were driving out, who would we happen to see walking along the road?
Alli is showing her Bison, that I think we're calling Ralphie (for the Colorado Buffs), to the real Bison.
And just a few more animals as we leave.
Yellowstone, it's been an amazing adventure! There is an amazing variety of things to see and do here. I'd love to come back and explore more. Between this park and Yosemite, it's difficult to pick a favorite.