Yellowstone. It truly is a wonderland. I’ve spent a few weeks there now on a couple of occasions. I’ve just barely scratched the surface of this incredible place. It frequently hits the headlines these days for the wildlife tourism with the large predators such as wolves and bears drawing audiences from all around the world. That’s exactly why I’ve gone each time, visiting once in summer and once in winter.
However, during my summer trip and first visit to the world’s first national park we spent some time exploring the famous hot springs and geysers.
Old Faithful, named so in 1870 because of it’s regular and frequent eruptions, erupts every 35 to 120 minutes. It is the most famous geyser of the park, the USA and quite possibly, the world.
Despite summer being high tourist season and the crowd for Old Faithful at least 4 people deep, I managed, with some clever composition, to get a shot without people in it. It’s an impressive size and the display can last from 1 minute to 5 minutes each time she blows.
For anyone looking to experience this wonder, I’d highly advise an off season trip or at least an early start. I was lucky to get this shot but it took a lot of holding my ground after waiting patiently. To truly experience the size of it, I’d recommend watching an eruption from the distance. It’s not until you compare it to the surrounding buildings of the visitor centre and inn that you get a true idea of the height it can reach. Being up close can be deceptive.
There are lots of other geysers of various shapes and sizes which also deserve your attention. They tend to be much quieter and it’s easier to get a front row seat.
Thermal pools are not to be missed when you’re exploring Yellowstone’s wonderful features. The incredible rich colours are due to bacteria which live in the hot water.
The Morning Glory hot spring is one of the most well known thermal features in the park. It was named in 1880 after the Morning Glory Flower because it looked so similar in it’s colouring. However, because people are leaving rubbish behind and using the spring like a wishing well, it is starting to cool down. This changes the type of bacteria which can survive in the water and since the bacteria cause the amazing colours, the colours are changing. The orange and yellow which were once part of the edge of the pool has now spread across it, taking over the blues and greens in the middle.
If you’re heading this way I’d highly recommend stopping by the Beauty Pool. We had stunning day for our visit in summer but I’d love to go back and capture it in Winter!
And of course, you can’t miss The Grand Prismatic. It is breathtaking. The size and colours are incredible. We scrambled up the side of a small hill to try and get a better view of it so here you can see it a road level and from above.
As I said, I’ve barely scratched the surface of Yellowstone. My second visit was in winter and while access is reduced, I found the park more peaceful and inviting. I plan on visiting in every season to capture the wonder of this place as often as I can.