Day 21 - Yellowstone
Thursday - September 26, 2019
We had planned to stay in the Old Faithful area today. Walked the Upper Basin Trail, starting at 7:45 AM. The Castle Geyser was predicted to erupt at 8:30 +- 30 minutes so we walked fast to reach it by 8:00, the earliest predicted time. When we arrived, it was groaning and a good bit of vapor was being emitted. A Ranger was there and when I asked about the eruption, he said it was early at 7:00 AM! And he said it was a major event. Oh well, chalk that one off.
We continued our walk which was pleasant and easy except for the wind. The temperature was in the low 40's and the wind was gusting probably up-to 25 mph. I forgot about the wind when we rounded a corner and there was a bison next to Spasmotic Geyser. The sun was behind him and the geyser and he was perfectly outlined in the vapor mist. I hurried to get a photo. As it turned out there was no need to hurry. He was quiet content to munch the grass and enjoy the warm vapor surrounding him. Unlike the other bison we encounter on Storm Point trail, this one seem calm with people around him. I had my 16-35mm lens on the camera and I got several photos, and then retreated to change the lens to my 28-300mm. I approached again and got some amazing pictures. As I was leaving, satisfied with my shots, a ranger came and and began admonishing everyone to get back. You are supposed to keep a 25 yard distance from bison and I was probably 10 at the closest. I would not have got as close if he had exhibited the anxiety we saw the other day.
We then decided to detour off the boardwalk path to hike to Solitary Geyser and the Old Faithful overlook. This was slightly over a mile trail, but involved ascending a few hundred feet. It was slightly strenuous but not as bad as some we have done. We finished up with about 5 miles for the morning. A good hike in about three hours.
Back in the cabin we warmed up, with some hot tea and hot chocolate. We planned to dine in the Lodge cafeteria for lunch today but while looking at my Yellowstone App, I saw that Riverside Geyser was scheduled to erupt at 1:30 +- 30 minutes. We decided to make the mile hike to try and catch this one.
On the way, the Grotto Geyser was in the process of erupting and I got some photos of it.
We arrived at Riverside almost exactly 1:00 PM and got a great log seat right in front of the Geyser. Fortunately we beat the crowd. We waited patiently and at 1:22 the eruption began. It continued for approximately 20 minutes with a beautiful display.
We are leaving tomorrow, Friday, and the Lodge is closing for the season on Sunday. The other facilities close at different times. Crews were putting up snow markers. These were only 6 feet tall but in some areas they were 10 feet tall.
We hiked back to the Lodge and at this point had about 8 miles in for the day, enough! We were pleasantly surprised with the quality and quantity of food we had for lunch. Best of all, the cost was only a little over $20 for the two of us since we drank water.
I talked Kay into splitting an ice cream and we headed back to the cabin for some coffee and rest. We plan to attend a ranger lecture tonight at 7:00 PM in the Education Center.