Geysers, Paint Pots, and Bears!

According to my pedometer, I walked a little over 7 1/2 miles today.

I got up early and packed quietly so Diana could sleep. Then after about 15 minutes of slathering on sunscreen. I finally left the cabin and walked down the paved path at the lower geyser basin toward Morning Glory Pool. Ran into a handful of people — including four or five joggers. Every time I stopped in the shade, I wished I had put on bug repellent along with the sunscreen.

I stopped by Old Faithful’s “temporary” visitors’ center, studied the map for a while, then went back to the cabin. I watched Old Faithful erupt at 9:27 (and it was RIGHT on time). Diana & I loaded the car, visited the Old Faithful Inn, then walked the geyser basin again. Castle geyser was “unpredictable today” because of an unusual eruption early this morning. So it was spouting off fairly constantly. Grotto geyser was also very active as we walked past.

We then set out to drive north through the park, stopping at several places along the way. One section of the park road is under construction, and we were told to expect 30-minute delays. So we picked up sandwiches and planned to “picnic” in the car during our delay.

We stopped at Grand Prismatic Pool before we hit the construction. We broke out our lunch, and suddenly the line of cars was moving. Our 30-minute delay lasted about five minutes. Once again, we were blessed with great timing.

We stopped at Artist Paint Pots, Norris Geyser Basin, and Mammoth Hot Springs. Then we set out east and south along the perimeter of the park to get to Canyon, our site for the night. We stopped for a very large elk and for Tower Falls. Then we came across a mob of people and cars stopped beside the road. As we wove past the cars, we tried to see what the mob was focused on. I had about decided the only thing that could draw a crowd like this was a bear with cubs. Right about then, I spotted a sandy-brown grizzly wandering through the open field below the road. We found a spot to pull off and snapped several quick photos. (And for the record, a ranger showed up shortly after we did and said our car was parked “alright.”) Shortly after that, we saw a wolf trotting along the road, and we finally made it to Canyon.

The cabins here aren’t as nice as Old Faithful, and housekeeping here at Canyon doesn’t leave the windows open. That meant our cabin was hot and muggy when we got there. We rigged up the fan, opened the windows, and headed to get some dinner. Then we saw a bison grazing by the stop sign on our way back to the cabin.

Remember, you can click on any of the photos here for a higher-resolution version.