Today, I walked around a corner and came face to face with a buffalo. That is arguably hyperbole but 15 feet might as well be face to face when Buffaloes are concerned.
Today we went to Yellowstone, one of the earth’s rare supervolcanoes. Geysers, thermal pools, fumaroles, sulfur springs, and many other geothermal features dot the landscape. But, of course, this hotbed of geothermal activity is best known for Old Faithful, the geyser that spews boiling water 145 feet into the air every 91 minutes.
We made a point to get through the Yellowstone south gate by 8AM and were camped out around Old Faithful for the 9:38 show. It did not disappoint.
As remarkable as Old Faithful was, we were even more blown away by the more intimate experiences of geysers such as Fountain Geyser and Great Fountain Geyser which, while smaller, we could experience up close and with fewer people. As the names would suggest, both are fountain geysers, meaning that they erupt out of a pool of hot water. Fountain Geyser only erupts every 6 hours, but when it does, it does so for 30 minutes strait. Great Fountain Geyser is particularly remarkable for the delicate, terraced pools that radiate from the center of the geyser.
After a morning of hot water, we took a break for lunch and then explored Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon. It could never be confused for the world renowned Grand Canyon but it nurtures a grandeur of its own. The lower falls descend 308 feet and can dump as much as 63,500 gallons per second into the river below. From one vista point, we spotted an eagles nest perched on a hoodoo.
While I never got the shot of a bald eagle that I have been flirting with since Washington, we did have a couple amazing interactions with buffalo. We past herds in the distance, watched two cross the road nearby, but the best was when a we came to the Mud Volcano. The bubbling cauldrons of mud we fascinating, but not quite what we were looking for. A park ranger was stopping foot traffic along one incline as a buffalo wandered around in a meadow, 100 feet away. As soon as it settled down foot traffic resumed. After our flirtation with the meadow buffalo, I grossly assumed that all that was left to see was bubbling mud. Au contraire! There was my favorite buffalo right around the corner.
The rest of the evening was a relaxing return to camp for beer, wine, and skewers. After getting up early to beat the Yellowstone crowds, we were ready to go to bed early.