May 30th --Geysers, hot springs in the Yellowstone NP--


It was a chilly night. An additional blanket kept my body warm but my face was still cold. It reminded me a winter in Kyoto. When I was an university student, I lived in a small room with poor thermal isolation near the Ginkakuji temple. When I woke up in winter mornings, my face was cold although my body was warm in futon. Lying in futon, I could see white breath in winter mornings. Because of this condition, I couldn't get out of the sleeping bag until 9:00 this morning.

After breakfast I put all my stuff in my Jeep and went to a parking lot in the Norris Geyser Basin. Before going to the trail, I had to finish yesterday's report. I stayed in my car and typed my laptop. It was about noon when I started to walk the trail. I saw many hot springs and pools in emerald green with rotten egg smell. There are two major geysers in Norris area, the Steamboat Geyser and the Echinus Geyser. The former is the largest in the world but it erupts irregularly. When I went there, it said, "Last eruption on May 2". I couldn't bet on this. The latter is also large and it erupts every about 35 to 75 minutes. So I decided to wait for this guy. While I was waiting, I ate crackers, wrote some letters, and talked with a good couple from Seattle. It was gusty and I saw two dead trees fall down by wind. After one hour wait, the geyser started to come. It was around 14:00. The splashed hot water was about 2 meters high and about 1 meter diameter. People in downwind had much steam and hot water, It was very funny to see people avoiding water. After a couple of minutes, it became calm again. It was really impressive.

After that I drove south to the Old Faithful where they have a very famous geyser called Old Faithful. It erupts every about 80 minutes. On the way I found a tiny hot spring along the Gibbon River. I touched the water. It was pretty warm, slightly warmer than public bath in Japan. Again I missed the hot spring in Japan. I got to the Old Faithful at around 16:00. I had a burger break at a cafe. An waitress was very friendly and we talked much about hot springs. When I left the cafe, I asked an casher, "When was the last eruption of Old Faithful?" She answered, "it was at about 15:30, so next will be at around 16:50." I asked, "How do you know that?" "The ranger station calls us after every eruption." This is really convenient and that's why this geyser is called "Faithful". There were many benches around the geyser. I sat on one of these and waited for some time. It erupted almost on time! The boiling water went pretty high and it lasted for about 5 minutes. After the eruption, someone applauded. It was also impressive but I would prefer the Echinus because you can't tell when it erupts. Yes, too much faithfulness sometimes lose her appeal.

It's time to go south. There is the Yellowstone Lake in the southern area. This lake has a large bay called West Thumb. West Thumb is a typical caldera and they also have a geyser basin on its shore. On the way I crossed a couple of continental devides, indicating that I was on the ridge of Rockeys. I drove for about 1 hour and got to the basin. I walked along the trail. There are many hot springs and pools, too. Among them the Blue Funnel Spring was the most impressive in its color and the Fishing Cone was the cutest. The color of West Thumb was also beautiful in deep blue. Along the trail I saw a deer having grass. I had a great evening on the lake shore.

I drove south again and went out of the park at the South Entrance. Along the way I still saw dead forest. This morning I asked a ranger why there were so many dead forest and knew that this was caused by a big fire in 1988. But this knowledge didn't help removing my pain. The only hope was that many young trees were coming out of the ground. I drove the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. memorial parkway and soon got to the Grand Taton National Park. I reached the Colter Bay of the Jackson Lake, where I decided to camp tonight. I could see many sharp peeks in white and gray over the blue lake. I really longed for a site overlooking the lake, but I couldn't. I chose a small site and finished a day.

The Echinus Geyser in eruption

A tiny hot spring along the Gibbon River

The eruption of the Old Faithful

A continental devide in the park

Impressive color of the Blue Funnel Spring

The Fishing Cone

One area of dead forest by the fire in 1988


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Copyright (C) Tadao Hashimoto