A Web Site for Chuck & Mieko Simon

September 21st — in Yellowstone

We saw a lot of bison.   They are difficult to get a decent photograph since they are dark and seem to always have their head down.   Overheard a waiter telling the story of a bison that didn't have its head down — head up and rammed right into the door of his car!   Maybe head down is not all that bad.

We were on our way to the first geyser of the day.   There are numerous geysers and surprisingly they are all different.   One would have thought “seen one geyser — seen them all”, but that is not the case.   At this particular one, the bisons were there for perhaps the warmth of the ground although it was not really cold.

Upper Geyser Basin

Steam lifting off the geyser basin is an reflection of the temperature.   Differing color is a reflection of different temperatures.   More on this later.   Walking out into the geyser is only permitted on wooden walkway.   At this location, there was a posted story about a boy who stepped off the walkway only to break through what appears to be solid ground.   It is only a crust over near boiling water and mud.   He died of massive burns.

Upper Geyser Basin.   In this series of photographs the walkways and handrails are only visible in the background.

The colors are almost like those of the coral at isolated ocean islands.   In many one can see the depth, but not the bottom, of the geyser.   Amazingly, there are a few clumps of grass and the bison seem to love being here.

Back at our car, there was an open top jeep or something similar.   This black crow was really interested in it.   The jeep was loaded with personal effects which I thought the crow would dirty up with its droppings.

Lower Geyser Basin

In the Lower Geyser Basin is a large area of thermal activity just as the other “basins” of Yellowstone. Our stop here was to view the Fountain Paint Pot.   It is the blue pool geyser below.   If I have identified things correctly, the three to the right is the Twig Geyser.   The last photograph of this group is of the Firehole River.

This is the Gibbon River and Gibbon Falls.   We are driving north toward the Norris Geyser Basin which will be our next stop.

Norris Geyser Basin is a huge area consisting of a large number of geysers that each have their own characteristics.   One of the areas is Porcelain Basin, which we were visiting.   (The altitude now is about 7,500 feet and surprisingly, it was chilly on our walk out into the basin.   Mieko at least had long sleeves and something much warmer than my bare arm short sleeves.)

Many of Norris' features release acidic water.   Amazingly living organisms thrive even in the extreme environments of these acid hot springs!   The overflow channels of geysers and hot springs are often brightly colored with minerals and microscopic life forms.   Hardy, microscopic, lime-green Cyanidium algae thrives in these warm acid waters.

We're on the move again — driving on the Firehole Canyon Drive.   This is a one-way road because it was quite narrow at a number of locations.   Stopping was possible where there was something to see.   The first two photographs are of some very weird rock formations in the canyon walls.   Almost looks like a bunch of blown-on fuzz.

Midway Geyser Basin

The highlight of the Midway Geyser Basin is the Grand Prismatic Spring.   This is a huge spring producing a huge quantity of hot water.   Even in the runoff into the Firehole River, steam could be seen rising from the water.   The Grand Prismatic Spring is shown in all the photographs below except the first one and the two at the end of the group, the blue lesser pools.

More bison on our way back to our lodging at Grant Village.   Near Grant Village was a building for lectures by the Park Rangers.   It was not open but feeding just off the parking lot was this mule deer.

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