Saturday, July 16, 2005: I checked out of Canyon around 7am, but didn't go very far. I stopped at the entrance to the Brink of the Lower Falls parking lot and walked over to Crystal Falls for some photos. Then I headed south, stopping a couple of time in the Hayden Valley.
My next major stop was the Storm Point Trail east of Fishing Bridge. It's a 2.5 mile loop. I had to work around a very recent treefall (last night?) as I went through the woods. A male American Three-toed Woodpecker was a pleasant surprise. At Storm Point itself, I was surprised to find a Common Merganser on the rocks on top of the bluff. As I continued along the bluff, a couple of adult Bald Eagles flew over. Yellow-bellied Marmots were also around. Wildlife was pretty good on the return loop. I found a male Williamson's Sapsucker. Other birds were around, including a group of young Juncos. A little farther along I spotted a Coyote in a small clearing. As I neared the end of the woods, I encountered someone who was photographing a bull Moose!
|Yellowstone River||Hayden Valley|
West Thumb Geyser Basin
West Thumb Geyser Basin was next. There are not a lot of thermal features there compared with the major geyser basins, but every thermal area is different. The fact that some (e.g., Fishing Cone) are actually in the lake makes it more interesting. My last stop before Old Faithful was Kepler Cascades.
|Painted Pools||Fishing Cone||Abyss Pool|
|Blue Funnel Spring||Kepler Cascade|
Firehole Drives (Lakes, Falls, and Flats)
After viewing the falls, I had lunch at Old Faithful Inn. It was too early to get my room, so after watching Old Faithful erupt, I headed off toward Madison. I started exploring the Lower Geyser Basin by driving the Firehole Lake Drive. After that, I visited Firehole Falls (outside the lower basin).
|Firehole Lakes Drive|
|White Dome Geyser||Hot Cascade||Firehole Falls|
I returned to the Lower Geyser Basin for a drive down Firehole Flats Drive, followed by a walk to Ojo Caliente.
|Firehole Flats Drive|
|Ojo Caliente||Firehole River|
Fountain Paint Pots
My last stop in the Lower Geyser Basin was the Fountain Paint Pots. Clepsydra was erupting there.
|Clepsydra Geyser||Spasm and Clepsydra Geysers|
Upper Geyser Basin Geyser Walk
Back at Old Faithful Village, I watched another Old Faithful eruption. Then I took the ranger-led 5:30 geyser tour (about 3 miles). As we gathered near Castle, we could see Sawmill and Penta erupting, but they quieted down as we approached. The walk went all the way to Grotto. On the way back, I encountered a family of Mountain Bluebirds.
|Castle Geyser||Penta and Sawmill Geysers||Sawmill Geyser|
|Beauty Pool||Chromatic Pool|
Birds, 149. Mammals, 25.
Old Faithful, WY