Monday, July 22, 2013

Yellowstone - Day 4–Old Faithful and a swimming hole


On our trip to Old Faithful on Saturday, we took a quick drive through Firehole Canyon.  There was a spot in the river where people were swimming and jumping from the rocks into the river, and the kids definitely wanted to go back there and try it.

For our last visit to the park, we decided that we would drive down to Old Faithful in the morning, but that we would wear our bathing suits so that we could stop and swim on the way back.

We got to the park around 10:30, and almost immediately encountered a traffic jam.  We thought it was going to be an elk or bison, and were prepared to just keep on driving, but then we discovered that it was a bald eagle.

Bald Eagle


This one was a lot closer than the other we had seen, so I got out of the car to get a quick picture . . . Nice!









We kept moving after that, and arrived at Old Faithful around 11:45.  Apparently, we had just missed the previous eruption, and the next one was predicted for 1:01pm.  We had some time to kill, so we walked through the Gift Shop and the Visitor Center.  The Old Faithful Visitor Center is very educational with all kinds of displays and interactive exhibits to explain the geysers and other geological features of Yellowstone.

Around 12:30, we made our way out to the seating area around Old Faithful, and got seats.  A ranger was giving a talk on the geyser, and we caught the end of it.

Ranger talk while we waited

Old Faithful


Looking at the picture from my Grandma’s visit 40+ years ago, it appears that you used to be able to get A LOT closer to the geyser.  There’s a much bigger space now between the geyser and the seating area!







There was just a little steam venting when we first arrived,

Waiting for Old Faithful


Just steam for awhile

A tease from Old Faithful


but occasionally there would be little bursts of water and steam.





The prediction window is 20 minutes long (1:01pm +/- 10 minutes), and the crowd grew as the time got closer.


LOTS of people waiting for Old Faithful!

We all continued to watch as 1pm came and went . . . and Old Faithful continued to tease us with small spurts of water and steam.

More action from Old Faithful!

Might be the real thing this time!


Finally, at 1:18pm, the real show began!

Yep - we think this is it!

We watched in amazement as the tower of steaming water grew to over 130 feet in height!

It's getting taller!

And taller!!!

Maximum height!

We kept watching as the tower of steaming water reduced in height,

Almost done!

It dies back down . . .


and after 2-1/2 minutes it was over!

Two and a half minutes later . . .

What a great show!

The crowd dispersed, making room for the next round of viewers, and we went back to the car.  We headed back the way we came from, looking for a picnic area where we could stop for lunch before getting to the swimming hole.

We stopped in the picnic area at Firehole Lake Drive, and then continued around the drive to see the Great Fountain Geyser.

Great Fountain Geyser

White Dome erupting in the distanceThis one wasn’t erupting while we were there, but we could see another in the distance.

By the time we got to it, it was done, though!

White dome geyser

The kids had had enough of geysers, hot springs, paint pots . . . and other thermal features, and they just wanted to go swimming, so we made our way back to Firehole Canyon.

We drove through the canyon,

Firehole River

and past Firehole Falls.

Rapids in Firehole Canyon

Firehole Falls


This is another spot that my Grandma had visited . . . I wonder if they allowed swimming back then?!








It wasn’t nearly as crowded as it had been on Saturday, and we lucked out and got a parking spot right at the top of the steps as somebody was leaving!

Warning Sign

We made our way down to the water,

The swimming hole in Firehole Canyon

Getting in the water


and the boys got right in!

After taking their picture, I joined them and we made our way into the current.

The center of the river was moving pretty good, but you could stay near the edges without too much trouble.  The water wasn’t too cold, but just enough to be refreshing!




Despite the warning signs, there was a spot upriver where people were jumping off the canyon wall into a deep pool, so we waded over there to watch. 

These guys weren’t crazy enough to try that, but there was a low rock up further where they could jump into some rapids and ride them back to where I was, so they all decided to give that a try.

This is the spot – I got this picture as we drove out!

Where the kids were jumping in the water!

They all tried it once, and Tom decided that was enough for his old body, but the boys kept going back for more!  They got a little banged up, but nothing bad . . . Nicolas said he wished we had found this earlier in the week, so he could have spent more time there!

Just before we left, they decided to float over the small rapid at the end of the swimming area, and Nicolas said that was rougher than the big rapids they had gone in . . . he hit his foot on a rock, and made me take a picture of it for the blog!! LOL

Nicolas' injured foot

Swimming in Firehole Canyon was a great way to end our week in Yellowstone!

1 comment:

  1. Glad you got to see Old Faithful erupt before you left!!! That water looked cold to me;o))


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