Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024
Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Our Distance Today was More than a Half Marathon – Wed., Aug. 15

Lone Star Geyser, Mystic Falls, & Fairy Falls/Solitary Geyser/Imperial Geyser:

Trail start time for Lone Star Geyser was 7:35 a.m. We had no idea what time the geyser was supposed to erupt, just that it erupts every three hours. Our roundtrip distance was five miles, which included a side jaunt to Kepler Cascades.

The morning was cold, about 39 F. Bob was so cold, he changed from a T-shirt to a long-sleeved, warmer shirt. Starting out, we walked fast. I kept my hands inside the fleece jacket sleeves to warm them up. We covered the 2.4 miles to Lone Star Geyser in 50 minutes. The trail was easy and relatively flat, following the Firehole River for most of the hike.

Easy trail.

Firehole River.

When we arrived at the geyser area, Lone Star was puffing steam. We know it erupts every three hours. I checked the geyser log book. The last time someone had recorded an eruption was at 6:00 p.m. the day before. That meant it was going to go off again around 9:00 a.m. So we sat and waited.

It started off with some puffs of steam.

Then some little teases to keep us interested.
At 8:45 a.m., 9:00 a.m. and 9:05 a.m., the geyser was having minor eruptions. We figured the major eruption to 45 ft. would happen within the next few minutes. Sure enough, at 9:12 a.m., up it went. The major eruption lasted about three minutes. We loved that we were there just in time to see it.

Bob gettin' goofy waiting for it to erupt.

Minor eruption...prelude to the main event.

Thar she blows!

Lone Star Geyser...worth the wait.

Loved the show.

Scenery from the trail.
Squirrel having breakfast.
Firehole River--love the morning light.

When we arrived back at the parking lot, we took a short side hike over to Kepler Cascades to view the waterfall and canyon. We have not been disappointed by a waterfall in Yellowstone or Grand Tetons! Full flow, powerful, dramatic rocks, great sound.

Kepler Cascades

Our next hike of the day was to Mystic Falls out of Biscuit Basin (2.5 miles roundtrip). The first ½ mile of this hike is on the boardwalk at Biscuit Basin, and then it heads through forest along a stream. The trail stays with the stream up to Mystic Falls. For some reason I had it in my mind from a past trip, that this was a steep, hard trail. It wasn’t.

Someone put helpful notes on the trail sign.
A hot pool in Biscuit Basin.
Leafy arnica.
Mountain bog gentian??
Mystic Falls.

Me at Mystic Falls.
Leafy arnica against the river.
Scarlet paintbrush.

Western blue flag (iris family)
 For our last hike of the day, we took on the Fairy Falls/Solitary Geyser/Imperial Geyser Volkswalk (7 miles roundtrip). We started at noon and finished at 2:30 p.m. All in all, this is an easy hike…no major ups and downs. I would recommend that this hike be completed in the morning as there isn’t much shade along the way. Make sure to go all the way to Imperial Geyser. It’s worth the trip. 

Fairy Falls trail.
Wildflowers line parts of the trail.
Still on Fairy Falls Trail.
Fairy Falls--a nice, cool, misty oasis.

Heading toward Solitary and Imperial Geysers.

One last pic of Bob at Fairy Falls.
The way to Imperial Geyser Basin.
Solitary Geyser.
Minerals in river, encapsulate branches in river.
Imperial Geyser erupts pretty much continuously out of a turquoise-colored pool. If you watch the geyser carefully, you will notice it whirlygigs out of the water, starting almost from a whirlpool and shoots up to heights of about 40-50’. We were mesmerized by it. We took time to eat our protein bar and continued to be amazed by this little-visited geyser.

Imperial Geyser
Imperial Geyser--a continuous show.
The pool at Imperial Geyser when the geyser rests.

Imperial Geyser dancing.
Imperial Geyser leaping out.
Firehole River with hot springs rivulets entering it.
By the time we finished this hike, we had walked 14.5 miles today, longer than a half marathon (13.1 miles)! My feet and hips felt it. By the end of the hike, my legs and feet felt like lead. Ugh. Couldn’t wait to get back to the car.

As soon as we returned to the 5er, I took off my shoes and socks and laid down on the bed. Ahhhhhh! Relief. Spent about 20 minutes relaxing, then showered and got ready for dinner. Bob took me out to the Lake Lodge, our home away from home.

Lake Lodge is set up cafeteria style where you get a tray and go through the line to choose what you want for dinner. I was hungry enough to eat a horse, but settled for turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, cranberry sauce, steamed veggies and a whole wheat roll for $12.95. (I got the regular portion. There was also a small portion for $8.95.) Bob ordered chicken which came with rice pilaf and steamed veggies. He also helped me eat my turkey and stuffing. We finished it all. That’s what happens when you hike 14.5 miles on an oatmeal breakfast at 6:00 a.m., an apple and some trail mix. You get hungry. We had dinner at 6:00 p.m., 12 hours after breakfast.

A very good day!

Travel Bug says, “Lights out!”

We’re going to try to be at a viewpoint to spot wolves at 6:00 a.m. in Hayden Valley. (A number of wolf spotters are out with spotting scopes and will let people have a look.)

We’ll follow that up with hikes at North Rim of Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and a hike to Natural Bridge. Then it’s time to clean up the 5er, pack stuff away, and head to Cody, Wyoming on Friday morning.

Good night all.


  1. Love the pics! Looks like you're having a great time.

    1. Thank you. We absolutely love Yellowstone. This was our fourth time there.

      Have you been?


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