With a rare appearance by the sun, combined with temperatures in the mid-60s, Yellowstone National Park was the place to be today. With nothing on our agenda but exploration and fun, we piled into Gordon and Juanita's big black truck and headed to the park. It seems we weren't the only folks who decided to get out and enjoy the change in weather. This fly fisherman looked quite content wading in the Firehole River.
While the main roads of the park were fairly busy today, peaceful settings could be found just off the beaten path. We enjoyed a private show at Firehole Spring, which was living up to its name.
Continuing along Firehole Drive, we couldn't miss White Dome Geyser. This cone-type geyser is unpredictable, compared to its more famous neighbors. It erupts at intervals ranging from 15 minutes to three hours. We didn't stick around for the show, but we really enjoyed the view.
Our featured destination for today's tour was a visit to Old Faithful. With 20 minutes or so to showtime, a crowd was already gathering.
For a half-hour or so we kept our eye on the prize. With a bright blue sky spotted with a few fluffy clouds and the light breeze carrying the steam off to our left, we were well-positioned to capture some stunning photos of this natural wonder.
Then, just as the great geyser began to put on a show, the breeze shifted. In an instant, we were immediately downwind. The column of steam blocked our vision and, showered us with "geyser rain", as dubbed by the young girl immediately to my right. Old Faithful looked more like a white tornado.
Cue the wind once again. With just seconds left in the show, the breeze shifted back and gave us a clear but brief look at a wee bit of Old Faithful.
With our steam bath behind us, we stepped inside the nearby Old Faithful Inn to admire the 106-year-old beauty and find some lunch.
The centerpiece of this classic National Park Service Rustic log lodge is its massive 500-ton, 85-feet tall stone fireplace. The towering and quite modern-looking fireplace clock was built in 1904. The pendulum alone is 20-feet tall.
Excelsior Geyser Crater is a hot spring in the Midway Geyser Basin. The Excelsior Geyser pool discharges some 4,000 gallons of nearly 200-degree water per minute into the Firehole River. It's quite a sight!
Once upon a time, Excelsior was an active geyser that erupted 300 feet into the air. Since 1890, it has boiled shades of blue as a beautiful hot spring.
Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in the United States. It lives up to its name, with vivid colors that change throughout the year. This time of year, the microbial mats are orange and red. The water in the center of the pool is a deep blue.
On our way out of the park, we stopped to take a look at a herd of wildlife. Paul and Gordon obeyed the rules and didn't go past this very important sign.
No bears could be seen anywhere. But, this herd of bisons and calves looked like they were enjoying their sunny afternoon in the park, too!
There's much more to see in Yellowstone. We look forward to making several trips back to see it all before we move on. Thanks, Gordon and Juanita, for a great day!