Friday, September 05, 2014

A Steamy Evening on Hell’s Half Acre

A. F. Litt: Yellowstone National Park &emdash; Steamy Evening at Grand Prismatic Spring

Steamy Evening at Grand Prismatic Spring
Midway Geyser Basin.  Yellowstone National Park. August 2, 2014
Copyright © 2014 A. F. Litt, All Rights Reserved

Photo of the Day by A. F. Litt: September 5, 2014

This is the largest hot spring in Yellowstone National Park.  It is 370 feet in diameter and 121 feet deep, which doesn’t sound like much, but when you are standing next to it, it feels much more like a large pond or small lake than a hot spring…  Well, except for the heat and steam pouring off of it! 

The features of the Midway Geyser Basin, all huge, probably felt even bigger after spending the day wandering through the Lower Geyser Basin, which is spectacular and beautiful, but a little more life-sized, so to speak.  The features at Midway feel unworldly…  Like we’ve suddenly been transported, via wooden walkway, from Earth to Io or someplace.

The Grand Prismatic Spring is the third largest in the world.  The only two hot springs larger than it are in New Zealand.  According to the National Park Service, “a description of this spring by fur trapper Osborne Russell in 1839 also makes it the earliest described thermal feature in Yellowstone that is definitely identifiable.”

In 1889, Rudyard Kipling dubbed the Midway Basin “Hell’s Half Acre,” which is certainly a more descriptive name of this place than Midway, which “despite its small size … possesses two of the largest hot springs in the world.”

We hit there at a great time of the day for pictures, but not so great for actually seeing much of the Grand Prismatic Spring or the Excelsior Geyser Crater…  The air was cooling and the steam was thick, adding much to the other worldly feel of the location.

But it was a spectacular place to spend the sunset. 

So spectacular, in fact, that we accidently killed the van’s battery while wandering around up there.  I thought we’d spend a few minutes here; we spent over an hour…  Unfortunately, we were charging up a bunch of gear in the car and I accidently left the headlights on while the boy’s mom and Bella (our dog) were holding down the fort.

Thanks to the kind fellows from Illinois who gave us a jump and got us back on the road!

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