Yellowstone: Poppin’ Bubbly

There is so much to love about Yellowstone, but what separates it from other beautiful national parks is the entrancing thermal activity.  It’s spouting geysers remind us of the danger just below the surface, and their shimmery white height forces onlookers to stay awhile and enjoy the show.  It’s cerulean and sapphire pools mesmerize the passersby and invite us for a deeper look.  It’s hydrothermal waters and mud from the depths bubble along with or without our notice, ever busy at their work.  And in the midst of it all, we realize that we are witnessing parts of creation that our moving and changing that we are otherwise not privy to.  Let’s have a look at this superheated activity…

Naturally, we began with Old Faithful, which spouts its innards approximately every 90 minutes. (Experiencing the hydrothermal activity, I have a hard time separating my language from a more Sci-Fi bent than usual, but I hope that adds to your appreciation of these wonders, rather than detract from it.)

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Old Faithful is in the Upper Geyser Basin, and there are plenty more geysers and activity in this area, with a boardwalk to lead the way…

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The driving route from the Upper Geyser Basin naturally takes you to the Middle Geyser Basin, which features the Grand Prismatic Pool!  Arriving at the basin, you cross the creek and the first stop is the  Excelsior Geyser Crater.

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You can see how clear the water is at the edges…

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Up next, is Grand Prismatic Pool.  It was a windy day for a visit, and the steam was blowing directly over the pool, so it was impossible to get a clear picture of the pool.  These will show you some of its glory…

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As you walk along the boardwalk past the pool, you are walking above what appears to be sand with clear water flowing over it…

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And then we headed over to the Lower Geyser Basin for mud pots!

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One more note about the hydrothermal areas, they stink…literally.  It is the smell of sulfur.  If you have ever lived on a well, you may have experienced something similar.  Chris and I used to turn up our noses at that aroma in the dry spells of summer, when our well would exude it in to a house we were renting.  That prepared us for the smell.  My Mother, on the other hand, was unaccustomed and unamused.  You can catch a hint of displeasure in this photo…

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She got used to running as the wind changed, to keep ahead of the smell.

And so the pools, geysers and mud pots of Yellowstone made their way in to our memories with their brilliance and awfulness.

If you would like to learn more about how this thermal activity works, I did take the below informational photos at Old Faithful’s Visitor Center…

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