Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel — Livingston, 27 September 1893

As the mail still had not arrived on the morning train, I used the time up to the departure to Cinnabar to pay a visit to Captain Anderson, commander of the cavalry detachment stationed here in order to have a look at the menagerie he had assembled which was to be sent to Washington. Captain Anderson had sent me into a fit of despair the evening before when he assured me that he could have arranged for a permission to hunt some predators in the park if we had announced our wishes a few days earlier. How easy it would have been to kill one of those tin-loving bears!

The captain was living in a nicely equipped log house and knew many interesting details about the affairs in the park. His squadron has a very demanding job as it requires many guards and patrols that mainly have to look out for poachers and who have to overcome many dangers given the audacity of the poachers. A poacher was just recently relieved of a nice pony that was standing near the log house.

The menagerie was small but counted among it many remarkable pieces, thus a porcupine, a young buzzard, a badger-like animal unknown to me, three rather tame beavers that could be taken out of the cage and wandered around freely. In an iron cage sat a black bear that had been caught only a few days before and was to undertake a journey to Washington. Four delightful wapiti calves were totally tame, and came running on call, sniffing us curiously, while a fox fled into its artificial cave only to peek out of a tube with a cunning glance from time to time but immediately retiring at every approach.

During the morning some caravans of „sour dough tourists“ arrived which refers to the families that move through and now out of the park with a fully packed wagon, with their children and their stuff. We had encountered several of them already on the first day of our tour. The vehicle, their baggage and the passengers showed clearly visible marks of their gypsy-like roaming. The way these nature lovers visit the park is without doubt a very strange one and a hardly comprehensible way for us to enjoy the summer time. Any demands for comfort these travelers may have to forsake, and whether they find compensation for their many deprivations of their exhausting journey in their boundless existence is dependent on the favor of hazard and the weather’s caprices and thus can not be predicted but seems to be the case.

On the small square I then inspected a cavalry detachment, about half a squadron that performed exercises to an officer’s command. The troop exercised developments and movements that were a bit more complicated than those used at home. The development of a skirmish line where the carbine is grabbed while mounted seems to be one of the most important evolutions. The horses were noticeably tall, strong and also good, mostly white horses. The riding of the soldiers and the rough treatment of the horses I found less sympathetic. The riders wore standard dark-blue uniforms with yellow lacing on the pants and gray slouch hats and tall heavy boots. The armament consisted of saber, revolver and carbine. The latter and the saber were attached on the saddle.

To Cinnabar we came faster this time than the outward journey as the route was in a better condition and was mostly downhill. In this place we had to wait for a long time for the departure of the train of the Northern Pacific Railroad which would take us to Butte City by the way of Livingston. We then intend to travel on to the center of Mormonism, Salt Lake City, our next destination.

During the waiting time in Cinnabar we spoke with an old Saxon who had run away from his homeland to lead a free life in America as a hunter and trapper that apparently pleased him very much. Currently the man engages in a very brisk trade in bear furs and fossilized wood. With special enthusiasm he told us from his hunting expeditions on which he shoots the game emerging from the park but became very agitated when I asked him whether he was married and professed himself as a confirmed bachelor (Hagestolz).

Due to a happy coincidence, I was able to see the most audacious female rider of the area who is able to tame even the most intractable and wild horse, but has been quite neglected by nature as far as beauty and female grace are concerned.

In Livingston we had to use our Pullmann Car also as our night’s lodging as the train to Butte City was only to arrive towards 4 o’clock in the morning. The former city is a known trading place for furs and hides. In the shops one may buy the following: puma, bear, wolf, fox, cat and marten furs, buffalo hides, numerous antlers among them capital ones from wapiti and black-tail deer as well as from mountain sheep. Furthermore a lot of Indian curiosities such as weapons, jewellery and various products of the local industry.

The prices demanded by the merchants were completely outrageous. Furthermore we had to accept it as a kind of grace that they sold us the desired piece for our good money or even receive some sort of packaging. A simple Indian shawl cost 10 dollars, a badly stuffed buffalo head 600 dollars and a pair of wapiti antlers up to 200 dollars. Still our shopping craze was great as we had found many beautiful objects.

When I sent two of my gentlemen with all the necessary attestations and certifications to the post master in the evening and asked him to hand out my mail here in Livingston that had arrived at almost the same time as we and was addressed to Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, I had to experience another proof of American unfriendliness that was very detrimental for our mood. Even though the gentlemen also presented a letter from the post master at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel in which he asked his colleague to hand us out the late-arriving mail which was just then laying on the counter so that individual addresses could be read and one could note that among the letters there were also some whose quick reception was important for me, the impolite post master did not want to give us our mail at any price and insisted to send it on to the place of address despite all our means used to change his opinion.Finally he put on his hat and left his office without a word.

Links

  • Location: Livingston, Montana, USA
  • ANNO – on 27.09.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the drama „Der Meister von Palmyra“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Romeo und Julie“.

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, 26. Sept. 1893

Da ich die Wunder des Great Canons noch einmal schauen wollte, eilte ich bei Sonnenaufgang zu einem anderen Aussichtspunkt, dem Look-out Point. Die Sonne leuchtete grell in das Farbenlabyrinth und ließ besonders die gelben Töne intensiv hervortreten; in der Schlucht strich ein Fischadler auf und nieder, und über uns auf steiler Spitze war abermals ein Adlerhorst zu sehen. Vom Look-out Point stieg ich einen sehr steilen und für unsere städtischen Stiefletten ziemlich wenig geeigneten Weg gegen den Großen Wasserfall bis zu einer Klippe hinab, welche über demselben liegt und einen guten Überblick über die Stromschnellen und den Kessel des Falles ermöglicht, in dem starke Baumstämme umherwirbelten.

Da die Coach noch nicht zur Stelle war, beschlossen wir, eine kleine Jagd auf die allerliebsten, gestreiften Eichhörnchen, welche auf den Bäumen und dem Boden umherhuschten, zu veranstalten; es gab deren sehr viele, doch konnten wir, da Stöcke und Steine unsere einzigen Waffen bildeten, nur ein Exemplar erbeuten.

Die bald nach diesem verpönten Vergnügen angetretene Fahrt gieng in westlicher Richtung durch waldiges Hügelland und bot wenig Abwechslung; unmittelbar bevor wir das Norris-Hotel erreichten und wieder auf die uns schon bekannte Route kamen, ersahen wir in einer Schlucht Basaltfelsen von abenteuerlicher Gestaltung, darunter als hervorragendsten einen großen Block, „des Teufels Ellbogen“.

