morning glory

by Anne

[September 6th] dawned cold after a night through which I never warmed up ever! I was snug as a bug when I slid into my sleeping back, which is fit for temperatures a good dollop below zero, but then from my core the cold spread and settled in.

Warm bagels were served, the windscreen scraped, and with the dial recording a cool zero degrees C, we set out to explore the Upper Geyser Basin… in the mist!
But the mist lifted and the sun popped out warm and welcoming on cue as we pulled into the parking lot in anticipation.

Old Faithful was waiting…

We were waiting…


Old Faithful was still building up steam…

In the meantime, B&G went for coffee while H&I wandered around Geyser Hill. Soon enough people began to gather as eruption time neared…

We waited some more; Old Faithful puffed and gurgled and lurched a little, and just as we wondered if the show was a no show…


Old Faithful simmering


…there she blows!


all over in a puff of smoke

We wandered off then to explore what for me was sheer magic; magical textures, shapes, colours, gurgles, jets, warm steam and neverending activity.

The sawmill geyser and the spasmodic geyser had me spellbound; I could have hung around close to indefinitely… a jolly good thing the others hurried me on as there was much more to see.

A film crew had gathered around Castle Geyser which was due to blow anytime soon-ish, but we didn’t linger. B&G were lucky to bump into it in full throttle, though, on their way back to fetch the car later when H&I ambled on to the Black Sand Basin on foot. They passed the Sawmill Geyser again too, on their way back, showing no sign of activity at all. I count myself lucky to have seen as many as we did in action!

And then there was the Grotto Geyser blasting forth in all directions… and later, nothing but a puff of smoke.

Perhaps the crowning two sights in the Upper Geyser Basin was that of the Riverside Geyser and the Morning Glory Pool. Words fail me…


Riverside geyser simmering…


and then with a roar announcing its presence…


what a spectacular sight!


Morning Glory Pool

Yes, this pool was named after the flower and this is why:
“Long a favored destination for park visitors, Morning Glory Pool was named in the 1880s for its remarkable likeness to its namesake flower. However, this beautiful pool has fallen victim to vandalism. People have thrown literally tons of coins, trash, rocks, and logs into the pool. Much of the debris subsequently became embedded in the sides and vent of the spring, affecting water circulation and accelerating the loss of thermal energy. Through the years Morning Glory’s appearance has changed as its temperature dropped. Orange and yellow bacteria that formerly colored only the periphery of the spring now spread toward its center.”
~ taken from
…where you will find a photo of its morning glory days.

En route to the Black Sand Basin, we passed the Punch Bowl Spring, the Black Sand Pool and the Daisy Geyser looking nothing like a daisy at all as it lay there quiet as a mouse – we can’t be lucky all the time!

It was a good walk through some wetland and forest to the Black Sand Basin that didn’t disappoint. B&G caught up with us there, seen here through the blue haze of the Sunset Lake.

Lunch beside the river in the sun and then on to the Midway Geyser Basin and the long-awaited Grand Prismatic Spring:


Grand Prismatic Spring


“The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park is the largest hot spring in the United States, and the third largest in the world, after Frying Pan Lake in New Zealand and Boiling Lake in Dominica.
Grand Prismatic Spring was noted by geologists working in the Hayden Geological Survey of 1871, and named by them for its striking coloration. Its colors match the rainbow dispersion of white light by an optical prism: red, orange, yellow, green, and blue.
The vivid colors in the spring are the result of microbial mats around the edges of the mineral-rich water. The mats produce colors ranging from green to red; the amount of color in the microbial mats depends on the ratio of chlorophyll to carotenoids and on the temperature gradient in the runoff. In the summer, the mats tend to be orange and red, whereas in the winter the mats are usually dark green. The center of the pool is sterile due to extreme heat.
The deep blue color of the water in the center of the pool results from the scattering of blue light by particles suspended in the water. This effect is particularly visible in the center of the spring due to the lack of archaea that live in the center and the depth of the water.
~taken from
see also: The Science Behind Yellowstone’s Rainbow Hot Spring

And so the item at the top of my bucket list can be ticked off, or perhaps moved down in the hope of being able to pop in again sometime.

We head back to camp via the Hayden Valley and bison in their dozens.

It has been a GOOD day!


Thought for today:
Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.
~ Peter T. Mcintyre.