Montana · National Park · Trek · USA

Welcome to another world: Norris Geyser Basin

Norris Geyser Basin is the oldest, hottest, and most active of Yellowstone’s thermal areas. The thermal features have been here for at least 115,000 years. The highest temperature yet recorded in any geothermal area in Yellowstone was measured in a scientific drill hole at Norris: 459°F (237°C) just 1,087 feet (326 meters) below the surface! There are very few thermal features at Norris under the boiling point (199°F at this elevation).

Norris Geyser basin has 2 parts Porcelain Basin, a 0.5-mile boardwalk trail through geysers, fumaroles (steam vents), and hot springs. Back Basin, a 1.5-mile trail through a wooded area, with similar sites to Porcelain Basin but spread further apart. The trails through the geyser basin are a combination of boardwalks, paved paths, and unpaved paths.

Wooden Boardwalk

Though both the basins are not to be missed, my personal favourite is Porcelain Basin. It’s barren of trees; sounds, colors and smells are very vivid. Colors are simply unimaginable, continuous hissing sound of geysers and smell that you cannot neglect. Because of the smell, I felt walking through a chemistry lab. Look up and there is smog all around, look down and you can’t ignore the vivid colors forming because of thermophiles. When you walk around Porcelain Basin it feels as if you are on a different planet, everything is just engaging and elegant.

Porcelain Basin boardwalk is sun-exposed but Back Basin passes through a pine forest that can offer refreshing summer shade, while still exploring some amazing hydrothermal features. There are so many geysers in the area that after a point I couldn’t remember the name and focused on taking photos and admiring the beauty. There is also a geyser (I forgot the name which one :P) which erupts every half an hour so which we got a chance to see.

At places like this, I could not restrain but think that we as humans have a very small part in this whole world and still we treat as if this world was created for us. Places like Yellowstone inspire me to travel the world, get surprised and see what the world have to offer. While exploring Norris Geyser Basin, I completely overlooked the fact that these unearthly raters, geysers, and steam plumes are on top of a super-volcano. The artistic blue pools and multicolored springs give the place a mysterious feel.

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