Bei dem drolligen Irländer frühstückten wir wieder in dem fliegenreichen Zelt und unternahmen, da die Kutscher erklärten, sie müssten die Pferde hier wenigstens anderthalb Stunden rasten lassen, in der Umgebung, möglichst gedeckt vor den aufmerksamen Augen der Soldaten, eine Fortsetzung der vormittagigen Jagd auf Eichhörnchen.

Eine Unzahl gestürzter Bäume und Holzstücke, unter welche sich die überaus flinken Tierchen blitzschnell verkrochen, und Erdbau mit weitverzweigten Gängen, die gleichfalls als Schlupfwinkel dienten, erschwerten unser Beginnen. Nachdem wir jedoch einige Zeit tüchtig umhergelaufen waren, hatten wir endlich fünf Stück auf der Strecke, darunter eines in lebendem Zustande, das, arg bedrängt, in eine leere Konservenbüchse geflüchtet war.

Während wir bei der Hinfahrt die Strecke zwischen Morris Geyser Bassin und Mammoth Hot Springs im Winterkleid und bei bedeutender Kälte gesehen hatten, bot jetzt die Landschaft ein ganz anderes Bild; der Schnee war vor den wärmenden Sonnenstrahlen gewichen, so dass die bunte Färbung der Laubbäume, welche zwischen rot, gelb und grün wechselte, zur vollen Wirkung kam, insbesondere auf dem prairieartigen Hochplateau und den Lehnen um den Swan Lake. Beim Beaver Lake zeigte sich leider keiner seiner Bewohner, der emsigen Biber, wogegen wir knapp vor dem Golden Gate einen anderen seltenen Repräsentanten der amerikanischen Tierwelt, nämlich eine Gabel-Antilope, einen auffallend starken Bock, erblickten, der auf Schussdistanz vom Wagen über die freie Fläche wechselte und wiederholt ohne jedes Zeichen von Scheu stehen blieb. Diese Antilope — Amerika besitzt nur diese eine Art — erinnerte mich in Gang und Gebaren sowohl an unser Reh, wie an die Gemse; sehr originell ist das hakenartig gebogene, starke Gehörne.

Kurz darauf sah ich auf ungefähr 200 Schritte wieder ein merkwürdiges Tier durch die niederen Büsche der Prairie wechseln, das ich zuerst nach Farbe und Gang für einen Biber hielt; doch bald erkannte ich, dass es ein Stachelschwein war, welches unsere Anwesenheit bemerkt und sich bereits zur Flucht gewendet hatte. Rasch sprangen wir vom Wagen, stürmten bei möglichster Ausnützung unserer Lungen und Beine dem Tiere nach und parforcierten es nach ausgiebigem Dauerlauf; als die Distanz zwischen uns und dem Stachelschwein immer geringer wurde, warf es sich in eine Grube, in der es mit einem Jagdmesser den Fang erhielt. Das amerikanische Stachelschwein unterscheidet sich nicht unwesentlich von dem indischen; die Stacheln sind bedeutend kürzer, am vorderen Teil des Körpers hat es lange borstige Haare und ist dunkler gefärbt.

So hatten wir denn, ohne das „No Shooting“ im Yellowstone-Park übertreten zu haben, doch ein Stinktier, ein Stachelschwein und sechs Eichhörnchen, nebst einem unschuldigen Finken, welcher bei der Eichhörnchenjagd durch ein Wurfgeschoss getroffen worden war, auf der Strecke und hoben, obgleich die Jagd keine sehr edle in Sanct Huberto genannt werden konnte, unsere letzte und interessanteste Beute gleichwohl freudig auf den Wagen.

Gegen Abend langten wir im Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel ein, wo unser eine arge Enttäuschung harrte; denn die lange erwartete und mit Bestimmtheit zugesagte Post war noch immer nicht eingetroffen.

Links

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, 26 September 1893

As I wanted to see the wonders of the Great Canyons again, I rushed at sunrise to another viewing point called Look-out Point. The sun was shining brightly into the color labyrinth and made the yellow tones stand out especially intensely. In the gorge an osprey was flying up and down and above us on a steep peak one could once again see an aerie. From Look-out Point I went up the very steep path with my quite unsuitable urban half-boots  to the great waterfall to the cliff that lay above it and offers a good overview of the rapids and the fall’s cauldron in which tree trunks were swirling.

As the coach was not yet there in place, we decided to undertake a small hunt for the most lovely striped squirrels that were scurrying around on the trees and the ground. There were many of them but we managed to bag but one as sticks and stones were our only weapons.

The drive soon after this frowned upon entertainment went in a Western direction through wooded undulating land and offered little variety. Just when we reached the Norris Hotel and returned to the already familiar road, we saw basalt rocks of adventurous forms in a gorge, among them an eminent big block called the „devil’s elbow“.

At the funny Irishman’s we ate breakfast again in the tent with numerous flies and continued the morning’s hunt for squirrels, with as much cover as possible from the watchful eyes of the soldiers, as the coachmen declared that they had to rest their horses here for at least one and a half hours.

An immense number of fallen trees and wood pieces under which the very fast animals disappeared lightning-fast and into their burrows with wide-ranging passages that served also as hiding places made our start more difficult. After we had bravely run around for some time, we had finally bagged five pieces one among them still alive as it had fled into an empty tin box when it was pursued hard.

While we had seen the road between Morris Geyser Basin and Mammoth Hot Springs in winter dress and in considerable cold weather, the landscape now offered a very different picture: The snow had given way to the warming rays of the sun, so that the colors of the broadleaf trees that were changing between red, yellow and green were put on display to the fullest, especially the prairie-like high plateau and the ledges around Swan Lake. At Beaver Lake, none of its inhabitants. the industrious beavers, showed up while just before the Golden Gate another rare representative of the American animal world, namely the pronghorn, an especially notable strong male, became visible at shooting distance from the wagon and ran across the open area and repeatedly stood still without any sign of timidity. This antelope — America possesses but this one species — reminded me in gait and behavior of both our deer and the chamois. Very original are the hook-like crooked strong antlers.

Shortly afterwards I saw another strange animal move through the low bushes to the prairie at about 200 paces. At first I considered it to be a beaver due to its color and gait, but I soon recognized that it was a porcupine that had noticed our presence and had already turned around to flee. Quickly we jumped from the wagon and stormed after the animals using our lungs and legs to their fullest capacity and cornered it after an extended run. When the distance between us and the porcupine became to small, it jumped into a ditch where it was killed with a hunting knife. The American porcupine is quite different from the Indian one: The pines are considerably shorter, the front part of the body has long bristly hairs and it is of a darker color.

