Originally posted July 1, 2010
This was the longest day because we completed the caldera loop of Yellowstone. We saw more geysers, fumaroles, and mud pots that one can imagine. This loop is a round trip over 100 miles, so we started the day very early. We started off at the West Thumb Basin. These steam pools and vents are right off of Yellowstone Lake. The story is that fishermen would catch fish and cook them in these hot pools. They called it the “hook and cook”. Can you imagine the sulphuric taste? This place smelled so bad.
After West Thumb, we hopped in the car for another 17 miles to Old Faithful. The map for Yellowstone said that it takes 1 hour to go 17 miles. We immediately were stopped in animal jam traffic. We broke through the crazy tourists, to find a hilly ride all the way. We reached the Continental Divide twice on this road. It seemed we were the only ones on the road. Then we got to Old Faithful. It was like we went through the forest and walked through the gates of Disneyland. There were thousands of people.
I took a picture from the second story of the gift shop to show the madness.
We saw the geyser blow and then went on a bike ride to all of the geysers and vents that are behind Old Faithful. It was a 3-mile bike ride and a lot of people were walking this trail in flip flops!!!!!! It was about 6 pm at this time but it doesn’t become dark until after 11 p.m. so we continued our journey.
Even though this has been a National Park since 1872, there are a lot of surprises. We went to Norris Basin and entered the parking lot not knowing what it was all about. We walked down and the sign said 1.5-mile loop. Gerald and I were done with the exercise after our bike trip. Lexi kept us going and we were glad we did. It was a tour of thermal features. There was Steamboat geyser, which is actually the tallest geyser in the park. It can shoot 300 ft. high but the last time it did this was 2005. The Porkchop geyser actually exploded in 1989, throwing rocks 200 feet in the air at tourists. I would have called these “rocks” boulders. The earth is so hot that the trail has raised boardwalks. You can feel the heat off of the wood. It was a great day and we got back to the trailer around 9:30 pm.