Day 10 – October 6, 2016 – Thursday
Well, I never set the alarm last night because the weather was to stay the same and I figured I’d get up in plenty of time as I usually do, and so amazingly, I slept until 7am and noticed a hint of a break in the clouds. I dashed to a spot on the Gibbon River and managed to squeak off a few pics before the light lost any hint of color and then sped off to the same spot as yesterday on Fountain Flat Drive where Gibbon Creek winds it’s way through the flats. But when I parked by a small depression with water in it and some grasses with snow lit by the low light, I had to squeeze that in first before running over to the bend in the creek. I managed just one shot with the sun still out and then it went behind some clouds. It was a hectic morning but at least I gave it a shot. After paying for camping last night, I headed back to the Bobby Sox trees again since they had snow on them again feeling I just didn’t get them the other day. I finally did my first motion blur of the trip there but had trouble with the sky being too bright even with the split ND. Finally got something I may be able to work with and it was time for a shower at the Old Faithful Inn (only $4.74) and shampoo, conditioner and soap was supplied. The only thing in question was the hot water which took several (10) minutes to appear! I found out today that the inly building with wi-fi was the Snow Lodge, so I went over and discovered that yes, they had wi-fi available, but it was $4.95 for one hour! I passed on that option.
The plan after the shower and lunch was to go to the visitor center to see if roads were open to get to Mammoth. Found out snow tires were required on the open road while the other was still closed for construction, so I’ll spend another day here and hope for the best tomorrow. If roads are still closed (a lot of snow at the higher elevations) I’ll head for Craters of the Moon using the west entrance. I hope not, because I really wanted to see the terraces.
I wanted to hike around the Upper geyser Basin anyway, which has so many geysers and fountains it’s amazing. I took some shots of bacterial mats and some springs (named and unnamed) on the way to Riverside Geyser having a window from 405p-505p, but scheduled for 435p. So I sat down next to a guy (Ted Olafson – Lt. in Everett PD) and we chatted while waiting for it to go off, and sure enough, at 435p it went off for a good while, along with a side geyser which was phenomenal! Even better was that the sun was directly behind us, which is not what you usually would want, but with it we got some rainbows!! Then Ted and I went over to Grand Geyser scheduled in a little while and sure enough it went off even greater than Riverside, but without as good a rainbow. The light this afternoon was really good and it looked like we would be able to get back for Old Faithful for a 6:12 eruption. But while passing Castle Geyser, we saw some water coming out said he thought it may be going off at 550p and it had really good side lighting. But someone passing said it had gone off at 1 this afternoon, so we hotfooted it to Old Faithful with the light still great. We still had a way to go to get into position and would probably make it in time except Old Faithful decided this time to go off almost 10 minutes early!! So it was an environmental shot of the eruption with great lighting and if you look really closely, the small white speck is Old Faithful; probably the only shot of it from my time in Yellowstone. After all, who wants a picture of a gray geyser against a gray sky?
I figured I had about 90 minutes to go out to the flats for some side-lighting and back for a dusk Old Faithful. So off we went and the great lighting turned into a snow squall and heavy snow falling, so back again for the dusk shot of Old Faithful but it was all clouded. So bust at then end of the day, but bonuses with the late afternoon geysers. I can’t complain.
So the usual evening of dinner at the bar and sit around the Inn listening to the music of the cellist who tonight, for the first time played the Pachebal (?) She made several electronic loops and played a solo with all the different parts playing electronically, it was just wonderful and I stopped writing just to give my full attention to the music. It brought back memories of a honeymoon so long ago.