So we nevertheless bagged, without breaching the „No Shooting“ in the Yellowstone Park, a skunk, a porcupine and six squirrels as well as an innocent finch that had been hit by a projectile during the squirrel hunt. We still lifted, even though the hunt could not be called a noble one in honor of St. Hubert, our last and most interesting catch into the wagon with joy.

Towards the evening we arrived at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel where a major disappointment awaited us as the long expected mail had not yet arrived despite it being firmly promised.

Links

Grand Canyon Hotel, 25 September 1893

Chattering from the cold we left the camp early in the morning to do once more some fishing under the cloudless sky. The owner of the steamboat who is living next to the hotel and who was one of the few polite Americans whom I’ve met loaned us the necessary fishing equipment. With it we made a short crossing of the lake and soon were again in the river. This time everybody fished alone in a boat and I had myself rowed further downriver as I expected it to be a more promising location.

During the crossing I could observe numerous species of the bird world present at the Yellowstone River. Flocks of ducks were flying up and down, geese were flapping with loud cries, seagulls flew around in elegant flight and swift as an arrow. Buzzards, harriers and ospreys were circling above the boat whose movements had caused jays at the shore to take to the air accompanied by hoarse sounds.

In a small bay that looked well suited for a catch I anchored the boat and started my task with great patience. To my joy the first trout bit after about an hour, to be followed by four more in longer intervals. Each fish weighed about a kilogram. Some other trouts that I had already believed to have caught I lost again as it was at times not possible to take in the lightning-fast moving fish hanging on the rod on board.  One could clearly see that the fish were only taking the lures with reluctance due to the cold as they often played with it without biting. In the right season, fishing here must be a very entertaining sport as during that time one could catch a hundred pieces in a very short time.

After no trout wanted to bite any more and my efforts in another place proved futile too, I reunited with my gentlemen who had also made some catches and returned to the hotel where seven skunks captured and killed during the night were on display. They have a badger-like body and soft black and white speckled fur. As they befoul the whole area where they are living with their penetrating odor, they are keenly hunted.

In the afternoon we took the route to the Yellowstone Canyon in our coach, first alongside the lake shore, then alongside the Yellowstone river. Soon the closed forest stopped and changed to an open area with Artemisia plants that were surrounded by trees and presented an excellent terrain for feeding game. Probably many a buffalo herd must once have visited these places.

At the halfway mark of the journey next to the road was one of the strangest formations in the park called Mud Cauldron , a deep mud funnel geyser out whose side opening emerged a constant blue-greyish boiling foam with an accompanying strong steam and dull humming, which looks quite  uncanny. Every object that is thrown into the funnel disappears in the horrible opening forever, only wood pieces reappear from time to time on the surface but already quite decomposed.

Hayden Valley in the North is a completely treeless waste valley with undulating ridges with a small stream winding its way through it. A still visible beaten path shows the trail where a complete Indian tribe with wives and children had used to retreat from the Southern regions to the North after they had incurred considerable losses in the fights against other tribes. Nowadays, Indians are prohibited to enter the territory of the Yellowstone Park.

Just after we had driven over a bridge I saw a skunk run past. Shouting „Stop“ to the coachman, we grabbed sticks and jumped out of the wagon and now began a happy hunt in which we also threw stones. The skunk did not want to go into the water even if it was cornered but kept running up and down the shore until it finally faced us and made lavish use of its last means of salvation, its horrible perfume. This, however, did not inhibit us to slay it. Thus we had achieved a hunting trophy in the park even without using the rifles. I gave the order to store it in the second wagon and then we drove on, talking about the happy skunk hunt.

As soon as we had arrived at the Grand Canyon Hotel where we would spend the night, Hodek brought a message that the coachman of the second wagon had refused to bring along the skunk. Hodek had tried to tie it to the axle but the coachman jumped down from his seat and threw the skunk far away which led to a big commotion between the two. The skunk had been left behind. I, however, did not want to let go of this catch made with great effort and we held a war council to decide what we could do, taking into consideration that we would not be allowed to take the animal with us into the hotel. Finally a considerable amount of dollars won over the missgivings of the coachman who rode back with Hodek and soon the hide of the skunk lay well packaged in an iron tin between the other baggage pieces.

The greatest landmark of the park is without doubt the great canyon of the Yellowstone river that alone would warrant a visit to the park. Armed with experience I had very much kept my reserve during the praising of this natural beauty, but must gladly admit that my expectations have been surpassed by far.

We arrived just at the right moment as the evening shortly before sunset is the best moment for visiting the canyon. We drove in a small wagon from the hotel. Due to the bad condition of the wood path this trip imprinted itself unsparingly into our memory. Passing by multiple viewing points that let us already guess about the splendor of the valley, we finally arrived at the foot of the Inspiration Points rising 460 m above the Yellowstone river. There the gorge lay in front of us falling more than 300 m down with steep almost vertical walls that had fantastically formed protrusions with wildly jagged peaks and rock needles, while the river was meandering in a blue band through the valley bottom. The rocky peaks that rose next to each other like a backdrop showed the most audacious forms too and enclose small gorges as well as scree slopes filled with dropped off stones. Rhyolith out of which the rocks are made up is also very much exposed to weathering and decomposition so that without interruption individual pieces separate themselves and the jaggedness is continuously increasing.

The most beautiful and strange of the canyon by far are the various colorings in which the rocky stones and especially the scree are gleaming. All the colors one might think about are represented here in various shades but yellow, red, pink and white are predominant. Especially red is present in all nuances from the darkest blood red to the most delicate pink in a range hardly any well equipped paint-box will match. The few dark spots are formed by the not very numerous crippled pine trees that are enduring in the rock clefts.

Even if a painter’s brush managed to create an exact and realistic rendering of all the colors we were seeing here in all their shades and in their glazes and bizarre forms of the rocks, everyone would still believe that the image was unnatural and something close to it could not exist in nature. Even the most detailed description by a master would be insufficient to give a good representation of the surprising variety of the pomp and splendor developed here. Who wants to see it in all its great majesty needs to have stayed here at a beautiful fall evening to have a dream of the most audacious imagination turned into reality.

