Grand Prismatic Spring, Old Faithful, Geysers Hill, Overlook, Firehole Canyon Drive

7/30/19 – Tuesday

We were on the road by 8 am, no easy task for 7 people, but worth it because we saw some animals and made it to the Grand Prismatic Spring (and Midway Geiser Basin which includes the Excelsior Geyser) before the crowds. John and I had never managed to see this part of Yellowstone because it was usually overflowing with parked cars and lines of people. The only bad element this time was how foggy it was, so our views were more limited. When we got to the Grand Prismatic Spring we did manage to notice that there were people looking down on us from a spot above. We could certainly see how that would be a way better view. Later that day I asked a ranger how people got there: you can park at the Fairy Falls trail parking or Biscuit Basin parking (the latter is larger), then walk across the bridge on the path to Fairy Falls and the Overlook (overlooking Grand Prismatic Spring). Here is what we saw that morning, before we knew about the Overlook:


Midway Geiser Basin
Excelsior Geyser Crater
Excelsior Geyser
Excelsior Geyser
Excelsior Geyser

From the poster about Grand Prismatic Spring: It’s the largest and one of the most brilliant of Yellowstone’s hot springs. It stretches 200 feet (61 meters) across. The high temperature (160 degrees F, 70 degrees C) ensures that the hot spring is often cloaked in steam.

“Deep beneath us magma from an active volcano heats water that rises to the surface through fissures in the rocks. The result is a hot spring that pours almost 500 gallons of hot water each minute into the Firehole River. Minerals dissolved in the hot water are deposited and gradually build the gracefully terraced shoulders of this feature. … The blue color is created by sunlight scattered by fine particles suspended in the water….the yellow, orange and brown colors encircling the spring …are caused by thermophiles-heat loving microorganisms. These microbes contain colorful pigments that allow them to make energy from sunlight and thrive in the harsh conditions of the hot springs.”

Grand Prismatic Spring
Grand Prismatic Spring
Grand Prismatic Spring

Along path back to car
Justin and Jamie at Excelsior Geyser

As soon as we arrived at Old Faithful we found out it would blow within the next 20-30 minutes so we stationed ourselves to watch. Later we had lunch at a picnic table nearby, then saw it go off even higher.

Old Faithful
Old Faithful
Joe before our second view of Old Faithful blowing.

Next we hiked the Geyser Hill:

Goggle Spring
Beach Spring
Heart Spring
John and Lily getting photos of the microbes.
Microbes in hot spring

Then we drove to the Biscuit Basin parking lot and walked the Fairy Falls Trail to the sign for Overlook, then saw much better views of the Grand Prismatic Spring.


Hot Spring on Fairy Falls Trail to Overlook
At Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook: Trish, Joe, John
Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook
Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook
Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook

Tacos for dinner thanks to Justin and Jamie. Lily and I had “traveling tacos” that she learned about in Girl Scouts: Start with a small bag of Fritos, add chili, then your toppings. Yum!

About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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