Sunday, August 05, 2012

Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park (Part 1)

old faithful
Old Faithful Geyser, Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park
There is more to Old Faithful area than Old Faithful Geyser. However, coming to Old Faithful with limited idea what was around, except Old Faithful, we started by following 95+% of the tourists. We crowded near the Old Faithful area waiting for Old Faithful to erupt. Though I was quiet at all times during the wait, but deep inside me, I was like the whining kids, crying to their mom, "MOM, I am bored! Can we do something else?" And mom had to explain, "shhhh, let us wait a little bit, for in just a short while, Old Faithful will erupt!"
chipmunk (?) entertaining us while waiting for Old Faithful to erupt
After Old Faithful erupted, majority of the crowd disappeared! Instead of disappearing with the crowd, I told my husband to take a walk since I saw a few people up the hill. We did not know that there was a boardwalk trail from Old Faithful to Geyser Hill, to Observation Point, and to Morning Glory.
Blue Pool in elevated boardwalk between Old Faithful Viewing area and Geyser Hill
In short, there was a network of trails, some paved, some elevated boardwalk, that starts from Old Faithful area. 
the blue path highlighted follows the trail we took in the South portion of Upper Geyser Basin
the red path is Geyser Hill
source of map:
The hike can be as short as possible, to up to about 5 miles one way to the further geysers in the Upper Basin. I highlighted with blue ink in the above map the route that we took. From Old Faithful Viewing platform, we walked North then looped right down the hill and then back up to Geyser Hill loop, then, continued towards the North Section of the Upper Geyser Basin. Geyser Hill loop (the one I marked with red ink in the map above) is a 1.3 mile loop with over 40 geysers, vents and pools. This post (part 1) will focus only on the Geyser Hill loop.
anemone geyser
Hiker Surprised by Erupting Anemone Geyser
Because there are 40 or more geysers in this small section, it was so fun walking here especially for someone like me who had never been surrounded by so many geysers before. Sometimes, the geyser could surprise you, because the surrounding would change from being quiet to something venting their anger through the rushing of steam and streams upward. The anemone geyser was the first attention-grabbing geyser we experienced in the Geyser Hill coming from the south bottom hill. 
Anemone Geyser, Geyser Hill, Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park
You will see from the above picture that the anemone geyser is actually 2 geysers next to each other. Since they erupt every 10 minutes, they are the easiest to be seen geysers in the Geyser Hill. After the anemone geyser erupted, I enjoyed seeing how the low light made the rocky surface of the geyser looked like a lit stream.
Low Light Hitting the Surface of Anemone Geyser after Eruption
Perhaps, we were so very lucky, that we actually saw a lot of geysers erupting here at Geyser Hill. From being bored waiting at the Old Faithful area, I was filled with excitement and giddiness at Geyser Hill. Who would not, when it seemed, walk after walk, geysers surprised us!
Plume Geyser, Geyser Hill, Upper Geyser Basin
And if it was not enough, after the Plume Geyser, Old Faithful erupted again, this time, we caught a rainbow with it because the sun was behind us!
Old Faithful Geyser from Geyser Hill
Old Faithful erupts every 35- 120 minutes. The first time we saw it erupted, we waited 45 minutes because we belonged to the unlucky 10% where Old Faithful's eruption prediction took longer than the +/- 10 minutes prediction time. After our dinner, we saw a lot of people at the viewing platform, and asked them if they know when Old Faithful will erupt. They told us, "a few minutes, in 7:15 according to the prediction sources inside". It was 7:00 pm, so we told each other since we just finished dinner anyway and had already more than 6 miles of hiking at Grand Teton to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point from String Lake Trail head, "we will take it easy waiting." By 7:10, crowd came in rush, by 7:15, unbelievably, the platform was transformed into one full stadium, by 7:25, people started being fidgety. Now, probably you would understand why I mentioned in the very first paragraph why I was bored waiting. The 15 minutes wait turned out to be 45 minutes wait for us. We were at Geyser Hill when we saw for the second time Old Faithful erupted. But it was a sweet surprise since we did not expect it to erupt in less than 90 minutes, with a bonus of a rainbow. 
Beehive Geyser
However, not all geysers erupted for us at Geyser Hill. We were not able to see Beehive Geyser erupt which was predicted to erupt at 11:45 pm. The other Giant geyser in Geyser Hill, Giantess Geyser, erupts very rarely, occurring only a few times a year, and not predictable unlike the other geysers. 
Reflecting Spring Pond, Geyser Hill
Aside from geysers, the Geyser Hill has scattered clear reflecting spring pool, vents and wildflowers. There were still a few more geysers erupted for us in our walk at Upper Geyser Basin, but I will continue it in my next post. They were not part of Geyser Hill loop, but in the Northern portion of Upper Geyser Basin. We walked and walked until we could no longer get any more pictures because it was dark. In my next post, the other parts of Upper Geyser Basin (Castle, Grand, Daisy and Riverside Geysers), will have more sunset pictures.
Meanwhile, let me leave you with one of our sunset pictures from Upper Geyser Hill, with Old Faithful, taken by my hubby.
Old Faithful @ Sunset
I will continue sharing more of our Upper Geyser exploring in my next post, part 2 of Upper Geyser Basin.