At the entrance to the gorge one the Great or Lower Waterfall of the Yellowstone becomes visible and falls at this spot foaming and thunderous  over a vertical rocky wall of nearly 100 m, while the Upper Waterfall lies in the far distance and appears only as a silver-white point. To the other side, the gorge loses itself into the wooded mountains that take on a dark purple coloring in the evening, while behind them a snow-covered mountain giant concludes the composition in an effective manner. This gorgeous view can only be placed on the same worthy level as the few moments when the fog parted in Darjeeling and revealed the Himalaya’s peaks in their virgin majesty.

Inspiration Point,  a rocky peak in the middle of the canyon and not very difficult to reach for those not suffering from vertigo, is the most favorable panoramic spot. All the more I was wondering why there were no safety measures installed for the visitors and there were neither railings nor steps to make the ascent easier on the quite dangerous path of whose outermost point I would like to warn everyone who is not a mountain climber.

The deeper the sun sank below the mountains the more diverse became the game of colors so that we, lost in admiration, could not separate ourselves from the spectacle for a long time, until the repeated warning of the coachman who feared to make the return trip in darkness forced us to leave Inspiration Point. Some large stones that we pushed down, jumped from ledge to ledge and fell down from the enormous height in a few seconds and disappeared with a thud in the river.  On one of the rocky needles, glued to its highest peak, we discovered a large aerie whose builder selected a probably inaccessible spot.

In the evening three bears, apparently an old female with two young ones, were rummaging through the heap of tins barely 200 paces distant from the hotel. They were discovered by gentleman who had hidden himself nearby. When the whole swarm of visitors, among them we too, however descended there from the hotel, the bears unfortunately disappeared never to be seen again as the hotel guests, especially the ladies, were very noisy, chatting and giggling, which would have driven away even a tame bear.

Without the implacable „No Shooting“ I certainly would have taken up position in this not very poetic place, convinced that I would have had an opportunity for a shot during the night.

Links

Grand Canon Hotel, 25. Sept. 1893

Vor Kälte klappernd verließen wir am frühen Morgen unser Lager, um unter wolkenlosem Himmel nochmals dem Fischfang zu obliegen; der Dampfschiffbesitzer, welcher neben dem Hotel wohnt und einer der wenigen zuvorkommenden Amerikaner war, die ich kennen lernte, lieh uns das nötige Angelgerät, mit welchem ausgerüstet wir nach einer kleinen Traversade über den See bald wieder am Fluss waren. Diesmal fischte jeder von uns allein in einem Boot, und ich ließ mich weiter flussabwärts rudern, weil ich dort eine günstigere Stelle vermutete.

Während der Überfahrt konnte ich die zahlreiche Arten aufweisende Vogelwelt des Yellowstone Rivers beobachten; Entenflüge zogen unausgesetzt auf und nieder, Gänse flatterten mit lautem Geschrei auf, Möven strichen eleganten Fluges pfeilschnell einher und Bussarde, Weihen und Fischadler zogen ihre Kreise über dem Kahn, dessen Bewegungen von den Hehern, die auf dem Ufer aufgebäumt hatten, mit heiseren Lauten begleitet wurden.

In einer kleinen Bucht, die mir für den Fang günstig schien, legte ich das Boot vor Anker und ging mit großer Geduld an mein Werk: zu meiner Freude biss nach etwa einer Stunde die erste Forelle an, welcher nach längeren Zwischenräumen weitere vier Stücke folgten, deren jedes ungefähr ein Kilogramm wog; einige andere Forellen, die ich schon erbeutet glaubte, gingen mir wieder verloren, da es mitunter nicht möglich war, die an der Angel hängenden, blitzschnell umherschießenden Fische sofort ins Boot zu bringen. Man konnte deutlich erkennen, wie die Fische infolge der Kälte nur widerstrebend die lockende Fliege annahmen, die sie oftmals umspielten, ohne darnach zu schnappen. In der guten Saison muss der Fischfang hier einen sehr unterhaltenden Sport bilden, da man zu jener Zeit, wie ich hörte, binnen kürzester Frist an hundert Stücke fangen kann.

Als in der Folge keine Forelle mehr anbeißen wollte und mein Bemühen auch an einer anderen Stelle fruchtlos blieb, vereinigte ich mich mit den anderen Herren, die ebenfalls einige Beute hatten, und kehrte zum Hotel zurück, wo sieben in der Nacht gefangene und getötete Stinktiere zu sehen waren. Diese besitzen einen dachsartigen Körper und weiches, schwarz und weiß geflecktes Fell; da sie die ganze Umgebung, in der sie sich befinden, durch ihren penetranten Geruch verpesten, werden sie eifrig verfolgt.

Nachmittags machten wir uns in unserer Coach auf den Weg zum Yellowstone Canon, zuerst dem Ufer des Sees, dann jenem des Yellowstone-Flusses folgend. Bald hörte der geschlossene Wald auf und machte freien, mit Artemisia-Pflanzen bedeckten Stellen Platz, die, von Bäumen umgeben, dem Wild ein treffliches Äsungsterrain bieten; wohl manche Büffelherde dürfte einstmals diese Plätze aufgesucht haben.

Auf halbem Wege, nächst der Straße, zeigt sich eine der seltsamsten Erscheinungen des Parkes, der Mud Cauldron oder Schlammgeyser, ein tiefer Trichter, aus dessen seitlicher Öffnung unausgesetzt unter starker Dampfentwickelung und dumpfem Dröhnen blaugrauer, kochender Schaum ausgeworfen wird, was sich recht unheimlich ausnimmt. Jeder Gegenstand, der hineingeworfen wird, verschwindet in der schauerlichen Öffnung für immer, nur Holzstücke kommen manchmal für kurze Zeit, doch bereits ganz zersetzt wieder an die Oberfläche.

Das nördlicher gelegene Hayden Valley, ein völlig baumloses, ödes Tal mit wellenförmigen Hügelketten, wird von einem Bächlein in Schlangenwindungen durchflossen; ein noch sichtbarer, ausgetretener Pfad zeigt den Weg an, den einst ein ganzer Indianerstamm, nach bedeutenden Verlusten im Kampf gegen andere Stämme mit Weib und Kind aus den südlichen Gebieten in den Norden auswandernd, benützt hatte. Heutzutage ist es den Indianern untersagt, das Territorium des Yellowstone-Parkes zu betreten.

