Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska - Tuesday, August 8, 2023.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Watch Your Step – Tues., Aug. 14

Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park:

I want to share some important information with you. When you go to Yellowstone, especially any of the geyser basins, watch your step. You will see signs many places that warn you to stay on the trail. For good reason. The hot springs, bubbling mud pots, pools, fumaroles, and geysers are hot…some are acidic, but most of them can cause serious or fatal burns. In places, there is only a thin crust overlying a hot springs pool. Step off a path and you could end up cooked. The temperature of hot springs and mudpots are 50-100 degrees F hotter than what the human body stand--most run in the vicinity of 175-210 degrees F.

Another tip: toxic gases exist in Yellowstone. Dangerous levels of hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide have been measured in some hydrothermal areas. The national park Trail Guides for these areas state: “If you feel sick, leave the location immediately.” [Emphasis theirs.]

The landscape at Norris Geyser Basin is surreal, otherworldly. Steam rises out of holes, large and small. Boiling water bubbles from the ground. New fumaroles and changes to the existing landscape happen frequently here.

I have been reading the book “Deaths in Yellowstone” by Lee H. Whittlesey. There is a whole chapter about deaths caused by people’s carelessness around thermal features.

A Norris Geyser Basin pictorial follows:

Boardwalks to keep you from breaking through the crust

Small geysers.
Good reason to stay on the trail!
Steamboat Geyser.
Steaming lakes.

Steamboat Geyser.

Surreal steaming landscapes.

Hot water growth of thermophiles (orange) and algae (green).

Double click to read.

Porcelain Basin.
Double click to read.

Hillside solfatara.
Total 3 miles hiked today.

This morning we did laundry and chores. Checked the post office…still no mail from our mail forwarding service. Supposedly it’s on the way (mailed Monday).

Tomorrow is our big hiking day. We plan to do the Fairy Falls/Imperial Geyser Volkswalk (7 miles roundtrip), Mystic Falls (2.5 miles roundtrip), and Lone Star Geyser (4.8 miles roundtrip).

Time to get some shut eye.

Travel Bug out.

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