Hot mama

Steaming geothermals

And by that I mean Mother Earth.

Old faithful

As I understand it, the geyser basin that includes Old Faithful (darn that haze!) contains more than half the active geysers in the world.

OF trail

We took the boardwalk trail that loops around “behind” Old Faithful to see some of the geysers and fumaroles, hot pools and calcite ice (some of the mineral precipitate from the geothermal water—good with gin, perhaps). Even with the haze: stunning.

Blue quiet pool

Not all the pools are in an exploding mode. Some are quiet. Even for years. Some drain and become “dead.” I loved looking into underground caverns that the water boils through (sometimes over 700°F when it becomes gaseous deep below the surface).

Active quiet pool

This one had been quiet as we approached, but started boiling and churning right in front of us.

Slow steam

Others oozed steam without a dramatic explosion.

Bison tracks

The bison do walk among the geothermals. I saw an amazing photo in the Visitor Center…a crowd of shaggy, winter-furred bison, coated with ice crystals from the steam freezing on them. Just incredible. Long lens.

River exit

All the water the geysers and fumaroles generate…where’s it go? Here it drains into the Yellowstone River….

Tree bottom

The minerals in the water weaken and kill trees, forbs, grass, many living things. Wind can then topple tree skeletons. Because of the rock/travertine, the trees have particularly shallow roots, pure artistry in their toppled death-throes. This was a pine.

Fire nephews

With s’mores ingredients newly at hand, the Nephews launched fire-making with a new fervor. Plus marshmallow-stick creation. Somehow marshmallow became mushroom, so, at our camp they were mushroom-roasting sticks.

Dusk blue

Again, a hazy dusk, but not QUITE so thick. Gorgeous though.


  1. kayak woman says:

    Remind me of my young beach urchins playing a kind of couch sliding game where they called themselves hot lava girls. Oh well, couldn’t describe it if I tried

  2. kayak woman says:

    Reminds, not remind. Damn left handed typing and dictation.

  3. Kel says:

    Most amazing pix, Sam. But are you sure those two big guys are your nephews??? Guess they grew since the last photos I saw… Now I’ll definitely add Yellowstone to our must-visit list, especially since D. is hankering for a wild west adventure. No idea one could peer down into the underground caves and holes, but I did consider what might happen if one of those dormant ones decided to spew.