Als wir eben über eine Brücke gefahren waren, erblickte ich ein Stinktier vorbeiwechseln; dem Kutscher „Stop“ zurufen, die Stöcke ergreifen und aus dem Wagen springen, war Eins, und nun begann eine sehr heitere Jagd, bei der wir Steine als Wurfgeschosse verwendeten. Das Stinktier wollte, obwohl in die Enge getrieben, durchaus nicht das Wasser annehmen, sondern lief am Ufer auf und ab, bis es sich endlich stellte und von seinem letzten Rettungsmittel, einem abscheulichen Parfüm, den ausgiebigsten Gebrauch machte, was uns aber nicht abhielt, es gleichwohl zu erbeuten. So hatten wir im Gefilde des Parkes, wenn auch ohne die Gewehre benützt zu haben, doch eine Strecke zu verzeichnen; ich gab Auftrag, diese auf dem zweiten Wagen unterzubringen, und dann fuhren wir, die lustige Stinktierjagd besprechend, fröhlich weiter.

Kaum waren wir im Grand Canon Hotel, unserer Nachtstation, angelangt, als Hodek auch schon mit der Meldung eintraf, dass der Kutscher des zweiten Wagens die Mitnahme des Stinktieres nicht zugelassen habe; er — Hodek — habe eben versucht, dasselbe an die Achse zu binden, doch sei der Kutscher vom Bock gesprungen und habe es weit weg geschleudert, was zu einem heftigen Auftritte zwischen beiden geführt habe. Das Stinktier war daher liegen geblieben; ich wollte aber die schwer errungene Beute nicht fahren lassen, und so wurde nun Kriegsrat gehalten, was zu tun sei, umsomehr als das Tier auch nicht ins Hotel gebracht werden durfte. Endlich siegte eine bedeutendere Anzahl von Dollars über die Bedenken des Kutschers, der mit Hodek zurückritt, und bald lag der Balg unseres Stinktieres in einer Blechbüchse wohl verpackt bei den Gepäcksstücken.

Die größte Sehenswürdigkeit des Parkes ist unstreitig der große Canon des Yellowstone-Flusses, welcher allein schon eine Reise nach dem Nationalpark verlohnen würde. Durch Erfahrungen gewitzigt, hatte ich mich auch der Anpreisung dieser Naturschönheit gegenüber sehr reserviert verhalten, gestehe jedoch gerne, dass hier meine Erwartungen weitaus übertroffen worden sind.

Wir kamen gerade zu rechter Zeit an, weil der Abend kurz vor Sonnenuntergang der günstigste Moment für die Besichtigung des Canons ist, und fuhren in einem kleinen Wagen, welcher den mangelhaften Zustand des Waldweges unserer Erinnerung schonungslos einprägte, vom Hotel ab. An mehreren niedrigen Aussichtspunkten vorbeikommend, welche uns die Pracht des Tales bereits ahnen ließen, sehen wir uns endlich am Fuß des 460 m über den Yellowstone aufragenden Inspiration Points. Da liegt sie nun vor uns, die mehr als 300 m tief abstürzende Schlucht, mit steilen, fast senkrechten Wänden, welche phantastisch geformte Vorsprünge mit wild zerrissenen Spitzen und Felsennadeln aussenden, während sich der Fluss in der Talsohle einem blauen Bande gleich dahinschlängelt. Die kulissenartig nebeneinander aufstrebenden Felszacken zeigen selbst ebenfalls die kühnsten Gestaltungen und schließen kleine Schluchten sowie Schutthalden, mit abgebröckeltem Gestein erfüllt, ein; der Rhyolith, aus welchem die Felsen bestehen, unterliegt eben sehr der Verwitterung und Zersetzung, so dass sich unausgesetzt einzelne Stücke ablösen und die Zerklüftung immer weiterschreitet.

Bei weitem das Schönste und Eigenartigste des Canons sind die mannigfaltigen Färbungen, in welchen das felsige Gestein und vor allem die Schütten erglänzen; alle nur erdenklichen Farben in den verschiedensten Schattierungen sind hier vertreten, doch herrschen gelb, rot, rosa und weiß vor. Besonders in Rot finden sich alle Nuancen vom dunkelsten Blutrot bis zum zartesten Rosa, wie solche kaum ein wohlausgestatteter Farbenkasten aufzuweisen vermag; die einzigen dunklen Stellen werden von wenigen, verkrüppelten Kiefern gebildet, die sich in Felsspalten fortfristen. Vermöchte selbst der Pinsel eines Malers alle die Farben, die wir hier erschauen, in ihren Abtönungen und in ihrem Schmelz sowie die bizarren Formen des Gesteines getreu wiederzugeben, so würde doch jedermann behaupten, dass das Bild unnatürlich sei und ein ähnliches in der Natur nicht existieren könne. Selbst die detaillierteste Beschreibung von Meisterhand wäre durchaus ungenügend, um eine zutreffende Vorstellung von der hier in so überraschender Fülle entwickelten seltsamen Pracht und Herrlichkeit zu vermitteln. Wer diese in ihrer ganzen Größe erfassen will, muss hier an einem schönen Herbstabende geweilt haben, um einen Traum der kühnsten Einbildungskraft verwirklicht zu sehen.

Im Beginn der Schlucht zeigt sich der Große oder Untere Wasserfall des Yellowstones, welcher an dieser Stelle schäumend und tosend über eine senkrechte Felswand von fast 100 m Höhe herabstürzt, während der Obere Wasserfall, in weiter Ferne liegend, nur als silberweißer Punkt erscheint; gegen die andere Seite zu verliert sich die Schlucht in bewaldeten Bergen, die abends eine dunkelviolette Färbung annehmen, während hinter diesen ein schneebedeckter Bergriese die Szenerie effektvoll abschließt. Diesem herrlichen Anblick kann ich nur jene wenigen Momente, da sich in Dardschiling der Nebel zerteilte und mir die Spitzen des Himalayas in ihrer jungfräulichen Majestät enthüllte, würdig zur Seite stellen.

Der Inspiration Point, eine mitten im Canon gelegene, für Schwindelfreie nicht allzuschwierig erreichbare Felsspitze, ist für die Rundschau der günstigste Punkt; umsomehr nahm es mich Wunder, dass für den Schutz der Reisenden an diesem Ort gar nicht gesorgt ist und weder Geländer noch Stufen den immerhin gefährlichen Weg erleichtern, vor dessen Zurücklegung bis zum äußersten Punkt ich jeden, der nicht Bergsteiger ist, warnen möchte.

