Monday, September 15, 2008

Donut Falls

Current mood: adventurous
Category:Travel and Places

We finally decided to attempt the Donut Falls hike again this labor day. This after the failed attempt at it.

This was the road leading to the trailhead…. Landis is 6'1 see how much over his head the snow is? Yea I guess May is not the time to go hiking up in the mountains.

Back to our second attempt at a better time of year….
The hike itself was rather easy, your typical walk through the woods. Very pretty.

The falls are up just around the bend here, but I thought this was pretty.


Finally we get to the falls. Upon first look they don't seem very impressive. I read somewhere that apparently there was a rockslide not very long ago, so it may have been more pretty before being covered up.

Here you can see the water disappearing into the side of the mountain.
The climb up to the falls is a lot more difficult than the trail. You have to scramble over boulders constantly judging the easiest way up. Personally my easiest route ended with me crossing the river 3 or 4 times.

I did take this cool close up though.


This picture gives you a pretty good idea as to why this was named Donut Falls.

I climbed inside the little cave underneath which hides a beautiful pool of water. There is this wonderful sense of serenity when you step inside the cavern. The voices of the other hikers disappear into a calming din of rushing water.  And then I captured this.

I love this image. It's like an angel stepping out of the top of the cave.


Here is the top where the water comes in. I guess this really gives you an idea of it's namesake.

The view from the top.

As I was climbing down I overheard a couple of guys daring each other to get in. As I wasn't willing to endure the ice cold water myself, I still thought it'd make a cool pic so I prodded them along, calling them pussies etc. Finally I lifted the camera up and said I'll take your picture and they stormed right in. haha.


I am glad we decided to attempt this hike again, as well even though it is not the largest, nor the tallest, nor even the most powerful waterfall I have ever seen. it is certainly very impressive and unique. There is something magical about it.

The overall hike is quite easy, however to actually get up to the falls, you do have to climb up large boulders and cross the river a few times. I was definitely sore the next day.

Overall I would give this trail 9 squirrels out of 10. I would give it a perfect 10, but it's a very popular trail and there were lots of humans about.

squirrels 9

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Yellowstone 2008 - Day 5

Jul 15, 2008
Current mood:fabulous

Day 5: After packing up all of our gear and saying farewell to the folks we decided to make a quick trip up to Norris Geyser Basin, as we skipped it last year so it was new to Landis, and a fun refresher to me. Norris geyser Basin: Named so because years ago Chuck Norris roundhouse kicked the earths crust repeatedly creating the worlds most dynamic, and violently unpredictable Geyser Basin.  Hehe. Anyway, I am hella stoked we went, it was perfect weather, I remember last time I went it was like 300 degrees, but it wasn't too hot today.


Also Steamboat geyser is currently active. As I didn't see an actual Major Eruption (at over 300 feet currently the worlds tallest geyser) the minor eruptions are quite spectacular at almost 80 feet as high or higher than old faithful!

Down the trail there are tons of little, and large, almost lake size hot springs, as well as a few geysers.


Here is equines

Green Dragon Spring


This is in front of Green Dragon Spring. The picture didn't quite capture what I had hoped but those two streams on either side are both flowing IN to that puddle… where it is draining apparently below ground, probably to be churned up again in that cave. I donno I thought it was cool.


Beautiful blue spring with red runoff, from below ground. This is actually Porkchop Geyser, which had a giant eruption that blew it open like it is now. No longer the shape of a pork chop.


Pearl Geyser – I like the piddy colors.


Some of the hot spring lakes from way above.


and from below.


Scientists doing.. scientific stuff. I believe they said they were from the University of San Antonio… I know it was a San something that wasn't Francisco…  Either way, extinct or not that is closer than I would get to the opening of a geyser. Wooo.


This giant steamy geyser has a name but I can't seem to remember it.


Piddy Colors, I guess one of those pools is Pinwheel Geyser


Yellowstone Hearts You.


Nupahr Lake – Obviously at flood stage, there's a trail running through the center of that.

This is Cistern Spring somehow the plumbing of this spring, even though it is hundreds of feet away, is connected to Steamboat Geyser. Apparently just before a Major Eruption this spring drains completely.



Steamboat again.

We then came back the way we came on our way out of the park, and we passed this random riverside spring.

On the way out we passed a pull out for Monument Basin. I had never even heard of this before and thought we should check it out. So we pull out check the sign and it's a mere mile with a slight incline up the mountain. Okay sounds reasonable…

After a short flat hike, the trail switched back, and UP. Almost completely vertically I swear.


This trail was in the heart of the 88 fire, and as you can see some of the original trees still stand, with the slowly recovering forest around it.


Pretty view, but look at what is in the foreground, yes that is fucking SNOW. This trail sent me deep into the snowy woods, the snow at times 3 feet deep.



The geysers up here were well, interesting but not very exciting. Just a lot of weird shaped cones and steam.

We finally make it back to the car safe and sound, cold, wet, tired and sore. I am glad I saw Monolith Basin, it was completely new to me, but wow that was a freaking hike. I probably wouldn't recommend this to anyone on their first or 2nd trip to Yellowstone, there are more exciting things to see that are easier to get to.

Driving back through Idaho I saw


A horizon. Okay, I know this is perfectly normal, but for someone who has lived in Utah forever it is quite unsettling. The earth is not round, it is mountainous and scraggly! I don't know how I feel about this… seeing until the earth curves back around… well, its just not natural. 

Anyway this was another great Yellowstone vacation. We explored a lot of backcountry areas I've never seen, even some my parents have never seen. Next time I go up I would like to try and make it down to see Lonestar Geyser.


  • Ashley OK you damn attention whore! I already read it and looked at the photo's and heard the actual stories in person! But I totally wanna steal your effing Nikon. Next year we should plan a group vacay or something... but somewhere there isn't bears... maybe just the baby ones. They're so cute!

