“Great Geyser Gazing”

We headed out to the geyser basin early this morning to avoid the crowds. Luckily, we got to see Old Faithful erupt and basically had it all to ourselves. After watching that, we headed over to Sawmill and Tardy Geysers, which weren’t as tall, but still really interesting to watch. We then decided to book it over to Grand, Vent and Turban geysers to see if we could catch them erupting. We were lucky to get to talk with two of the “Geyser Gazers”, people who spend their days watching and recording the various eruptions. It was interesting to speak with people really passionate about the geology of geysers. We learned that Grand Geyser emits about 1 million gallons at each eruption and is taller than Old Faithful! We booked it over to Daisy Geyser, which is unique in that it erupts at an angle and sounds like a chugging train at the end. It was fascinating to see the various types of eruptions and learn about what causes them all. At Morning Glory Pool, we talked about the fact that the geysers and other areas in Yellowstone need to be protected from humans so that they continue to amaze us and do what they do. It’s important that we do everything we can to leave no trace!

Old Faithful
Morning Glory pool

We visited the Tribal Heritage Center, where some of us talked to the artist in residence from Standing Rock Reservation. She’s there as part of a program that brings artists from the 27 tribes associated with Yellowstone for one week residencies in the park. The artists get to display their art and they talk with visitors about their work and their tribe. She had beautiful beadwork, clothing, and paintings. We felt really lucky to get to talk with her for so long and learn about her art and experiences.

On our way north back to Mammoth, we stopped by Swan Lake where we had the great, good fortune to see two trumpeter swans with their five cygnets. It’s becoming rarer to see them because of the influx of Canadian Geese, so we all enjoyed the moment and knew we were lucky to see them today.

Taking pictures of a baby owl after our final group meeting

Serendipity, joy and curiosity have been the themes of our trip. We’ve all been so fortunate to experience this place. In the words of Olaus Murie, a naturalist and biologist who lived in Grand Teton: “I know that when I have stood in Nature’s domain, rapt in wonder, in the presence of some manifestation of her charm, perhaps a sunset, a mighty unfolding of mountain ranges to the horizon, or the soft hooting of an owl at dusk, at such times I have had my greatest peace. At such times I can harbor no ill will toward my fellow man.”

We’re all leaving here having experienced great peace, joy, awe, and amazement.

Group at the Roosevelt Arch at the North Entrance to Yellowstone



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