Yellowstone National Park (Upper Geyser Basin)
Over the next couple of days, I decided to concentrate on hiking in specific areas of the park. Today, I chose the Upper Geyser Basin which has trails along the Firehole River, including Old Faithful Geyser and Biscuit Basin.
First stop was Observation Point overlooking the entire Old Faithful complex. The geyser was so regular (faithful) that they built an entire tourist industry around it (three hotels, General Store, Visitor Center, etc).
On the trails, I found lots of geysers and small, colorful hot springs.
Seriously. No filter. The water is that blue. I also encountered an abundance of wildflowers along the way.
Because I was in desperate need of a shower and laundry, I decided to spend the nightstealth car-camping in the hotel parking lot in Gardiner, Montana, again. That way, I could get up bright and early and get the chores out of the way.
On my way out of the park, I stopped for a photo of the sign indicating the Caldera Rim. History time: Yellowstone National Park is the site of 3 supervolcano eruptions over the last 2 million years. In the middle of the park there is evidence of a 30 mile by 45 mile “caldera” which is basically a big crater that filled in on itself over time. Due to its size and millennia of erosion, it’s very difficult to see the rim. Fortunately, there is one place where it is very evident.
The last stop before the north entrance is a geological feature called Mammoth Hot Springs. I planned on hiking the trails the next day, but I decided to have a picnic supper there before exiting the park.