Je tiefer die Sonne hinter die Berge sank, um so wechselnder wurde auch das Spiel der Farben, so dass wir, in Bewunderung versunken, uns lange von dem Schauspiel nicht trennen konnten, bis die wiederholte Mahnung des Kutschers, welcher die Rückfahrt in der Dunkelheit scheute, zwang, vom Inspiration Point zu scheiden. Einige große Steine, die wir zuvor noch abrollten, sprangen donnernd von Absatz zu Absatz, durchsausten die enorme Fallhöhe in wenigen Sekunden und verschwanden aufklatschend im Fluss. Auf einer der Felsnadeln, an deren höchste Spitze geklebt, entdeckten wir einen großen Adlerhorst, dessen Erbauer sich ein wohl unersteigliches Plätzchen gewählt haben.

Abends stöberten drei Bären, anscheinend eine Alte mit zwei Jungen, in dem kaum 200 Schritte vom Hotel entfernt liegenden Haufen von Konservenbüchsen, bei welcher Beschäftigung ein Herr, der sich schon vorher in der Nähe des Platzes verborgen hatte, die Tiere erblickte; als aber der ganze Schwarm Reisender, darunter auch wir, herbeieilte, verschwanden die Bären leider auf Nimmerwiedersehen, weil die Hotelgäste, besonders aber die Damen, äußerst unruhig waren, schwätzten und kicherten, was wohl selbst einen zahmen Bären vertrieben hätte.

Ohne das unerbittliche „No Shooting“ hätte ich mich gewiss an diesem allerdings nicht poetischen Platz angesetzt, überzeugt, dass ich im Lauf der Nacht zum Schuss gekommen wäre.

Links

Yellowstone Lake Hotel, 24 September 1893

Fortunately. Clam was able to participate in today’s drive, especially as the weather was to be splendid and a relatively warm day to be expected. At the Fountain Geyser Hotel, the landlord offered us still an example of American unfriendliness by answering our question about the time when the Old Faithful would play again with a moody „I don’t know“. Having just disappeared in the forest, we learned from the hunters in the second wagon behind us that the geyser had jumped into action only a few minutes ago.

Up to the Upper Geyser Basin we took the same route as the day before and then drove on past the geysers visited yesterday. They were smoking especially strongly due to the cool morning temperature. From there to Lake Yellowstone, a forest was our constant companion that looked quite desert and barren but not like one we were familiar with and contained at least some beautiful trees. A large number of them showed fresh traces from bears that had climbed the trees and left cuts from their paws in the bark. These climbing exercises are made by the bears only for entertainment purposes as they find their food only on the ground, while beaver were hard at work on trunks as thick as an arm that had completely bitten through at a height of about 30 cm.

The first point on our route where our admiration was invited was in no way justifying it. These were the Kepler falls that are formed by the Firehole river falling down over a few stones in a small gorge. A rock formation and stony slopes that interrupted the forest were blanketed with a light snow and made us consider as passionate mountain hunters how suitable this place would be for chamois and how much this place would thus be improved in our eyes.

The road with many curves proved this year that all road works and repairs had been canceled. The Yellowstone Park company had had a bad year as the visitor count amounted only to 3000 persons and had to save money everywhere and for example had to fire 100 coachmen and to send 200 horses into the prairie as there was no work for them.

After a longer ascent and repeated watering of the horses we reached a wooded high plateau of considerable size where a table at 2470 m above sea level with the inscription „Continental Divide“ informed about the fact that the watershed between the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean was there. Out of an extended forest shone the blue area of Lake Shoshone to the South and in the far distance rose some snow-covered peaks.

In very sharply turning serpentine roads the route led down the mountain which showed that the park company did not care much for the safety of the visitors or did trust in their horses very much: The small track which was just wide enough for a wagon without any railing or other safety measure was close to the abyss. Furthermore the road bed consisted of very soft material and was criss-crossed by tracks that did not inspire much confidence.

Completely unexpected, suddenly Lake Yellowstone lay at our feet and we enjoyed the gorgeous view was open to the distant surrounding mountains.This lake covers at an altitude of 2360 m an area of 302 km2 and extends into the land with deep bays so that one can compare it to four fingers of a hand. First for us lay the West Bay or Thumb where even the breakfast is usually eaten in a tent.

Very close many hot springs were sputtering, some of which were remarkable, thus a mud spring similar to the Mammoth Paint Pots which however cast out intensively pink colored instead of the white slurry and thus resembles a boiling strawberry cream, then the tanner’s spring with brown water etc. Some springs were near the lake shore, some even within the lake so that at the Fishing Cone only the depositions separate the hot from the cold water. Here one can catch a trout in the lake while standing on the edge of the spring and cook them immediately in the hot water without moving from the place — a joke that is often practised as the many fishbones and skeletons lying around proved.

In the lunch tent where we were presented with a barely edible breakfast fitting for the end of the season we found a group of Germans who were on their way to a four-week hunting expedition to the South of the park and were drivelling  about the great quantities of game there. The careful park cavalry command had sealed the rifles of these followers of Nimrod for the duration of their journey through the park.

On the small steamboat „Zillah“ that was not owned by the park company but a private company that took us to the other shore of the lake, the captain was acting also as pilot, cashier and steward to safe money. The main treasure of the boat formed capital wapiti antlers that were affixed below the star-spangled banner — a widespread custom in this region. I even once saw a locomotive that had an antler on its funnel. Idyllic calm lay over the area of the mountain lake which was splendidly by mighty mountains among them Mount Sheridan, Mount Cathedral, Grizzly, Eagle Peak and Mount Table. From the shore to the mountains unfathomable woods reach up to the limit of vegetation which also forms the main place for the local buffaloes. Only a little time ago a group of travellers passing by is said to have seen these giants of the animal world from the ship. Numerous ducks and geese populated the lake and were mingling extremely close to our vehicle. At some distance we saw swans and pelicans and on a small sand bank sat a sea eagle with a snow-white head and tail.

The Yellowstone Lake Hotel, another tasteless building, stands on a small hill above the lake and is to me due to its view the most sympathetic among the hotels in the park of those that I have been to.

As the owner of the steamer had made me the proposition to go salmon fishing before dawn we drove in two small boats to the place where the Yellowstone river flows out of the sea to try our luck. I fished with a trolling rod and a lure but there was not much chance for success as only the months of July and August were favorable for fishing and the fish showed little inclination for biting due to the cold. In the gorgeous clear water of the river where one could everywhere see the ground even at considerable depth were numerous fishes but even the most tempting lures were without much force of attraction until finally two salmon trouts gave in to our temptation and became the catch of Imhof who sat with me in the boat. These salmonids distinguished themselves by their especially beautiful coloring as their gold-yellow and rose red skin was covered with numerous dark spots.

