Day 3


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    Posted by Paula (69.242.178.199) on August 24, 2005 at 21:46:38:

    In Reply to: Yellowstone & Grand Teton Trip Report - LONG posted by Paula on August 24, 2005 at 21:44:09:

    TUESDAY, AUGUST 9, 2005
    LONE STAR GEYSER HIKE, OLD FAITHFUL, FOUNTAIN PAINT POTS TWICE

    We got up and had biscuits and gravy for breakfast. While we were eating, we noticed the snorer packing up his tent - hooray! We'll be able to sleep tonight. We drove to Old Faithful and went into the store to get fishing licenses and some tackle. It was early and there weren’t many customer’s so we asked the employee selling fishing licenses about good places to fish and he drew us maps to good spots on the Lamar River & Slough Creek.

    The hike to Lone Star Geyser was on the agenda for today so we continued down the road to the parking area at Keppler Cascades. We looked at the falls and took some pictures before the hike since it wasn't crowded that morning. The hike to Lone Star was easy and very pretty beside the creek. When we arrived we explored all the thermal features uphill from the geyser (from a safe distance) before checking the logbook to see when Lone Star would erupt. We still had close to 2 hours so we walked down the river exploring and found more hot springs and fumeroles. There were also quite a few large clumps of pretty dark blue wildflowers that I looked up after the trip and found to be gentians. It was starting to get warm so we found some shade on the hill above the geyser to eat our lunch and rest while we waited for it to go off. When it did erupt it lasted 20 minutes from the first tall bursts until the loud steam died down. It was really cool seeing such a large geyser away from a boardwalk, especially for the first geyser of the trip. We hiked back to the car with rain threatening and drove back to the Old Faithful store for some things we hadn’t thought to buy when we were there this morning: topo maps of both parks, more fishing tackle, a knife for Daniel, duct tape to repair the tent pole and a phone card so Rick can call his office.

    Then we walked over to Old Faithful and went into the Visitor's Center to check geyser predictions. It was quite a while before Old Faithful was going to erupt so we walked over to see some of the nearby hot springs as Janet Chapple’s book recommends and then went to the far side of the geyser opposite all the benches to wait for the eruption. It was really sunny and hot waiting but it was neat watching it from that side where there weren't as many people. The wind was blowing when the eruption began so instead of the classic straight column it was blowing toward the Lodge. As it was ending, a very cold heavy rain began falling and we headed quickly for the van along with the rest of the crowd.

    We drove back to our campsite at Madison where I started heating up BBQ Beef and Beans from the Smokehouse in Independence for dinner. While we were waiting, Daniel & Preston noticed a coyote walking into the campground hunting for ground squirrels in the empty campsites across the road. Then he headed up the hill and toward a site where there were three girls who didn't even notice him. They went into the tent and one came out and almost walked right into the coyote - really startling her, the girl, that is.

    After supper the young men decided to take a nap so Rick and I walked across the road to take a look at the Madison River; there were several people fishing. The boys were still napping when we got back so we decided to drive over to one of the smaller geyser basins. We took the Firehole Canyon drive on the way, it's a really pretty canyon and we saw where the swimming area is located. Then we drove to the Fountain Paintpots area, seeing a neat half of a rainbow on the way. We parked the van and started on the boardwalk loop looking at all the thermal features. We spent a long time watching Clepsydra, Spasm and two small geysers behind them erupting. There was only one other couple there watching. Once in a while Jet would erupt a very little from the top vent.
    We returned to camp where we decided to go take showers at Old Faithful. We decided to drive through Firehole Canyon and Fountain Paintpots on the way so the guys could see the swimming area, the paintpots and more geysers without a long wait. When we got to the Fountain Paintpots we could see a larger geyser erupting as we got close and it looked like Fountain Geyser from its location. We parked and rushed around the boardwalk to see it and it WAS Fountain erupting as well as Twig Geyser! But we noticed that Clepsydra and Spasm weren't erupting anymore. While we were watching Fountain and Twig, we heard noise behind us and Jet started erupting from several of its vents, it was really neat. We saw it erupt like that 3 times while we were there the second time. It was weird being in the area twice so close in time, but seeing two totally different sets of geysers erupting each time - all without waiting.

    We continued on to Old Faithful Lodge and parked to get our stuff out to shower when we saw Old Faithful going off at twilight with very few people watching. There was no wind so it was going straight up. The showers there cost $3.00 and were clean with plenty of hot water and unlimited time. We didn't know it, but I think they furnish towels because there was a bin of used ones in the shower area and the lady we paid for the showers had asked us if we needed anything. We said. "No," but looking back I think we could have used their towels instead of our own.

    We saw a coyote cross the road in front of the van on the way back to the campsite. We had some chips and fresh salsa and made coffee for in the morning so we could get an early start to fish. It was pretty late so we didn't start a fire, but watched the neighbor's fire across the road before going to bed. The stars and Milky Way are absolutely incredible here. Rick & Preston each saw a shooting star.




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