My son and I were still in Yellowstone on June 22. The day before had been our “rest” day, and we only hiked to the Virginia Cascade and then followed that up by heading down to the Yellowstone River at Tower Fall.
But the 22nd was our last day in Yellowstone, and we'd planned a pretty extensive hike for the day.
We headed over to the Midway Geyser Basin, which is a bit north of Old Faithful. In that area is the Grand Prismatic Spring, Fairy Falls, Imperial and Spray Geysers, a bunch of hot springs along Fairy Creek, and Sentinel Meadows. Here’s the map of the general area.
We started at the north end, at the parking lot at the end of Fountain Flat Drive. There was a huge bison herd right there. We headed down the bicycle path towards the Grand Prismatic Spring.
It is a very flat area.
Off in the distance you can see some high areas near Sentinel Creek. In the foreground you can see the bike path . . . all gravel.
That meant that I started out the hike wearing sandals. Three and a half miles of gravel is worse than the wear and tear on my back and knee from wearing footwear.
Here’s the topo map showing the route of our hike.
[Click for larger version.]
The bike path was rather ordinary. Well, ordinary except for the clouds of steam rising in all sorts of different directions.
At the south end, we did not head immediately to Fairy Falls to the west, but continued south towards the high ground above the Grand Prismatic Spring.
Right about there, we encountered this little guy on the gravel.
All of the wildlife at Yellowstone is not huge. Sometimes you have to look a bit more closely.
When we got opposite the Grand Prismatic Spring, we climbed up a path to the higher ground. Here’s my son when we were partway up.
As you can see, the Grand Prismatic Spring is awesomely beautiful. Differents sorts of algae/bacteria with different colors live at different temperatures in these sorts of pools, so, along with the dissolved minerals, you get this effect.
Here’s a shot from about as high up as I felt like climbing (and as high as the trees cooperated).
You can see all the people walking around it on the boardwalk.
I think we got the better vantage point. (And as you know, I’m always willing to go the extra distance to try to get the less common perspective.)
Here I am at ground level where the bicycle path gets close to the Grand Prismatic Spring. It think it does a nice job showing the steam rising from the area.
Yes, you can see my abominable sandals.
On the way back towards the Fairy Falls trail, we got to witness a chipmunk fight. There was one aggressor (on the right), and then the “victim” deliberately exposing its belly trying to mollify the aggressor.
Here’s my son as we approached Fairy Falls, which is almost 200 feet high.
Here’s one of my stitched, panoramic shots of Fairy Falls.
This is where I was able to take off my sandals. That meant that I was able to walk into the pool to get a shot from nearly below the falls.
The only thing that kept me from getting closer was the fear of getting my camera wet from the spray.
We stopped there and had lunch.
The view looking away from Fairy Falls is pretty good, too.
That’s the start of Fairy Creek on the left. Off in the distance are Twin Buttes. And if you look closely to the right of the base of the leftmost butte, you can maybe see some steam coming up from what we later discovered was Imperial Geyser.
That was our next destination, but I’ll save that for my next Yellowstone posting.