A German who had been fishing at the same time and whom we met by chance assured me that the fish had bitten a little bit better in the morning but the present hour is certainly unfavorable so that we decided to retreat while a  gorgeous beautiful setting of the sun, an alpenglow and the concurrent rise of the moon over the quiet mountain lake was more than sufficient compensation for the not much satisfying fishing.

For later in the evening the appearance of a bear was promised that, as was said in the hotel, used to pay a visit to the muck heap near the house with its numerous dumped tins at dusk. The day before a group had surprised it during its meal. It then climbed a tree and was bombarded by the people present with pieces of wood. Despite a long wait we saw nothing but found a horse carcass that had already been fretted by a bear.

An older Hebe with glasses and a low-cut dress who made an extremely comical expression was serving us at supper. During the night we had to endure a severe cold in the damp rooms without a stove.

Links

Yellowstone Lake Hotel, 24. Sept. 1893

Erfreulicherweise konnte Clam heute an der Fahrt teilnehmen, zumal das Wetter prachtvoll und ein relativ warmer Tag zu gewärtigen war. Im Fountain Geyser Hotel lieferte uns der Wirt noch einen Beweis amerikanischer Unfreundlichkeit, indem er auf unsere Frage, wann der Old Faithful wieder spielen werde, mit einem mürrischen „Ich weiß es nicht“ antwortete. Kaum im Wald verschwunden, erfuhren wir von den im zweiten Wagen folgenden Jägern, dass der Geyser nach wenigen Minuten in Aktion getreten sei.

Bis zum Upper Geyser Bassin hatten wir denselben Weg vor uns wie am Vortag und fuhren daher an den gestern besichtigten Geysern vorbei, die infolge der kühlen Morgentemperatur besonders stark rauchten. Von da an bis zum Yellowstone-See blieb unser ständiger Begleiter ein Wald, der, ziemlich wüst und öde aussehend, allerdings kein solcher in unserem Sinne war, immerhin aber vereinzelte schöne Bäume enthielt. Eine große Zahl derselben zeigte frische Spuren von Bären, welche die Stämme erklettert und in der Rinde die Abdrücke und Risse ihrer Tatzen zurückgelassen hatten. Diese Kletterübungen werden von den Bären, die ihre Nahrung ausschließlich auf dem Erdboden finden, nur zum Zeitvertreib vorgenommen, während Biber ernste Arbeit an armdicken Stämmen verrichtet hatten, die in einer Höhe von etwa 30 cm glatt durchgebissen waren.

Der erste Punkt unserer Fahrt, zu dessen Bewunderung man uns einlud, rechtfertigte eine solche durch nichts; es waren dies die Kepler-Fälle, welche von dem in einer kleinen Schlucht über ein paar Steine herabfallenden Firehole gebildet werden. Den Wald unterbrechende Felspartien und steinige Leiten waren mit einer leichten Schneedecke überzogen und regten in uns passionierten Gebirgsjägern den Gedanken an, wie geeignet diese Plätze für Bartgams wären, und wie sehr sie dann in unseren Augen gewinnen würden.

Die in vielfachen Krümmungen angelegte Straße bezeugte, dass heuer sämtliche Straßenbauten und Reparaturen unterblieben waren; die Yellowstone-Park-Gesellschaft hat in diesem Jahre, in dem sich der Fremdenbesuch auf nur 3000 Personen belief, so schlechte Geschäfte gemacht, dass sie überall sparen und beispielsweise 100 Kutscher entlassen, sowie 200 Pferde, für welche es an Beschäftigung mangelte, auf die Weide schicken musste.

Nach längerem Anstieg und wiederholter Tränkung der Pferde erreichten wir ein waldiges Hochplateau von bedeutender Ausdehnung, wo eine 2470 m über dem Meer befindliche Tafel mit der Aufschrift „Continental Divide“ belehrt, dass man sich auf der Wasserscheide zwischen dem Pazifischen und Atlantischen Ozean befinde. Aus einem weithin reichenden Wald leuchtet die blaue Fläche des südlicher gelegenen Lake Shoshone entgegen, und in weiter Ferne ragen einige schneebedeckte Spitzen empor.

In sehr scharfen Serpentinen führt der Weg wieder bergab, dartuend, dass die Parkgesellschaft hier entweder wenig um die Sicherheit der Reisenden besorgt ist oder ihren Pferden sehr vertraut; denn das schmale Geleise, das knapp für einen Wagen Raum bietet, zieht, ohne durch ein Geländer oder eine sonstige Schutzvorkehrung abgeschlossen zu sein, hart an Abgründen vorbei, wozu noch kommt, dass der Unterbau der Straße, aus weichem Materiale bestehend und mit bedenklichen Rissen durchsetzt, geringes Vertrauen erweckt.

Ganz unvermutet liegt der Yellowstone-See zu unseren Füßen, und weithin schweift der Blick bis zu den umrandenden Bergen sich an dem herrlichen Bilde weidend. Dieses Gewässer bedeckt in der Höhe von 2360 m einen Flächenraum von 302 km2 und zieht sich mit tiefen Buchten ins Land, so dass man es mit vier Fingern einer Hand vergleichen kann; uns zunächst breitet sich die West Bay oder Thumb aus, wo selbst gewöhnlich das Frühstück in einem Zelt eingenommen wird.

Ganz in der Nähe sprudeln viele heiße Quellen hervor, deren einige bemerkenswert sind, so eine Schlammquelle, ähnlich den Mammoth Paint Pots, die aber statt des weißen Breies intensiv rosa gefärbten Schlamm auswirft und hiedurch einer brodelnden Erdbeercreme gleicht, dann die Gerberquelle mit braunem Wasser u. a. m. Einzelne Quellen liegen knapp am Seeufer, teilweise auch innerhalb des Sees, so dass beim Fishing Cone nur die Ablagerungen das heiße Wasser vom kalten trennen; hier kann man, mit der Angel am Quellrand stehend, im See Forellen fangen und diese alsbald, ohne sich von der Stelle zu rühren, im heißen Wasser kochen — ein Scherz, der öfters praktiziert wird, wie die vielen umherliegenden Gräten und Fischskelette beweisen.

