In Yellowstone, I first visit the Grand Prismatic Spring. There is a really hard wind blowing huge amounts of steam away. Sometimes I can’t see a thing anymore throught this warm mist. It’s kind of nice walking around in though. There is a long wooden walking path along the water. The high hill in the background is Picture Hill and I have climbed it the day before yesterday to shoot the colorful hotspring.
The Grand Prismatic Spring has a size of 75 by 90 meters and a depth of 49 meters. The water has a constant temperature of 85°C and is extremely pure giving it a deep blue color. Around 2000 liters of water are released along the edges of the spring every minute. Where the water has cooled down sufficiently, wires of sweet water weed move in the flowing water.
This time the vivid colors are finally visible.
Picture Hill again in the background.
Coming in, I passed the crater of the Excelsior Geyser because so much steam was coming out of it, that there was nothing to see at all. Now, on my way back, the deep blue color is clearly visible. About 16.000 liters of boiling hot water are released every minute in the Fire Hole River that runs beside it. Over 100 years ago this used to be a very explosive geyser with eruptions of around 30-90 meters wide and high! Most likely these violent eruptions have damaged the plumbing of the hot spring and now water streams out only quietly.
Because the wind is coming from the east, photography from a cliff on a hill on the east side is now possible. I decide to try and drive the car towards it. Arriving, again I’m in doubt whether to go or not. After all, this is Grizzly area and up there I have no protection whatsoever. Like at Picture Hill, I ascend as quickly as possible.
At first it’s not that bad, but halfway the passage becomes much narrower. To the left of me there is a thick forest and to the right a high drop off. Now the distance to my car has become a couple of hundred meters, the feeling really gets to me. If a bear appears between me and the car I will be in a difficult situation. I continue briskly and as soon as I have reached the right elevation, I start shooting my photos.
The view on the two hot springs is really phantastic. The wind is no problem at all because the hill shields it off. The footpath I have walked not that long ago is very well visible. The visitors just look like ants. First the Grand Prismatic Spring…
…followed by the Excelsior Geyser Crater.
In West Yellowstone I eat something and then I continue to Glacier National Park, a drive of well over 800 km back to the north. I would have liked to photograph a couple of geysers but the sky has to be either blue or dark to be able to see the steam. Today, the sky is white, so staying another day wouldn’t be the most productive thing to do. A day sooner in the north, implies that I have more time to do extra things in Canada: Drumheller for instance (dinos).
I drive the first leg of 350 km this afternoon through a beautiful green landscape. Hills and mountains are never far away and sometimes I’m right in the middle of them. It provides a relaxing and wide open feeling, nice to drive through. These last days I have been having quite some intensive yawn-moments halfway during the day, so I think it’s better to keep it a bit more easy today.
Arriving at the hotel I notice two police cars that have rammed a third car. A scene like you see on television sometimes. I wonder what is going on. I can’t imagine they ram a car for fun.
I’m in Butte, Montana and am up for a nice long night. Tomorrow I will cover the remaining distance to Glacier. On the way there are some nice spots to visit, but more about these tomorrow.
Maps, Charts & Downloads
GPS Map with color coded altitude information
Color coded distance/altitude chart
Download the original gpx file here.