In previous trips to Yellowstone we hadn’t driven Firehole Canyon Drive so we decided to do some exploring there, especially since there was a waterfall to see right off the road. I was still hobbled with walking so it took me time to get in and out of the car and walk to wherever we wanted to look. We stopped at Firehole Falls and Scott took quite a lot of shots, including the traditional “waterfall with Sue” photo. We have those everywhere. Yay! This was actually a very scenic falls with the large rock outcropping in the center that had water cascading over it.
Farther up Firehole Canyon, there was a scenic whitewater area with water rushing through and tourists hanging off rocks to take photos. We also saw a mother elk and calf walking here, unconcerned by our presence.
Fountain Flats Drive is always a great place to spot wildlife and we had several bison sightings, some of which were quite close to our car. As always, people were getting right up close to them because certainly it’s safe (cough, cough), and in one spot I finally got my phone out and the video ready to capture a potentially viral video of people being stampeded by charging bison. But thankfully, all were safe, although there was some half-hearted charging by a couple of bison that caused some running and screaming which was not impressive enough to go viral.
We parked and slowly walked the Lower Geyser Basin which was delightfully uncrowded. The thermal features had some extra water as it had rained and snowed in the week before we arrived. Red Spouter was sending up fountains and other small bubbling geysers were impressive.
We’ve also never gone on Firehole Lake Drive so we checked it out and right next to the road was a lovely blue pool called Broken Egg Spring. Those turquoise waters are so neat!
There were geysers going off in Firehole Lake where Scott got out and walked around and I stayed in the car. Also lots of steam. Near the end of the loop is White Dome Geyser which has regular eruptions but we didn’t manage to see one.
We headed to Whisky Flats Picnic Area, where @outdoorcook made us a tasty lunch. We brought a disposable charcoal grill with steaks and potatoes to grill up. He was a little disappointed with the performance of the grill because it didn’t light up evenly, but it did work and we had a yummy, hot lunch in Yellowstone. It was fun and the people around us having boring old sandwiches were jealous, I’m sure.
We had hoped to do some extensive walking and hiking around the Old Faithful area this trip with the smaller crowds, but it was not to be. I was still in no shape for much walking but we got to the geyser in time to see it erupt along with a rather impressively large crowd. Then Scott got a backpack with supplies and I got my book and the two-way radio and headed to the Visitor Center. I did some shopping in the bookstore, then sat on a bench in front of the picture windows and read. I also saw the geyser go off again, so that was a treat. Scott hiked up to Observation Point and got to see the whole basin with a bird’s eye view.
The radios worked great, nobody got lost, and we headed off to Black Sands Basin which was another new area for us. I really wanted to see it and walk the loop but it took us a while and involved some tears. But I made it and Scott said I was adventurous and brave. (He’s so sweet!)
Iron Spring Creek meanders through this area and it was interesting to see the hot water draining off the higher area into this creek. Random geysers went off, steam erupted, but the creek just kept going and absorbed the thermal matter while looking lovely.
Back along the boardwalk we found Emerald Pool which was green. Surprisingly.
This is Handkerchief Pool. In the early days of Yellowstone, people would put handkerchiefs in this pool and they would be swallowed up and then return to the surface. Um, the handkerchiefs, not the people. I have such a clear memory of hearing that story as a little girl that I’ve always thought I actually saw a ranger do it when we went to Yellowstone. But the guidebook says that during the 1920’s someone shoved logs into the pool which basically killed it. They were later removed and it has come back to life with a small geyser but nobody has put handkerchiefs in for almost a hundred years so I didn’t actually see that happen. Interesting what our child minds do. I’m guessing we were on a ranger-led hike and he told us the story and my little mind was so impressed with the big awesome ranger that my memory made the story real.
I was completely done in after Black Sands Basin, so when we stopped at Biscuit Basin Loop, I stayed in the car with my book. Scott took off and got some lovely shots of Jewel Geyser.
We had dinner at the Red Lotus because we know the food is good and it was packed with tour buses of Chinese folks who were also staying at our hotel. But we had a great dinner and I got this in my fortune cookie. Score!