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Geyser Gazers

After my fishing break, it was time to venture back into the Park to check out the thermal Granddaddy of them all – the Upper Geyser Basin Area – one of the three large geyser basins along the Firehole River – the area where the best known – Old Faithful – is located – and, where a number of the other geysers have eruptions that are predicted by the rangers.

I was to quickly learn that geyser eruptions can range from a few minutes to days. Some never seem to stop. Others can be dormant for years or decades before erupting with the roar of a jet engine. Some geysers are highly predictable, such as Old Faithful, whose eruptions can be pinned down within 10 minutes by experienced park rangers with 90 percent certainty. Catching other geysers erupt can be a once-in-a-lifetime proposition…sounded like it would be an interesting day

And, that’s in part why there are “geyser gazers”…

Yup, just like my solar eclipse chaser friend from the Grand Canyon – Dave – there are geyser gazers too. I had heard of the “wolf watchers” in Yellowstone but the idea of geyser gazers was new to me

Well, like so many times on this journey, a new actor enters stage left…enter Will…

I am walking along the boardwalk when I see Will running towards me yelling something about “Beehive is getting ready to erupt…”.

Well, I had just passed Beehive and had read it was very unpredictable so how could this guy know it was going to blow – well, seems geyser gazers know their stuff and Will sure knew his…so, backtracked and jogged along behind Will and joined up with a few other geyser gazers

like the others scattered around the basin this day, they zipped around some paths on bikes; stationed themselves at key geysers; kept in touch by radio; consulted their notebooks and compared notes with other gazers – and when someone spotted eruption indicators – the race was on to get to the site and see it for themselves.

Well, soon enough Will is the Pied Piper of the geyser tourists – including yours truly. And, like my “trout magic” day I posted about over in Colorado, today was “geyser magic day” ☺

Will had it all dialed in; made some great calls as to where to head next; made an audible when it was called for…made my day a real treat…

I actually saw numerous geysers thanks to Will’s help – I have highlighted them in red/italics …and, thanks to Will, I avoided the long waits in the “eruption window” and was in the right place at the right time for Castle Geyser (below)…a great day in an amazing place – thanks Will

By the way, if you ever plan on heading there, check out the site he and so many others help keep updated:

Old Faithful erupts more frequently than any of the other big geysers, although it is not the largest or most regular geyser in the park, it reaches heights of 106 – 184 feet

Beehive Geyser is magnificent. Eruptions usually occur twice each day with displays lasting 4 – 5 minutes. During an eruption, the narrow cone acts like a nozzle, projecting the water column to heights of 130 – 190 ft

The Lion Group consists of four geysers: Lion, Lioness, Big Cub, and Little Cub, which are all connected underground. Of these Lion has the largest cone and eruptions.

Situated on the bank of the Firehole River, Riverside Geyser is one of the most picturesque geysers in the park. During its 20-minute eruptions, a 75 foot column of water arches gracefully over the river

Grotto Geyser erupts about every eight hours. It splashes to a height of 10 feet for 1 1/2 to more than 10 hours. The weirdly shaped cone, that gives this geyser its name, may have resulted from geyserite covering the trunks of trees that once grew there.

An eruption of Grand Geyser, the tallest predictable geyser in the world, occurs every 7 – 15 hours. A classic fountain geyser, Grand erupts from a large pool with powerful bursts rather than a steady column like Old Faithful. An average eruption lasts 9 – 12 minutes and consists of 1 – 4 bursts, sometimes reaching 200 feet

Castle Geyser has the largest cone and may be the oldest of all geysers in the basin. Its eruption pattern has changed considerably throughout its recorded history. Castle is currently erupting about every 10 – 12 hours. A water eruption frequently reaches 90 feet and lasts about 20 minutes. The water phase is followed by a noisy steam phase lasting 30 – 40 minutes

And, I was thrilled to be there when it erupted in late afternoon light – the time of day that a rainbow in the mist would be possible – I was not disappointed…

There were numerous thermal features that were colorful beyond belief…

Long a favored destination for park visitors, Morning Glory Pool was named in the 1880s for its remarkable likeness to its namesake flower.

Truly deserving its name, Beauty Pool is noted for its rich, blue water framed by rainbow-colored bacteria. Its plumbing system is closely related to the neighboring Chromatic Spring.

Especially striking for its complex series of ledges, elaborate border ornamentation, and deep blue waters, Doublet Pool is an attractive subject

As you can see, there was no shortage of subjects that day….have a look – I hope you enjoy as much as I did

I came to the Basin expecting to spend a few hours at most – I actually left just before sunset – an incredible place – one, as I hope you all have an opportunity to visit one day…

That’s all for now…take care…see you down the road…

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Wow, I thought I was lucky to see Beehive. You did GREAT/1

    September 5, 2012
    • Stephen #

      thanks – it was an incredible day at the geysers – thanks to Will and the other geyser gazers, I was able to see more than I anticipated – thanks for following along and taking a moment to comment

      September 14, 2012
  2. Will #

    Stephen, I am so glad I was able to make your day in Yellowstone a wonderful expierence. Thank you so much for writing this! Will B. – The geyser gazer

    January 14, 2013
    • Stephen #

      really enjoyed meeting you – your knowledge and advice about where and when to see the geysers really did make my day!! thanks for all the insights you shared with me and so many others that day – take care

      January 14, 2013

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