Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Roadtrip Day 035

Roadtrip Day 035

8/12 Wednesday

What a day! Hold on to your hats.

Lemme start by bookending this day. In the morning, we hiked the loop trail at Porcelain Basin (Norris) in Gore-Tex conditions. That kept most people off the trail so it was very private, if significantly wet. The variety of geysers, pools, steam vents, etc. was beautiful and, I suspect, extra steamy in the cool of the rain. An imposing vista of an entire basin steaming, erupting, and bubbling as the rain pelted down from a black sky.

Now, lemme jump ahead to the end of our trip. Dinnetimeish in the Tower area, driving along the road through meadows, heading home, in a massive thunderstorm, we saw herds of bison, some right next to the road. Then, amusingly, as we climbed up a curvy mountain road, traffic became bumper-to-bumper at walking speed to pass around a bison walking right down the centerline of the road! I was afraid for the motorcyclists in front of us. They passed right by him and a toss of the huge head could have been fatal. I shot video as we passed him. He was undisturbed by the traffic and simply kept on rambling down the middle of the road.

So, between those two rainstorms, we had sun. Significant sunshine and heat. After our rainy walk around the Porcelain Basin, we headed South to an artist’s palette area. Lots of bubbling mudpots in varying colors. Loop hike far point was a high overlook of the area. Delightful.

From there we decided to conserve our energy and skipped several “minor” sites cuz we were going to do the big loop of roads from the North, all the way around Old Faithful and back up the East side to our starting point in the far North. So, we headed straight for Old Faithful.

Ah, yes. Huge, crowded parking lot. We found a spot and walked over to the viewing area. The next eruption wasn’t due for an hour or so, therefore we headed up the boardwalk East of the area to see several smaller, geysers and pools. Anemone was fun. Pretty, interesting, and a short eruption cycle. We saw several individual features. There was a bench at a turn in the boardwalk which looked back at Old Faithful. Because it was getting near the potential eruption time, we settled in there to watch. Soon enough, it happened. The eruption lasted several minutes and it was quite impressive.

When it was over, we continued up the walk to see several more sites. The sun was merciless, so instead of going all the way to the end of the trail, we took an intermediate cutoff and headed back. We sat in the shade near Old Faithful for a while and thought about catching the next eruption but then decided to get going. After a brief stop at the store for ice cream and cold lemonades.

Around to the East and a long drive North along the lake. It was large and impressive. Eventually we got to the canyon area and the mountain pass which looks back at the general caldera of the supervolcano. From there, it was on to the Tower area and the beginning of the rain and the bison sightings. We saw many individuals and several herds, many with youngsters.

Finally, the one I mentioned at the beginning, who was walking along the middle of the road. Back to camp late and very tired. Quick-and-dirty (easy) dinner of cup-o-noodles, then we gave in to Hypnos and Morpheus.

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