It dawned a miserable day as far as sunshine was concerned this day, and I had read that it was best to view the geysers on a sunny day to experience their colours to the full. We opted, thus, if somewhat reluctantly, to leave Old Faithful and its surrounds for the fine day promised two days ahead and drive up to the Norris Geyser Basin instead.
Yellowstone NP boasts the most extraordinary collection of hot springs, geysers, mudpots and fumaroles to be found on mother earth. More than 10,000 hydrothermal features are found in Yellowstone, of which more than 500 are geysers.
for more see: Hydrothermal Features
Beryl Spring was certainly one of the highlights for me along the way. Possibly due to the cold conditions, Beryl was puffing out steam in billowing clouds and revealed her beauty only when the breeze momentarily gusted the steam away from its source. Sadly her beauty was not as dazzling as it could be due to the miserable day, but the warm steam compensated admirably.
Artist Paint Pots at the next stop bubbled and brewed.
The hydrothermal system at Artist’s Paintpots operates somewhat like a double-boiler in your kitchen. Just as the bottom pot of the double boiler holds boiling water, underneath the ground here is a hot water system with hot acidic steam. This super-heated acidic steam heats the ground above it causing the rocks to dissolve into clay. The hot clay receives water from rainwater and snowmelt. This causes mudpot consistency and activity to vary with the season and amount of precipitation.
~ taken from an info board on site.
…we took one look at the string of cars waiting to reach Norris Basin, did a u-turn and headed for Canyon Falls instead. Some of us had been to the Grand Canyon which meant that this little canyon did not exactly wow, however, Uncle Tom did, at one time, run a little business taking visitors down into the canyon at the lower falls.
In the early 1900s, his trail had 528 steps and rope ladders!
It now descends 328 steps to about ¾ of the way down into the Canyon for an excellent view of the lower falls.
One of us did not get very far down the stairs; that one, thus, has photos only this far:
We had not planned to go back to Norris Basin, but when we looked again, there we were in the parking lot. When a car pulled out right at the start of the trail, that was our cue to stay.
Little did we know what an awesome sight awaited us
in the Porcelain Basin section of Norris.
The milky colour of the mineral deposited here inspired the naming of Porcelain Bowl. Siliceous sinter is brought to the surface by hot water and forms a sinter “sheet” over this flat area as the water flows across the ground and the mineral settles out.
This is the fastest changing area on Norris Geyser Basin and siliceous sinter is one of the agents of change. If the mineral seals off a hot spring or geyser by accumulating in its vent, the hot pressurized water may flow underground to another weak area and blow through it.
~ taken from an info board on site.
And then there are the colours!
Microorganisms called thermophiles, or heat lovers, make their homes in the hydrothermal features of Yellowstone. Although individually they are too small to be seen with the naked eye, so many are grouped together in the park’s hydrothermal features—trillions!—that they often appear as masses of color. Many of these microorganisms are also called extremophiles because they inhabit environments that are extreme to human life. Imagine living in near-boiling temperatures, in hydrothermal features with the alkalinity of baking soda, or in water so acidic that it can burn holes in clothing; microorganisms in Yellowstone not only exist in such conditions but require these extremes to thrive.
taken from Hydrothermal Features
This pdf says it all if you are curious to know more: Life in Extreme Heat
Finally, we did head for camp…
or maybe not quite!
Our very first bison, spotted grazing as though he could never hurt a fly!
And so ended another awesome day on the road.
Thought for today:
And so too, it can happen that our dreams and expectations can become so vital in our minds that they can come face to face with conflict; a conflict of interests equally important to other. Compromise, I hear you say… compromise with grace. Grace is not our first line of defense.
I read the following in the week; it explains so well why we fall head over heels into defensiveness despite our best intentions:
“No one plans to be defensive, but sometimes you feel like your toes are being stepped on. Cortisol makes it feel urgent. Cortisol does its job by making you feel like you will die if you don’t make a bad feeling stop. Cortisol works by commanding your attention so you focus entirely on the threat signals. A big cortex can find a lot of threat signals because it can anticipate the future and generate abstractions that are not currently reaching your sense. A big cortex can make a big deal out of every social disappointment. When you know how your cortisol works, you can protect your toes with less conflict.”