Geysers come in two main types, cones and fountains.
A cone geyser erupts from a mound.
A fountain geyser erupts from a huge pool of water.
Both types contain a dissolved mineral called geyserite.
It slowly grows the mound of the former, and creates little nodules in the bottom of the pools of the latter.
Geysers have a time period between eruptions.
They have to, to recharge the steam that causes the eruption.
For some, the period remains relatively constant and eruptions can be predicted.
BeehiveBeehive Geyser blows its top. The height is twice Old Faithful. Notice how everyone is standing on the left to avoid the spray :)
are completely random.
Highlights of the geyser basins included:
Old Faithful and Beehive
Old Faithful: This geyser is the most famous and popular in the world.
It is not the highest or the most frequent, or even the most regular, but it is the most frequent of the big geysers.
It is also incredibly predictable, to a time range of about ten minutes.
Hundreds of tourists hang out on the benches around the geyser day and night to see eruptions.
I took pictures of the tourists as well as the geyser.
I haven’t seen a crowd that big outside a theme park.
Beehive: This geyser is the ultimate cone geyser in the park.
The mound, which really does look like a beehive, sends the water blasts straight up.
Beehive is not predictable.
I was waiting for another geyser to go off when someone mentioned that the little geyser next to Beehive was going.
I walked over there as quickly as I could.
That little geyser goes off roughly ten minutes before Beehive.
Beehive produced a huge
Grand GeyserGrand Geyser shows its power. The plume on the left is Vent Geyser. I had to stand back from the benches to fit in the entire plume. Note the white trees behind, which have been coated with geyserite from previous eruptions.
200 foot high plume of water that shot out of the mound in waves.
Some of it blew on the boardwalk and people got soaked.
Incredible video of both Beehive and Old Faithful erupting at the same time, from nine days later!
Grand Complex: This group of related geysers is the favorite of frequent visitors according to my guidebook.
It is certainly fun to watch.
It is predictable to within a four hour window, which strains the meaning of “predictable”.
The complex consists of six connected geysers.
The most noticeable one is a wide mound next to a big hole in the ground.
Isa LakeIsa Lake, on the continental divide in Yellowstone
Books talk about the Continental Divide endlessly, so it feels like a huge thing.
The Divide is a drainage divide, separating water which drains to the Atlantic from that which drains to the Pacific.
People like to call it “the roof of North America”, which makes it seem like a nearly impassible barrier.
Unfortunately, the Divide is usually underwhelming in real life.
Mountain passes on the Divide look just like mountain passes elsewhere, and they can be much less impressive than many (South Pass, used by the Oregon Trail [see Pioneer Trails] was so wide people barely noticed it).
What I want to see is water actually dividing on the Continental Divide, and very few places provide this.
Thankfully, one of them is right next to the road in Yellowstone.
Isa Lake is a narrow and shallow pond that sits in a pass on the Divide.
Water drips out of both ends, one little stream heading to each ocean.
In a geographic joke, the Divide makes a fishhook shape in this area, so water heading to the Pacific flows EAST from the lake and vice versa.
Shoshone LakeThis is the only view of Shoshone Lake from a road. The lake is the thin blue line in the center of the photo.
After crossing the Divide, the road drops into a valley.
The low sun shining on the trees made the view particularly dramatic.
I felt like I was somewhere important, heading into the west (even though I was driving east!).
The road eventually reached a viewpoint of the entire valley, with a distant blue lake at the end surrounded by pine trees.
The lake is Shoshone Lake, the largest lake in the US south of Alaska that can’t be reached by road.
The road passed through the valley and started to climb again.
Soon enough, it ran through a more traditional Continental Divide crossing, one completely unremarkable except for the sign.
The west will need to wait :)
On the way down from the ridge, the road gave a huge view of my final destination for the night.
It showed an enormous lake with snow capped mountains behind it.
When I travel, I love the great outdoors, modern art, historical sites, good food, classic roadside attractions, and long drives in a convertible. Preferably all at once. The nickname is a tribute to a wise traveller in the Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, who proved that all you really need to cross the galaxy (and beyond) is a towel.
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