Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li
liralen

In The Caldera

The night was far colder than I'd expected it to be. I ended up snuggled up against John and stealing heat. Jet enjoyed the coolness, too, but was up when John was up. I slept a bit more by myself as the sun started to warm up the van, but by 8:30 it was too warm, so I got up. John had made pancakes, and they were eating them happily in a near-empty campsite. All the families had headed out early. I guess the van had insulated us, very well, from all the noises outside.

I was unambitious, even after having my coffee. Jet wanted to see geysers. The West Thumb was near us, with just hot pools and paint pots. But there was a lot of beautiful stuff there, and it was close. So we went and did the half a mile and quarter mile loops looking at all the hot springs of all colors, blue, brown, black, and deep. Jet liked it well enough, but asked if every spot was a geyser. *grin* There was one Fishing Pot, where the guides used to catch fish, dip it into the pot to cook it and then serve it to you for more money. Hee.

The paint pots were good and active, so Jet enjoyed those quite a bit more than the still, steaming hot springs. Even when the springs were a deep turquoise blue and so clear it seemed like looking down into forever when gazing down into the Abyss hot spring. Mmm...

The lake was interesting, along with the display that showed that the lake had probably resulted from volcanic activity that pushed up the edges and left thin pockets along the inside, where the hot springs and paint pots pushed through. The depth of the lake at that point was far deeper, too, so it's likely that whole floor just dropped into the mouth of that volcano.

By the time we were done, we were hot and hungry, so we stopped and had lunch at the picnic area right there. There was a table near the shade, which we moved into the shade. Crackers and cheese, carrots and fruit were very yummy with plenty of fizzy water, Kool-Aid, and tracking chipmunks through the forest floor. It was good.

I asked Jet, "Do you want to see one geyser that we're pretty sure will 'explode' or go out to a field where there are lots of geysers which are likely to go off, but we don't know if they will and when they will."
"I want to see the sure one."

So we went to Old Faithful. John hadn't remembered the three huge parking lots before the lodge itself. I had. I remembered that they had been empty when we'd come through in May seven years ago. Completely empty, along with all the grandstands around Old Faithful. This time, we had an hour before it was likely to go off, so we took some time to shop, find propane for our stove, and get a couple of ice cream sandwiches and bars for a cooling snack. When we went back all the stands were mostly full. By the time the geyser started to slosh and steam, the stands were packed, and there were three layers of people beyond them. John estimated it at nearly 5000 people just for the single instance.

That was astonishing, compared to it just being four people standing out in the rain back in that May so long ago. Back when the park was newly burned and so thoroughly, the baby trees had been inches tall, and the earth all the way down to the Lodge blackened and scarred with fire. Now it was all green again, the trees gangly youngsters with thick foliage, hiding the forest floor that had been so stark before.

And, this time, Old Faithful was faithful and went off right in the range of time given, which it hadn't that early spring evening. Jet got to see a geyser erupt. It sloshed around a few times, more and more frequently, and then higher and higher and then a constant stream a good hundred feet high. Then it went gradually lower and lower and took a long time to end. Folks had already gotten up and left by the time it was half its size, which was kind of sad. We sat through to the end.

Then folks started splashing around in the streams that resulted from the eruption, which was sad and stupid, as they didn't know what was in that water. Though some tested it to see the temperature, I was glad when the ranger finally chased them out of the area. Sigh.

From there we decided to just head back to the campsite and go swimming in the lake. Or at least go and throw rocks in the lake. It was great fun, but a bit too sunny. We all used a lot of sun screen, but it was still too hot. The lake was shallow enough around the edges that the water was very warm. Jet loved going into the lake to find rocks, and we threw them in happily for him to find. I brought along my knitting and knit a bit. John swam for a while, which was good, too. After a while, we got tired of the sun, and went for a walk around the lake in the shade of the trees. Then, to my surprise, a couple of mosquitoes attacked me! The first time since we'd been at the lake, there were a few mosquitoes! From there, we headed back to the camp ground, and the dust and stuff chased off the mosquitoes, but the biting flies were still around. Those flies bit hard, and left welts that itched, darn it.

Dinner was spaghetti with vodka sauce. Jet had it with just a three cheese mix we'd found at the grocery store and ate a whole plate of spaghetti with it. All the walking really helped up the appetite. We had a great fire after that, and roasted marshmallows and made s'mores. Yummy. By that time, it was dark and we headed to bed. Jet liked spending his second night "sleeping in a volcano." This time I remembered to pull out a shirt for when it got too cold and my sweater as an extra blanket for later, too. That worked out great.
Tags: 2006_roadtrip
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