Grand Prismatic Spring or The Hill You Rode In On

The other day I wrote about Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Prismatic Spring. I’m going to write more about my visit to the Grand Prismatic Spring today. If you have been following my blog you know the hardest thing I’ve ever done was the Virgin River Narrows hike in Zion National Park. Before that hike the hardest thing I had ever done was climbing the hill behind the Grand Prismatic Spring off the Fairy Falls Trail. First off I will show the picture I captured from the top of the hill…

The Grand Prismatic Spring from above
Grand Prismatic Pano

All the dirt around Yellowstone is not your typical east coast dirt. The dirt is this very fine tan dust. It gets everywhere, inside your shoes, in your camera bag, and worst of all in your lenses and camera if you aren’t careful! It is also very slippery if you were to, say, try and climb a big hill like the one behind the Grand Prismatic Spring. The other factor is the altitude. I live approximately 355 feet above sea level at my home in Maryland. Yellowstone National Park sits at 8,000 feet above sea level. I could not breath just walking on a flat path. So when I climbed the “hill” my lungs were aching. In the following picture you can see the path I walked up in the left side of the background…

The hill behind the Grand Prismatic Spring
Orange Bacterial Thermophiles

The first picture in today’s blog post was taken just to the left of the high point in the background of the second picture. I love telling that story while at art shows, people seem to love that both pictures include where the other was taken. Anyway, I struggled to the top of the hill and took my panorama. My lungs burned, my calves burned, and my will was tested. But I wanted that panorama and the thought drove me on.

On the way down I was graceful like an elk. Until I slipped and tumbled down the hill a good 20 to 30 feet. I was covered in dust. And I was fortunate to have packed away my camera gear so nothing got broken though my phone exited my pocket and went an additional 10 feet down the hill. I was blowing dust out of the crevices of the phone for months. But in the end I made it back down the hill unhurt. Except for my lungs, it hurt to breathe for the rest of my week in Yellowstone. But it was worth it to get that panorama of my dreams. I had seen photos from that vantage point and was determined to get my own and I succeeded!

And between you and me, the Grand Prismatic Pano has been my best selling piece of artwork ever. The people are always struck by the colors and otherworldly nature of the image when viewing the large canvas print. I of course cannot take credit for that, I simply captured what was there. Though I suppose that is true of most pictures people take. So all in all it was a success!

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