Day 7 – October 3, 2016 – Monday
Made it back to Madison Campground around 10:30pm last night, climbed into the sleeping bag and went right to sleep. Woke up around 6 having had a good night’s sleep, was pretty cozy in the bag and so stayed in until 7. Another dreary day though but no rain until around noon. Three elk in the campground this morning, all females that didn’t seem to care I was watching them; just looked up and then kept eating. Got the campsite again for tonight, shot a few pics near Terrace Spring of the beautifully colored autumn grasses, then headed to Midway Geyser Basin and the the Grand Prismatic Spring. I got there kind of early, managed to get a parking spot, but it was a circus!! Busloads of tourists jammed the boardwalk all the way around, all taking multiple pictures of themselves every few feet, always striking some sort of pose like “it’s all about me” and seemingly uninterested with what’s there, only that they were there. I made a complete trip around the boardwalk using only my 50mm feeling at the beginning that I was somehow missing the colors until I found a thin bright orange line through a field of taupe, and then the colors started to appear. Since there was so much moisture around, the steam blocked quite a bit of anything in the distance, so I had to stick with what was close to the boardwalk. It was an abstract morning of all the different lines, colors textures and patterns. I wanted to take another turn around with the 17-35mm, but I had had enough of the throng. There was a funny moment though. On the way out, I stopped by the entrance bridge to photograph a small multicolored waterfall that spilled into the Firehole River from the Grand Prismatic. There was no one there photographing it when I entered and no one there when I started to photograph it; I even tried a pano there. When I was ready to leave the spot, now there were some 30 bus people taking pictures of themselves there…it was truly a circus. I counted no less that 8 busses there and I had a hard time trying to get out of the place. Freeze dried Pasta Primavera for lunch at a picnic area and luckily, it started to rain just as I was packing up; and it never stopped after that.
I headed up to West Thumb Geyser Basin and it was snowing there with a driving wind. I figured I’d just walk around just to see what was there before I even attempted photography in these conditions. Well, the bus people followed me and there was a throng on the boardwalk along the shores of Yellowstone Lake, all with umbrellas taking a million selfies!!! After walking the circle, I decided there were two spots I wanted to photograph, but felt a tripod with an umbrella was out of the question. So, I ripped open a plastic bag and attached it to the lens with a rubber band and put that inside another plastic bag, boosted the ISO to 800 and braced on railings. I did the Black Pool and Fisherman’s Pot all in a driving snowstorm, but at least this time the hordes were mostly gone. Drove on to Yellowstone Lake Hotel as it continued to snow and had dinner there. A more upscale type place but without any high ceiling main room like the Old Faithful. Driving back, the snow had gotten worse and had to drive carefully, but did stop in the fading light to shoot some fire damaged trees I had noticed on the way up. I tried handholding out the car window, but that wasn’t as sharp as I would like, so out came the tripod and umbrella since the wind wasn’t nearly as bad there. Continued on to the Old Faithful to hang there until bedtime and the 16-mile drive to the Madison Campground. It’s just so hard to leave this place each night, especially with the weather tonight.