A Road Less Traveled: Adventure with Green Tortoise (Part III)

Day 4

With clean cloths and clean hair, I was in a good mood for our next adventure: the geysers at Yellowstone National Park. More than 300 geysers, all part of a large volcanic system, constantly release pressure in the form of steam, smoke, and bubbly mud.

For more information on the history and geology of the Yellowstone go to: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/yellowstone/yellowstone_geo_hist_52.html

Morning Glory Geyser at Yellowstone

Morning Glory Geyser at Yellowstone

The Green Tortoise bus dropped us a few miles away from the visitor’s center and we resumed a slow stroll along a trail with labeled geysers.

Under the scorching heat, we dragged ourselves from one “wonder” geyser to another, seeking protection from hard-to-find trees. Orange-yellow, egg-shaped geysers replaced baby-blue, eye-shaped ones. From the mineral deposits, some geysers, such as the impressive Castle Geyser, developed tall structures and strange shapes.

The Castle Geyser at Yellowstone

The Castle Geyser at Yellowstone

Baby-blue geyser at Yellowstone

Baby-blue geyser at Yellowstone

The geysers have distinctive, and often, funny names. My favorite, the Economic Geyser, made me chuckle. I thought, “A great logo for the Great Recession we are currently in.” Others competed for our attention with names like Beauty Pool, Comet Geyser, Infant Geyser, Lion Geyser, etc.

Here is an alphabetic list of geysers at Yellowstone: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Yellowstone_geothermal_features

Our final destination was the Old Faithful, perhaps, the most famous geyser in North America, called “Faithful” because it erupts predictably every 91 minutes, satisfying the desire of thousands of visitors per year to observe geology in action.

As the Old Faithful was about to erupt, a standing crowd of tourists raised their cameras in expectation. The geyser made a few abortive attempts, and then, suddenly, it showed its full glory. We added to the million redundant camera shots of Old Faithful, a proof that we participated in the grand circus of people with technology eager to frieze a fleeting moment for the digital eternity.

Day 5

I learned today that the Yellowstone National Park has its own Grand Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, not to be confused with the one and only Grand Canyon.

Bison

Bison

As we were talking excitedly about our next destination, our bus suddenly stopped. There were lines of cars in front of us and behind us. It was a herd of bison! Drivers slowed down to take photos of the nearby bison, a few of them shamelessly running along the line of cars or crossing in front of them.

We were shooting pictures from the left, right, and driver’s window, competing for the best shot of bison.

Hundreds of bison photos after, we arrived at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The Artist’s Point, the end of the first trail, revealed a panoramic view of the canyon, the creek, and a tall waterfall in the distance. The intricate mingling of yellow, orange, pink, green, blue, and rocky brown created a divine combination. “Yes, this is what I have come for! The colors, the height, the unimaginable beauty of a canyon!”

The Waterfall at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

The Waterfall at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

The 300 stairs leading towards the waterfall

The 300 stairs leading towards the waterfall

Some of us went down the challenging 300 step-stairs to the waterfall. Steep and dizzy downhill, hard-to-breathe and muscle-cramping climb uphill, it was worth every single step. At the end of the stairs, we saw a rainbow caressing the tall roaring waterfall. I was speechless.

Later on, a few of us took a trail to a smaller waterfall, then were able to sit closer to it, and even feel the small drops of water on our tired bodies. Immersed in the sound of thundering waterfall, we were just there with no thoughts, no expectation, nothing but presence.