A Bright Day in Yellowstone
We’ve all seen geysers on TV or in the movies, and many would think that seeing them in person would be no different. There might even be others who will say it’s boring. But believe me, if they saw what I did in Yellowstone, they would know they’re dead wrong!
I recently had the awesome opportunity to visit Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park — a lucky break if you ask me since the park is closed for 6 months a year. We had just come from the sandstone-dominated wonders of Monument Valley and Horseshoe Bend, and the sight of Yellowstone was a refreshing — an equally breath-taking — change. From rocks, we now move on to water. Lots of water…
Yellowstone has a lot of geysers, but perhaps the most famous of them all is Old Faithful — so named because it erupts “faithfully” in an almost regular interval. It is one of the most famous features of Yellowstone, and you can find people sitting around in a circle (like we did!) just to see it erupt. This happens roughly every hour and a half, give or take 10-15 minutes.
Aside from Old faithful, there is also the Norris Geyser Basin. This is like a cluster or collection of geysers,. The open area is a hotbed for geothermic pressures, forcing up hotsprings and geysers. Out of the many geyser basins, Norris is one of the most accessible. Scientists say that Yellowstone National Park is a giant supervolcano waiting to happen (in the far future), so this explains the abundance of geyser basins in the area.
The geysers were an absolute fun to watch! The plumes of steaming hot water shoots up from the ground, like the blowholes of whales. Once up there, it looks like a cloud that jumped up from the earth. The colors were also amazing — you can see small lines of rainbow colors where the sunlight strikes the dissipating steam.
A Steamy Walk
Of course, where there are beautiful geysers there would also be large hot springs. We were treated to the Grand Prismatic Spring, which is the largest hot spring in the US. It is also the third largest hot spring in the world, beaten only by the (less enticingly named) Frying Pan lake of New Zealand and the Boiling Lake in Dominica. Grand Prismatic is also located in a geyser basin, the Midway Geyser Basin.
The lake was named “prismatic” for a reason — its gorgeous colors look like a giant prism! The bright orange color of its outer edges thins out to a band of vivid yellow. This then fades to green, then aquamarine, before eventually dissolving into a deep blue that evokes deep-sea vibes. Simply awesome to see.
We are told that the color at the edges comes from a colony of bacteria. This bacteria feeds off the mineral-rich water. Our guide says that in the summer, the entire lake is covered in a red-orange shade. That’s the bacteria multiplying.
However, this marvelous beauty can also be deadly. The steam is so hot it can easily kill — in fact, the week before we were there, some people died after falling into one of the pools. The colors may be very inviting, but it will boil you alive if you jump in. There is no margin for error(wide enough already!) — so, don’t stray from the path! During the walks, there are times when you will pass quite close around the edges of the hot springs. It’s a curious feeling when that happens — the hot air coming from the springs meets the cold breeze from outside, and you are right there in the middle! If you are wearing glasses, it would fog up for sure. Let’s just call it a “necessary evil” so you can see the beauty of Yellowstone National Park!
More Eye Candy
Aside from the geysers and the hot springs, we also visited other beautiful views in Yellowstone. One place of notice is the “Artist’s Point” — a view of Yellowstone’s magnificent waterfalls. It is a marvel of nature — it is as if the rocky mountains part just to give one a glimpse of the white rapids cascading down from the falls. The entire landscape has a refreshing brightness to it. It is said that the place was popularized by the waterfall sketches of artist Thomas Moran — hence the name. Another interesting point of the tour was the “Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone”, which is a large gap in the earth spanning 24 miles long. The Artist’s Point is merely a part of this huge wonder.
Yellowstone National Park is famous in the world due to its wonderful scenery and diverse wildlife. Take it from me — if you have any chance at all to visit it, by all means do so! It is definitely worth it– money, effort and time.