Yellowstone, second day — Norris

I wanted to see more geysers.

They are impressive.

There are three “geyser basins” near Old Faithful and I’d only looked at one of them. But going down there meant risking another 3 hour drive, and I could not face that yet.

There was another basin at Norris, which was only 20 miles away and had no road construction. It seemed a better choice. Not only that, but Norris boasts the tallest geyser in the world, one whose eruptions send water up 300+ft (against Old Faithful’s 120 and Castle’s 90). Of course the last time it erupted was in 2005, but one can always hope…

There are two main loops at Norris; the one I take first looks out over a, well, a basin, denuded of vegetation covered with pools of water and puffs of steam. There are two large steam vents right below the trail and two large columns of steam obscure much of the view. The big vent is called “Black growler”, and it certainly does growl.

I haven’t gone far into the basin when a small (~20ft?) geyser erupts in front of me. The eruption doesn’t last long and I barely catch it in the camera. Probably Sunday Geyser.

As I wander through the basin, the things which impress me most are the absolute desolation and the view of the steam rising from the edges.

After going through the basin I climb up on the north rim and look down. The Colloidal Pool looks very odd. A little further there is a small steam vent, or two vents very close together.

I turn and walk back to the other trail. A squirrel takes umbrage at me and chatters when I walk past his tree, then chatters more when I stop and look at him. He runs up the tree, then out on to a branch, then behind the tree, then down, out… chattering all the while. I find him (her?) quite entertaining s/he finds me annoying.

The other loop has a lot more trees on it, and the geysers are hidden from one another by them. But the first thing I see is not a geyser but a snowshoe hare.

After that comes steamboat geyser, which is not erupting today in spite of all my hopes. Or not erupting hugely. Every few minutes it squirts water 10 ft into the air.

A little further on is a steam vent with the amusing name of “Huff and Puff”, a hole in the side of the hill which spits out steam.

There are many steaming pools of water, some with odd colorations from the thermophiles living within them. Near the end is Minute Geyser which is in continual ferment producing small squirts of water.

Then I went back to Mammoth, thinking to do a hike my sister had recommended. As I left the hotel it was drizzling, but it had been doing that all day (off and on) so I snuggled deeper into my rain coat and went on. The wind picked up. The rain picked up too. After a half mile I was drenched, so I turned back.

Two hours later my sister stopped by my room and suggested we do a hike my brother had recommended. It had pretty well stopped raining by now. This hike lead up to a wildflower meadow and out and down to some old beaver ponds (no beavers left now) and then looped back to the hotel across the sagebrush I’d run through the day before.


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