Living Earth

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We woke up in the tent and it was cold. It was in the low 40’s. That’s even colder than in San Francisco.

We managed to warm up enough to start moving around, ate breakfast, and closed up camp. We had to move to another campsite today as it was not possible to find one spot for our whole stay.

Since I was more excited than the rest of the group about our Yellowstone visit, my dear friends let me make plans for the day. I had no idea where I wanted to go first, but wanted to see it all. We drove up the lower geyser basin and stopped at the first place where we saw that the earth was smoking.

We left our car and started off on a pleasant walk. Along the way, we passed some steaming hot springs, but nothing phenomenal. We came to a trailhead where a small path veered off towards something called the Queen’s Laundry. We followed it.

The path led us along a scenic meadow. Off in the distance we saw steam rising, so naturally we followed. The earth opened up and before us lay a brilliantly colored hot spring. Aquamarine, turquoise, green, orange, yellow, and red figured in this Daliesque landscape. As an added touch, a bison skull stared directly at us from the shallow crystal clear bubbling pool of water. This was better than what my imagination could come up with.

Along the way we walked along a meadow off the trail. We wanted to get to one spot but it was tough to figure out how. Along the way, we came upon numerous little streams. It was tricky as first we needed to figure out if the water was cold or hot, before seeing whether we need to clear it or if it is safe to step into it. At one spot, Edek adventurously jumped across a three foot little stream safely landing on the other bank. However the other bank was not solid and he sank almost knee-deep in mud.

We continued along the trail and discovered many more beautiful bubbling and steaming creations. As we walked along, we left no stinking sulfurous hole unexplored. The Queen’s Laundry ended up being a much bigger version of what we’ve seen earlier — a large bubbling colorful spring. We saw white mounds with perfectly formed rimmed pools of boiling water. Elk were grazing in the surrounding fields. We sat on the edge of a violently-boiling cauldron. The earth is quite alive in this neck of the woods.

Along the way back, we washed our muddy feet in a pleasantly warm stream before making our way back to the car. We spent the latter part of the day walking along the boardwalk-like trails of the upper geyser basin. All of a sudden, everyone retreated to one side of the walkway. We looked around, and up ahead in the distance was a huge bison, walking nonchalantly along the path, directly in our direction. With nerves of steel and wobbly knees I stood on the side and recorded him as the beastie made his way to wherever he was going to.

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