In an effort to gather as much geyser footage as possible including videos of all the major Yellowstone geysers going off and photos of as many geysers and pools as possible another return to the Fountain Paint Pot area as well as a return to the Old Faithful geyser basin was planned for today. It was one of the few days when the Yellowstone daily plan was adhered to. No random wild life popped up along the road and no traffic jams got in the way of the sights!
The first stop was the Yellowstone Fountain Pain Pot area. With the Clepsydra geyser going off constantly and Fountain geyser going off every six hours or so and amazing sights all along the boardwalk in the Fountain Paint Pot area it is one of the MUST SEE areas of Yellowstone that many people may not have heard of.
As usual the Clepsydra geyser was going off and provided some nice shots and video. Clepsydra sports an array of colors in front of and around it and has noting but sky in the background. On a clear or partly cloudy day there is always a great photo of Clepsydra to be snapped! The schedule for Fountain geyser (which puts on an amazing show) in the Fountain Paint Pot area of Yellowstone was not going off and a prediction schedule for it is not published so unfortunately that geyser was not seen erupting.
After a stroll around the Fountain Paint Pot area the next stop was the Old Faithful geyser basin. As is frequently the case, Old Faithful was just about to erupt upon arrival and did not disappoint. The eruption wasn’t as high or as long as some over the last few weeks but still worth the 5 minute wait to see Old Faithful erupt! The crowds around Old Faithful were large but there was still plenty of room to find a spot to take photographs.
The next geyser scheduled to go off was The Grand Geyser, the highest predictable geyser over a half mile down the boardwalk from the Old Faithful geyser. The wild life delay today occurred on the path from Old Faithful down to the geysers below Old Faithful in the Old Faithful Geyser Basin. Bison were all around the path to go to the other geysers. As usual, the bison were mellow and just lounging around munching on the grass, however, the rangers were there to steer people around them to prevent any goring by the bison.
There was plenty of time to get down to the Grand Geyser. The Grand erupts within a 4 hour window and since being in Yellowstone it has erupted at the beginning, middle and past the end of the 4 hour window. Some waits have been 5 minutes while others have been four hours. A series of event that occurs about every 20 minutes occurs before a Grand Geyser eruption. Once the event (the Turban geyser erupting next to The Grand geyser) you have some time to walk around without much danger of missing the next Grand Geyser eruption. During these breaks there is time to go watch Sawmill Geyser and explore other lesser known sights in the Old Faithful geyser basin.
Unfortunately this 20 minutes is not enough time to walk (maybe if you sprint at least part of the way you can make it) to the bathroom and back. Many Grand Geyser eruptions have probably been missed due to the need to set off personal geysers! Today was one of those days! The very beginning of the Grand Geyser eruption was missed due to person geyser release but the majority of the eruption was still observed, photographed and video taped! the crowd loved the show and everyone got good pictures for being so patient!
Despite missing the first few minutes of the Grand Geyser eruption, there was still plenty to be seen and huge bursts were still left in the Grand Geyser tank throughout the eruption. After about 10 minutes of massive bursts the show finally came to an end and Riverside geyser was predicted to erupt next. Riverside geyser is a fairly short walk from Grand and is also close to Grotto geyser and Grotto Fountain.
At Yellowstone you never know when or where a geyser will go off, particularly the ones without predictions in the Old Faithful Visitor Center. During the intermission between the Grand Geyser and Riverside Geyser, Grotto Fountain decided to go off and put on a spectacular show. After Grotto Fountain had been going off for a while, Grotto Geyser joined in the act to create one massive geyser eruption block right around the corner from Riverside! What a show!
Grotto Fountain Geyser stopped after about 10 to 15 minutes while Grotto Geyser kept going as is often the case. Son it was time for Riverside Geyser to kick into high gear and the crowd eagerly darted back to watch Riverside put on a massive show for roughly 20 minutes. Once the show was over there was an outside chance of catching the Great Fountain geyser eruption along the Firehole Lake Road. The Eruption was predicted for 8pm +/- 2 hours.
On the hike back from Riverside to the car, the herd of bison encountered earlier in the day was once again roaming around on the path around the Old Faithful geyser basin. Since it seemed unlikely that Great Fountain would erupt during daylight hours there was no rush to get out of the Old Faithful area and therefor time to snap some bison photos. There may have been about 20 of them calmly roaming around, a big male grunting constantly but never showing any aggressive tendencies.
On the way back to West Yellowstone there was still some daylight left and the Firehole Lake road is on the way back. At the last minute the turn in was taken to see if maybe there was any possibility of catching a Great Fountain eruption at sunset. The eruption had already been going off for about a half hour with a brilliant sunset in the background! A big chunk of the eruption was missed but it was still going as Great Fountain Geyser typically erupts for as much as an hour. A few good photos and a little bit of video were captured and then it was time to head back to West Yellowstone and retire for the evening!