It was a long, cold drive back to Artists point. I do not know the exact temperature, but last night felt like the coldest night that I have experienced this entire trip (my feet were frozen in my 15 degree sleeping bag). I arrived at the point at 7:30, tightly bundled up in a fleece jacket, down vest, flannel lined pants, and wool hat. There were a handful of photographers already on location with everything from point and shoot cameras to the Nikon D3 (retail value = a used car).
As I made me way from my truck to the point, I was struck with a brilliant idea!
Instant Coffee! I had purchased a box with several small packets of instant coffee in Missoula, so I gathered my camp stove, along with the coffee and mug and made my way to the point.
For the next half hour, I was the envy of every photographer at the point. Some people made friendly comments while others gave me jealous sideways glances as I stood happily watching the sun pour over the ridge and down into the valley to illuminate Lower Falls.
There are few ideas that I find more romantic than sipping coffee in the cool of the morning in a beautiful wilderness. This little pick me up, helped make my entire day more positive. I spent the next several hours stopping at every thermal feature I could find to catch the morning light illuminating the steam that poured from the ground. Because Yellowstone is basically the caldera of a giant super volcano, it is known for having the majority of all the thermal features in the entire world. By noon, I had made my way to Old Faithful, possibly the most famous thermal feature in the entire park.
The eruption of Old Faithful is quite a sight. Imagine a giant ant hill, with steam pouring from the opening. Next imagine that steam building in pressure underground until finally it erupts 60 feet into the air, like a volcano of water, spewing its stinky steam across an area half the size of a football field.
From Old Faithful, I made my way back south to Grand Teton national park where I had some beautiful encounters with moose before finally ending the night in the town of Jacksons Hole, Montana.