It turned out to be a gorgeous day, so we headed out from the ranch early in the morning. We wanted to be at the trail head by 9 AM as it is so busy in the park that if you arrive too late it can be difficult to get a parking space. We were pretty close, and pulled in at the exact same time as Dan and Jonell. Great timing!
The trail head is in an area called Biscuit Basin, another geyser and thermal feature area in the park. Biscuit Basin was named for a former feature found here, geyserite knobs that resembled biscuits that used to surround some of the features here, predominately Sapphire Pool.
Crystal clear Sapphire Pool used to have strings of bubbles coming to the surface, that would occasionally reach a rolling boil engulfing the entire spring. In 1959, the Lake Hebgen earthquake occurred to the northwest, and Sapphire Pool began erupting 125 feet in the air. These violent eruptions increased the size of Sapphire's crater, destroying the unique "biscuits" and changed its shape from circular to oval. After 1964 the eruptions dwindled, and ceased any significant activity.
Mustard Geyser is actually two small geysers connected underground that merge and spouts through one crater.
Avoca Spring is a grotto-like cone that was an active boiling spring until 1959 when it developed into an erratic geyser.
Silver Globe Geyser is next to Avoca and is actually connected to it.
From here we veered off the boardwalk circling the basin and headed out on the trail to Mystic Falls.The trail is 3.5 miles round-trip from this point, and is quite steep in a few areas.
The trail started out innocently enough, following the Little Firehole River for awhile.
The forest area opened up as we got closer to the falls...
and we saw a lot of wildflowers, especially these sunny yellow ones.
A turn in the trail brought us to our first sight of these beautiful, 70 foot high falls.
We then started switch-backing up the mountain to higher vantage points.
Looking back as we climbed, we could see how high we were getting. The river we were walking alongside is in the lower right of the picture.
Now much higher than the brink of the falls, we could see the cascades leading to it. And we still had higher to climb before getting to the Biscuit Basin overlook!
Finally arriving at the overlook, we took in the view of where we had started out, far below!
After a brief rest, it was time to tackle to steep switchbacks heading back down. As much uphill as we had on the way up from the direction we came, I sure was glad we hadn't decided to take this route up to the overlook!
Back at Biscuit Basin, we checked out some cool, bright yellow thermal bacterial mats...
and some dead trees beside the blue pools, and then headed off to the Old Faithful Visitor Center for some lunch.
We decided to have a nice lunch in the restaurant of Old Faithful Inn rather than the cafeteria this time.
After lunch we tagged along the free tour of this historic Inn.
The tour took us down and showed us one of the rooms available for guests.
Its pretty small, just a double bed with a dresser...
and a sink to wash up in. There is a shared bathroom for several rooms in the hallway...no private baths!
The staircase went up to an area called the Crow's Nest, but the same 1959 Lake Hebgen earthquake caused enough structural damage to render the staircase unusable.
I liked the "candles" used for lighting at the Inn; all electric, no open-flame candles allowed.
After a stop for some huckleberry ice cream, it was time to say farewell to Dan and Jonell and head back home to the Tetons. We do expect to visit with them one more time before we head off to Amazon for the fall, we would like to visit and see West Yellowstone.
This past week was very busy for us. We had visitors from back east, our good friends Jim Walker and Judy Edwards. We've known them for a long time, back in New York, and now get together when we are traveling in the same areas. They decided to take a road trip out west this summer, and we were quite pleased to be able to give them the whirlwind tour of our summer playground.
Judy and another friend from Bridgehampton, Clay Dilworth, posed for a picture at Oxbow Bend with Judy's cute little dog Shadow.
We also went for a drive to Two Ocean Lake.
A stop at Jackson Lake for a view of the Teton Range across the willow flats.
and Jenny Lake, with Cascade Canyon in the distance.
The best part of the drive occurred going up Signal Mountain, with a big black bear teasing us as he poked through the bushes alongside the road...
and finally came in sight for a great photo op!
We planned several activities together for the week, with a trip to Jackson for sightseeing and dinner one night, and Al took them all four-wheel driving on River Road one night while I was working. They took a great float trip on the Snake River one evening, seeing elk, moose, eagles, beavers and river otters. All too soon, the week was up and we bid them a fond farewell as they headed north to stay at West Yellowstone for another week.
We also have family arriving for a visit starting tomorrow! Al's sisters Ginny and Susie and our best friend Patti arrive tomorrow night for a ten night stay here with us. So we will be reprising our roles as tour guides, with driving tours, a float trip, a rodeo, and a dinner cruise on Jackson Lake among the highlights for the next ten days. Pictures and news will arrive as I find time between guiding and working :-).