Thursday, August 26, 2010

Aug 25 - more Yellowstone, part 2

After lunch, we decided to meander back to the Great Fountain Geyser area to see if maybe we could get lucky with the eruption. Yes indeed! Randy's geyser book described the pre-eruption sequence, and it had started just a little bit before we got there. This wondrous geyser is the fan-type, which means instead of going straight up like Old Faithful, it fans out. The hole where the water shoots up is about 14' wide. And Great Fountain erupts between 5 – 7 times in a sequence, then lies dormant for about 12 hours. We were again lucky – there were 5 episodes today. About 40 ' wide and 100' tall at its biggest. I hate to say “impressive” again, so instead I'll settle on breathtaking.

We took a vote and decided that Randy is like the Great Fountain Geyser – he erupts 5-7 times (sneezing) in the morning and then is more or less human for the rest of the day.

We visited the Fountain Paint Pots area next, enjoying more geysers, fumaroles, and nice colors due to the bacterial mats and minerals. Then we stopped in the Old Faithful area – and it was going off again! We managed to see Old Faithful Geyser erupt 4 times during our Yellowstone visits. As Randy said, we had great geyser karma! We stopped to see the new Visitor Center. Impressive new building with a huge window that overlooks Old Faithful. Cork floor in the exhibit area – a nice touch. The boys liked the Young Scientist area. Good information and a nice presentation, although it was a bit juvenile for their age. We finished up with some huckleberry ice cream at the Old Faithful Lodge, a sweet end to the day at the geyser fields.

We drove back to Flagg Ranch and had dinner in the restaurant there. Then Bryn, Reed and Bret took the van along the Grassy Lake Road to watch for wildlife. We turned around when the road narrowed, turned to gravel, and the sign said “Idaho 47 mi.” So we drove back, and saw one deer from the road. We went back to where Randy saw the moose, no luck. But we saw a likely-looking road that went along the river, the sign said Teton National Forest – Sheffield Creek. So off we went. After awhile the road got very narrow and we couldn't turn around, so we had to back out! The boys were full of giggles when I nearly hit a tree (pine needles and branches don't count), and it was a fun adventure. Unfortunately, no moose or other animals. After we were back, Bryn and Bret took a short moose-hunting walk, but again no luck. Fingers crossed for tomorrow, we're returning to the Grand Tetons.

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