July 8, 2009

Fairyland Basin, Part 3

About a quarter inch of rain drummed on the tent during the night. By daylight, the rain had stopped and the sky was clear when the group started the day's hike about 8AM.
They stopped for photos at Coffeepot Springs, which bubbles at 212 degrees Fahrenheit or thereabouts. A clear creek in a meadow above the hot springs provided good water to refill the drinking bottles.
The approach to Fairyland involves a four hour hike followed by a steep 1000 foot descent from the surrounding 8000 foot terrain to the confluence of Broad and Shallow Creek. (The destination was a total of about 17 miles from the Artist Point trailhead.) Steve had marked a track on his GPS where he thought the descent would be easiest. They had no problem finding a break in the conglomerate cliffs. At the point they went down, the slope required careful foot placement but was walkable.
Can you see the castle-like structures?
The yellow carpet leading up to the geologic turrets is made of yellow monkeyflower.
Steve is giving a thumbs up to the camera as he stands beside one of the geyserite cones, formed by mineral deposits over eons of geyser activity. This part of the formation is inactive now. The soil around the tall cones is sandy white and smells sulfurous.
A robin found a lookout on a handy geyserite tower.
Warm water was actively flowing out of this 3 foot tall cone in the same vicinity The hole on top gives it the appearance of a mini-volcano. The green stuff is algae that grows on the wet sides. When the currently inactive Fairyland cones were forming their unique shapes, perhaps they looked like this.
The ranger had told our hikers they were the first ones to travel to the area this year. Our boys saw no trash , footprints, or other sign of human presence. Other than the robin, they saw no animals in the basin, either.
In all, there were about 20 geyserite cones, some up to 10 feet tall. There were also some near boiling springs on the edge of Broad Creek.
After they'd explored the area, our hikers had lunch and took their boots off for a siesta.
Their mission was accomplished. Now all they had to do was find their way back to civilization. And continue to avoid the bears.
To be continued...


  1. Such an interesting hike and the formations are amazing....I am looking forward to our hike out!

  2. It really does look like a fairyland with those gyserites. This is a fantastic hike. Look forward to more.

  3. Wow---what an interesting place. About how many miles had they traveled total to get to where they are (Fairyland Basin)?????

    What an amazing place. Were there waterfalls nearby???

    Thanks so much for sharing this.

  4. They are hiking through an area so few ever will. Thanks for taking us with you.

  5. What a great adventure hike. I do love Yellowstone. Now if I was 40 years younger I'd be heading off to Fairyland...

  6. I can see how this basin got its name -- the geyserite cones do have the appearance of fairy castles. I'm very impressed with all three hikers.

  7. What lovely pictures!!!! These guys know what they are doing, don't they???

  8. Thanks for a view of The Park that few will ever see. Yellowstone is a wonderful place. It is a great thing that Mr. Roosevelt and congress had the vision to save it as a National Park.

  9. Great trip. It would be great to see Yellowstone away from the hordes of people and herded by the Park Service.

  10. So the 'Y' is for Yellowstone?

    Hot springs and their rock formations are fascinating, aren't they? Love the robin - and the hat, too! LOL!

  11. I can totally see how this place got its name - I can imagine an unwary traveller having a 'fairyland' experience here - then coming back and wondering why their early 21st century gps doesn't work anymore. This rambling probably means I've had too much coffee this morning!

  12. This is so cool. I can't explain but I'm reliving my experiences in Yellowstone through these photos - I can feel and smell the air, hear the silence. And I want to go back so bad.

    My experience was that as long as you stayed from the famous and popular features, you were away from the maddening crowds. It was always amazing to me that not 2 minutes away from Old Faithful, and you could feel like you were the only one in the park!



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