Day 18: Yellowstone Geysers and Grand Canyon

All Tuesday we spent in Yellowstone NP, which is much bigger than you imagine when you see it on a map, about 60 x 50 miles, and the figure eight formed by the main road through the park is almost 150 miles long. So it’s a park where you need to drive around, and that’s what the Americans and we tourists do! Many do so in RVs the size of a bus, often with their family car or boat on a trailer after it! So every time you want to get out of the car and look at things you have to start by queuing for a parking space. And every time someone spots a buffalo or other animal they usually cause a traffic jam. But if you take things easy you usually find a spot to park in the end, especially if you don’t mind walking a few extra yards.

In some places there are smaller one-way roads that take you past some of the sights, so we started the day by taking the Firehole Lake Drive seeing several geysers and bubbling sulphur holes. Next stop was the Grand Prismatic Spring, a big bubbling pond in the most amazing colours, orange, yellow, green and turquoise.

When we arrived at our next stop, the Old Faithful geyser, which is one of the park’s biggest attractions, we almost gave up finding a parking place, but eventually we found one. Grabbed a quick lunch while an elderly American entertained us with his views on American politics, the EU, Brexit etc. Then we went to look at the Old Faithful geyser, which is called so, because it erupts faithfully about once every 90 minutes, so regularly in fact, that the rangers can predict the eruptions with 10 minutes precision! I sat down to enjoy the sun and wait for the show to start, while Ole went off to look at a couple of other geysers erupting. And lo and behold, 5 minutes past the predicted time the Old Faithful erupted with a tall pillar of water and smoke to please the large audience who had gathered to watch.

After the “show” we continued round the lower loop of the figure eight past the Yellowstone Lake and River. At the Yellowstone Grand Canyon we drove along the southern rim to Artist’s Point, from which there was a fantastic view of the canyon and the water falls at one end of it. This is probably the most frequently painted spot in the USA. From there we drove to the northern rim and hiked down to the Lower Falls where we could get quite close to the falls and get an even better view of the canyon. But by then it was late in the day and our stomachs demanded food and our feet rest, so we decided to call it a day.

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