Please click here to continue to Part 2 of Upper Geyser Basin, and click here for Midway Geyser Basin.
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  1. i like the pic of geyser with the rainbow in it..

  2. Those are beautiful Geyser's. I have never seen any in my life till now... Its wonderful to have a look at them through your blog.
    Have a fantastic week :)

  3. Sigh... Yellowstone is one of my dream destinations! I do agree, waiting for 45 mins for the geyser to erupt can make on really bored. Well, at least, you were rewarded with the rainbow bonus. :) I so love the wildflower pic. :)

  4. breathtaking sunset by KTL! and oh, that eruption with a rainbow is equally spectacular. btw, have i told you i love, love, looooooove your fire and ice adventure? lol!

  5. Hi there Betchai...relaxing in the middle of work and whew everything here is making me feel relaxed...the chipmunk entertained me too and all the blue things in that awesome rainbow and that sunset... sigh....happy to discover that I can bloghop while at work here through phone...weeeee love yah!

  6. Outstanding photos, Betchai. I enjoy reading about your geyser hiking, and all the eruption photos too. It's fascinating and amazing to see. I love that "Anemone Geyser after Eruption" with the low light hitting. It's so out of space kind of thing.

    I visited your FineArtAmerica, and love the Spring Wildflowers..

  7. Beautiful pictures! I think the evening Old Faithful eruption is the most beautiful. Inside the hotel's front desk, there is a schedule of when they think the eruption will happen so you don't have to wait needlessly.

    1. thanks Karen, actually our wait of 45 minutes was because the prediction was at 7:15 pm +/- 10 minutes, but when we were there, it was those less than 10% of the time when Old Faithful did not erupt according to the prediction.

  8. I am incredibly jealous... hikes like these are my cup of tea! But I've never seen a live geyser up close so I do dream to be able to witness such a wonderful thing like this. :>

  9. The geyser with the rainbow is magnificent! : )

  10. Nice photography makes me want to jump inside your blog. Congrats.

  11. I have never seen a geiser in my life, certainly not such a big one. One day I will visit Yellowstone.


  12. The chipmunk may not know the danger of the eruption.

    Hope Mother Nature will take care.

    She is beautiful all the while.

  13. Wonderful shots of the geysers and Yellowstone. One of my favorite places. Cute Chipper.

  14. In your pictures the geysers are so incredibly beautiful, I also enjoyed seeing the chipmunk, the pools and wildflowers. Thank you for the Yellowstone tour!

  15. the beauty of nature is so breathtaking. I would love to see this place in person

  16. cool picture of nature and the cute chipmunk.that rainbow is nice, as well.

  17. I heard a lot of Yellowstone, an active volcano in the park am I right. It would be so amazing to really witness the old faith erupted in person. How I wish.

  18. Nice posts! I always have this dream to see all the major national parks . You are so lucky to have visited most of it. Now your posts probably will hasten my quest to be serious with hiking and photography! Beautiful pictures!! Thanks for sharing!

  19. All i can say is WOW!!! i guess after patiently waiting you have the greatest way to see what nature can give us. Thanks for sharing this wonderful adventure.

  20. This must be an experience. Seeing all the erupting Anemone Geyser must be exhilarating. I would like to experience this someday :-)

  21. Sis Betchai, I always look forward for your post. Even if I'm not physically there, I still enjoy the place through your photographs.

  22. As always, you never fail to post beautiful pictures. I am so happy for you to be able to travel to these beautiful places. Keep on clicking away! :)

  23. Wow! the mist is really breath taking pictures Sis :-) You always amaze me with my mouth wide open ;-) not only we see amazing pictures and also you take us to places that we never been to :-) Thank you for that Sis :-)

  24. Beautiful indeed...the Geyser basin that emits smoke! The adventure that never stops...

  25. I have yet to see this beauty AteB. Love the chipmunk as well. MY FIL call them grinny lol.

  26. The Reflecting Spring Pond looks mysterious.. Or maybe because of the angle lang. Btw, your photo of it is beautiful :)