    3 years ago


  • taliea beautiful!!!!!!!! the pics are amazing.......
    iam glad u had fun

    3 years ago

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Yellowstone 2008 – Day 4

Jul 9, 2008
Current mood:gallant

Of course, day 4, the first day I get to do some real exploring. I got up, got dressed, put on the back up cheap shoes to go smoke. Fully intending on changing to my hiking boots... Well that small important detail slipped my mind until we were like 40 miles into the park, when I suddenly realized the mistake. Too late now. We were almost to west thumb. West thumb is a very small section of hot springs, and what appear to be extinct geysers on the lake side. The geyser formations on the lake are really cool...




Fishing Cone – Way back when people would fish next to this, then when they caught one they would just swing their line into this geyser and cook it, without having to wade back to shore.


But other than that, I guess I see why this was always skipped on family vacations. Still neat, and it doesn't take much time to go down the trail, but yea, not too much exciting stuff to see.

So we head back towards The Lower Geyser Basin, and Old Faithful. We meet up with the family, and after a few shots of the…


Historic Old Faithful lodge, we go to see, well, good Old Faithful.


This is not the perspective you may be used to, its the far side. But I think with the wind conditions I chose a spot very well today. Odie wanted to see Morning Glory Pool, and we didn't make it that far last year so we went on down the trail towards that.


Here is Castle Geyser. I guess I see why it is called that now.


Grotto Geyser with better lighting, and from this angle it looks like a giant beast coming up from the ground. Really, really cool.


Riverside Geyser... as you can see we didn't have the same luck we did last year with the eruptions.


One of the unfortunate buffalo carcasses we found in the area. Which sparked a great debate. Odies thinks they drank the water and died, we even theorized they may have fallen in and stumbled out but still dies. Maybe a predator. My theory is, well the animals know this is a warmer area to be in, especially in winter, and these are just the ones that didn't make it.


Morning Glory Pool. At one time this pool was the bluest blue, and due to the interior shape was shaped and had the color of a Morning Glory. Still not sure why they named it this… hehe. Anyway, due to people treating it as their personal wishing well, it has cooled somewhat and changed colors, not quite so much resembling its namesake. Still pretty though.

This is the furthest down this trail I had normally been. But apparently, as you will read on we were feeling adventurous today so we continued down the STILL VERY CLEARLY MARKED but not board walked path. Trust me, you are allowed to go down this path, they have signs, and if you didn't park at Old faithful it takes you all the way to the Biscuit Basin.. so anyway, now that I have established I was not breaking the law, nor being terribly foolish, I will continue.




There were a lot of random little hot springs down this path you could walk right up to. The last one I put my hand above NOT IN the run off path to try and get a feel of the temp, and all the sudden 12 weird little insect jumped up onto my hand, it was the creepiest thing ever, or maybe I have seen too many sci fi movies. Either way it startled the hell out of me. The middle image above is a geyser that is named… can't think of it at the moment. I wish I could have gotten a better angle because it sits below a 12 foot cliff and it was cool. Anyway, we were parked by Old Faithful so we could not continue across the street to Biscuit Basin, and had to turn back.

Returning to Boardwalk and my sanity.(You have no idea how the sensation and utter fear of walking around active geyser trails and feeling yourself start to sink) anyway…


We passed Giant Geyser – Which was pretty active today. Wooo.


Sawmill Geyser (lower) and I can't verify right now, but I believe Truant Geyser (upper)

We finally got back to the car and took off towards the Black Sands Basin. But first, this.


Finally got that pic of the Buffalo in front of Geysers.


Life can and does flourish around hot springs.


Pretty colorful minerals running into a stream.


We were walking down the boardwalk when we heard bubbling beneath our feat. You can just make out a small geyser bubbling directly under the boardwalk. Think they might need to rebuild this soon.


Cliff Geyser


Normally life cannot survive…

Off to Biscuit Basin…


Pretty Spring

There were a lot of cool springs on this trail, but, they are better seen in person. I do have more coming soon, but, well we took a detour. At the back end of this loop trail there was an off short to go to Mystic Falls, merely 1.4 miles again on non board walked trails. SURE why not. Actually am very glad we went. We ran across this unidentified creature:


This small waterfall


and this large, I am guessing Mystic Falls. You can just make out the steam of a hot spring just above my head. This area well, lived up to its name for us. It was like our secret magical spot that no one else was anywhere near right now. It was definitely worth the adventure.




Mustard springs – beginning eruption, through end eruption. Note the fill up and drain process. Really cool.

Off to the Firehole Lake Drive loop again. Quick Breeze through:


Great Fountain Geyser


Landis above Hot Lake. A lot cooler this year than last, lotsa steam. This place is still magical to me.

On to Fountain Paint Pots


The Trails name sake (Fountain Paint Pots)- A lot soupier….


Red Spouter – Last year this was just a fumerole.


Clepsydra Geyser -  Interesting lighting on this one.
We ventured down the road a bit and decided to see what might be down Fountain Flat Drive.

Some cute scenery, and then we noticed just a 1/3rd mile trail to Oro Calliente. Which sounded neat.




Before all of the light was completely gone we decided to take the quick one way drive through Firehole Canyon Drive which is the area that has the old swimming hole we used to swim in. Looking at the river today, I can't believe I ever got in that thing! Granted it usually slows by summer, and that is a calm area.. but YIKES.


We finally make it home well after dark. My feet are KILLING me, I think I hiked a good 7 maybe 10 miles today, half board walked, half loose mountain terrain. I made a b-line for the hot tub while Landis cooked us some food. Hung out with my parents and Odie for a bit, then went to bed.