It might look complicated, but it was a simple breakfast

And here we are!

Old Faithful.

The Prismatic Geysers

Two sets of Junior Ranger twins!

Desmond and Gretchen talk to Ranger Jeff at Black Sand Geysers

June 26, 2017

Our big day to see Yellowstone! We started with a quick breakfast and coffee, Desmond carved several Harry Potter wands for some spells he hopes to use on our journey, he loves to whittle. Then we got in the car and drove up to Old Faithful. We saw a few bison and one or two elk. The day was beautiful, sunny and warm. The Old Faithful geyser erupts every 90 minutes or so, and there’s a calculation sheet in the kids’ Jr. Ranger packets, which Gretchen naturally filled out, and got me to help time the duration of the geyser. There were several hundred people there, in varying degrees of loudness, sitting on convenient benches placed in a semi-circular display area. The geyser was still pretty great, and its really remarkable how predictable this thing is.
We had a nice picnic near the visitor’s center, then packed up and went to the Black Sand Geysers, where we went on a fascinating ranger-led talk with Ranger Jeff. Gretchen, of course, asked a ton of questions, and we learned a whole lot. Ranger Jeff reminded us all to make sure to put down our cameras and cell phones from time to time, and appreciate this landscape without all the distractions.

We then went to prismatic springs, this huge and remarkably beautiful cauldron of colors and steam. It was crowded, but we managed ok. We bumped into Ranger Jeff again, who talked to us about the animals of Yellowstone, the plants and geology, and really inspired Gretchen with science and nature. Gretchen asked Ranger Jeff about the bison scat and wolf tracks around the edge of the geyser, and wondered if the animals ever get hurt in the hot waters. The ranger told us that they rarely ever get hurt here–the bison and wolves have lived around these features for millennia and have adapted to the strangeness.

We wandered our way up to the Fountain Paint Pots, burbling sulfuric mud pits and colorful blue pools of hot water… it was an odd sight to see amidst the green forests and mountains. On our way north to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone we got stuck in a “bison jam”, one of the all-too-common traffic delays caused by bison crossing the road.
We took a side trip on the Firehole Lake Drive, and got to see the White Dome Geyser erupt, which apparently is a very rare thing.
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is a weird sight; yellow rock and steep cliffs, constantly eroding, with an impressive waterfall that spills into an active geyser– creating a huge plume of steam and mist. Gretchen longed to hike to the bottom, but we were too tired.

We were pretty hungry so we stopped in a restaurant to eat, bought more bits and baubles, then headed back to our camp at Grant Village.
We were too late to make it back for the ranger talk, unfortunately, and too late even for a campfire. We decided it’d be a good time to teach the kids how to play solitaire, which they both really enjoyed playing together, ironically enough. We played cards for a while and then went to sleep.