July 7th ~ Norris Geyser Basin
We spent part of the day exploring Norris Geyser Basin. Not too exciting to be honest, at least compared to my favorites between Madison Junction and Old Faithful. Although it is the most acidic of the basins, the main showpieces are dormant and erupt rarely.
WARNING: Do not allow spray from any of the geysers land on your glasses or camera lens. It is highly acidic and can damage or destroy them if not wiped clean immediately.
Still, there are a few features that are noteworthy, at least for geyser lovers…
First off, Norris Basin is divided in to two sections. The northern, flatter section is named Porcelain Basin. It is wide open and sits below the entrance/museum area. To complete the loop is about a 1/2 mile walk.
The larger Back Basin is where the stars reside. Or at least they were stars in their heyday. One thing about Yellowstone, it is constantly changing. What is dormant today, may spring back into life at any moment.
There are two loops to take in Back Basin. The shorter 1 mile or slightly longer 1.5 mile paths are partly in the shade which will give some relief during the heat of the day.
Steamboat Geyser is the world’s tallest active geyser. But active is a key word in this sentence, as the last time it had a major eruption (which can be 300 – 385 feet high), was on September 3, 2014. Steamboat does have frequent minor blasts however of 10-40 feet just to let us know she is still brewing.
The cisterns brown, orange and green colors are algae and bacteria, each requiring a different temperature to survive in. What is unique about this is that these tiny organisms can live in an environment too hot for humans to tolerate. But beyond the beautiful colors, their real value is that the bacteria produce an enzyme that is now being used in medical research in testing for the virus that causes aids and for “DNA” fingerprinting.
Echinus is the most acidic of all of the geysers in Yellowstone. It used to erupt regularly in the 1990’s, but now is totally unpredictable with days, weeks, even months between eruptions.
“Except on warm summer afternoons, steam frequently fills the cavern of this intriguing hot spring. Visitors must wait patiently for a glimpse of the sulfur-lined cave and boiling green water.” ~ US National Park Service
Although I did not see a name for this small lake, I thought the color was visually pleasing.
Named for it’s temperamental, spitfire activity, this little lady frequently shoots up small bursts, but major events are also rare and unpredictable.
The afternoon was spent catching up with way too much laundry. There is a large laundromat in the Campground section of the park at Canyon Village. It is not cheap, but convenient. A load of wash was $2.75 and dryer $2.00.
We had planned on visiting the falls afterwards, but the heavens opened up and it poured. With skies darkened and threats of more showers, we headed back to our RV instead.
We did see this little guy though sometime along the way.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for a wardrobe full of easy “wash and wear” clothing that do not require any special treatment. I did bring a tiny iron as well as a steamer, but have yet to break them out of the drawer. Perhaps I should on occasion, but hopefully the few wrinkles will not be too visible in the pictures, and if they are that we might be forgiven.
This was our last day/night at Norris Campground. Next stop: Mammoth Hot Springs up in the far north-west corner of Yellowstone.
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