Day 3 Adventure Continues: After our early morning Photo Safari (click the hyperlink if you have no idea what I'm talking about!), we were super excited to explore more of the dynamic and popular geothermal spots in Yellowstone National Park. We made our way to three sites through the day.
Middle Geyser Basin
When you are greeted by this beauty right at the entrance, you know you are in for a true visual treat. We spent about 1.5 hours exploring this basin.
Excelsior Geyser- Right at the entrance of this basin, you are greeted by the Excelsior Geyser. As the board describes (see the picture on the right), this geyser is nothing short of dumbfounding with this beauty, power, and it's unpredictability. The crater from the eruptions is massive and the greenish flowing water that you see above is actually flowing out of this crater toward the entrance of the middle geyser basin.
Grand Prismatic Spring- I must say, my yearning to see the best of Yellowstone was satisfied after visiting the iconic Grand Prismatic Spring (Ok may be the Yellowstone Canyon was pretty close!). This landmark site that comes up as soon as you Google Yellowstone National Park is truly a mesmerizing work of nature. The image that you see to the right is actually something borrowed from Google. You can only get this type of an image from a very high altitude or from satellite images.
What it looks like in person is what you see in the images below- still very beautiful and colorful. Look closely to spot the rainbow display of blue, green, orange, yellow, and brown. Remember the thermophiles that we described in our previous segment. They are out of whack in this region as the colors will leave you disbelieving your own eyes!
Check out this live feed below to see how alive (and windy) this region is.
Norris Geyser Basin
Known to be one of the most volatile and dynamic areas of Yellowstone, this basin is one of the hottest and most acidic parts of the part. We gave ourselves another hour or so to do justice and take in the wonders of the Norris basin. This basin contains the Porcelain Basin, with it's wide expanse, long boardwalk, and many steamy spots. See below!
I couldn't help but notice the distinct shades of emerald-green and dark blackish-green colors that appear in this basin. In addition to the minerals and microorganisms at work, the emerald-green can apparently be attributed to algae that contains chlorophyll to convert sunlight into energy.
I'm also seriously crushing over the shade of Tiffany blue in the waters. Oh the patterns and colors of nature! The view of Crackling Lake in the Porcelain Basin is just serene.
On the other side of the Norris Basin, lies the cryptic Back Basin with it's well known Steamboat Geyser. We made our way through quickly to catch a glimpse of this, hissing and whistling away. Known to be the world's tallest geyser, throwing water more than 300 feet high (what???), this geyser is also very unpredictable in it's timing of full major eruptions, the last one being in September 2014. All was relatively calm when we strolled by. Else I believe we would have been drenched in water (steamy hot water...nooooooo! ).
I guess it's easy to underestimate the risk of this geothermal active region, until you hear of tragic stories. The last reported fatal death of a young man in June 2016, was at the Back Basin of the Norris Basin. Under all the excitement of seeing the natural wonders here, one may begin to doubt the multiple signs and warnings to stay ON the boardwalk. The Earth's crust is truly very brittle here and you can never judge when the Earth will engulf you! It's unfortunate stories like this that provide a hard and resounding reality check!
Hate to leave you on that grim note...but will be back soon with more Yellowstone Tales from the Mammoth Hot Springs and Lamar Valley :)