Im Lunchzelt, wo uns ein kaum genießbares, dem Ende der Saison entsprechendes Frühstück vorgesetzt wurde, fanden wir eine Gesellschaft Deutscher, welche sich zu einer vierwöchentlichen Jagdexpedition südlich der Parkgrenze begaben und viel von den großen VVildmengen jener Gegend zu faseln wussten; das fürsorgliche Park-Kavalleriekommando hatte den Jüngern Nimrods für die Dauer der Reise durch den Park die Gewehre versiegelt.

Auf dem kleinen, nicht der Parkgesellschaft, sondern einem privaten Unternehmen gehörigen Dampfboot „Zillah“, das uns über den See brachte, fungierte der Kapitän aus Ersparungsrücksichten auch als Steuermann, Kassier und Stewart; den Hauptschmuck des Bootes bildete ein unter dem Sternenbanner angebrachtes, kapitales Wapiti-Geweih — eine in diesen Gegenden weit verbreitete Sitte; sah ich doch einmal sogar eine Lokomotive, die auf dem Rauchfang ein Geweih trug. Idyllische, lautlose Ruhe herrscht im Gebiete des Bergsees, den in prächtiger Umrahmung mächtige Berge umfassen, so der Mount Sheridan, Mount Cathedral, Grizzly, Eagle Peak und Mount Table. Vom Ufer an ziehen sich auf den Bergen bis zur Vegetationsgrenze unermessliche Forste empor, welche auch den Hauptstandort der hier heimischen Büffel bilden; eine kürzlich diese Stelle passierende Gesellschaft soll sogar einige dieser Riesen der Tierwelt vom Schiff aus gesehen haben. Zahlreiche Enten sowie Gänse bevölkerten den See und tummelten sich in nächster Nähe unseres Fahrzeuges umher; in einiger Entfernung sahen wir Schwäne und Pelikane, und auf einer kleinen Sandbank saß ein Seeadler mit schneeweißem Kopf und Stoß.

Das Yellowstone Lake Hotel, ein ebenfalls geschmackloser Bau, steht auf einem kleinen Hügel oberhalb des Sees und ist mir infolge seiner Lage sowie seiner Aussicht das sympathischeste unter allen Hotels im Park, die ich bisher kennen gelernt habe.

Da mir der Besitzer des Dampfers den Vorschlag gemacht hatte, vor Sonnenuntergang noch auf Lachsforellen zu fischen, fuhren wir in zwei kleinen Booten bis zur Austrittstelle des Yellowstone-Flusses aus dem See, dort unser Glück zu versuchen; ich fischte mit einer Schleppangel und einer Fliege, doch war nicht viel Aussicht auf Erfolg vorhanden, weil nur die Monate Juli und August für den Fischfang günstig sind und die Fische infolge der Kälte wenig Neigung zeigten, anzubeißen. In dem prächtig klaren Wasser des Flusses, in dem man überall, selbst bei bedeutender Tiefe bis auf den Grund sehen konnte, tummelten sich zwar zahlreiche Fische, aber auch die verlockendsten Fliegen übten lange keine Anziehungskraft, bis endlich zwei Lachsforellen der Versuchung doch erlagen und Imhof zur Beute fielen, der mit mir im Boot saß. Diese Salmoniden zeichnen sich hier durch besonders schöne Färbung aus, da ihre goldgelbe und rosenrote Haut mit zahlreichen, dunklen Flecken bedeckt ist.

Ein gleichfalls dem Fischfang obliegender Deutscher, dem wir zufällig begegneten, versicherte uns, dass die Fische am Morgen noch etwas besser angebissen hätten, die jetzige Stunde jedoch ganz ungeeignet sei, so dass wir uns zum Rückzug entschlossen, während desselben durch das herrlich schöne Untergehen der Sonne, ein Alpenglühen und den gleichzeitigen Aufgang des Mondes über dem stillen Bergsee für den wenig befriedigenden Fischfang reichlich entschädigt.

Für den späten Abend wurde uns noch der Anblick eines Bären versprochen, welcher, wie man im Hotel behauptete, nach Anbruch der Dunkelheit täglich dem beim Hause befindlichen, mit den zahlreichen weggeworfenen Konservenbüchsen ausgestatteten Düngerhaufen seinen Besuch abstattet; tagszuvor hatte ihn eine Gesellschaft bei seinem Mahl überrascht, worauf er brummend einen Baum erkletterte und von den Anwesenden mit Holzstücken beworfen wurde. Trotz langen Wartens bekam ich nichts zu Gesicht, fand aber einen Pferdekadaver, der bereits von einem Bären angeschnitten war.

Eine stark decolletierte und mit Brillen versehene ältliche Hebe, die einen äußerst komischen Eindruck machte, bediente uns beim Souper. Nachtsüber mussten wir in den ofenlosen, feuchten Zimmern empfindliche Kälte ertragen.

Links

Fountain Geyser Hotel, 23 September 1893

The Yellowstone Park Company administers as a privileged hotel stock company also transportation and has set a sort of day of rest for the horses that have to cover the arduous journey of 68 km from Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel to the Fountain Geyser Hotel at Lower Geyser Basin without a relay, which is generally used for an incredibly interesting three hour drive to the most beautiful and largest volcanic formations in the park in the Lower and Upper Geyser Basin.

Clam could not join our drive today as he was once again struck by a reminder of the tropical fever. Dense fog covered the whole ground in the morning but it lifted soon and made way for a very beautiful and relatively warm day. Before the departure we still had a hard struggle with our coachman who did not want to remove the large coach roof at all that restricted the view. Only when we had received the permission of the direction we had asked for by telegraph, did he grudgingly decide to comply with our wish, not without however breaking the construction of the roof.

The wagon first rumbled over a hollow sounding calcareous sinter terrace that made us fear to sink in, and in fact one of our rear wheels glided into a small crater of a hot spring. Barely five minutes distant from our hotel we spotted a capital wolf that was milling around 200 paces in front of us in an open space and which reawakened our vivid lamentation of not being permitted to hunt in the park. For a long time we were able to observe it at shooting distance until it disappeared into the woods looking back again and again towards us.

Very close to the Firehole River lies Excelsior Geyser that had had no eruptions since 1888, with a short exception in 1890, but in former times had been the most important in the basin and sent its water masses 60 to 90 m up into the air as a true „Geysir“, old Icelandic for berserker. Now one can only see a large crater with boiling hot water that is dark-blue in the middle and reddish at the edges due to the underlying deposits and that are reflected in the rising steam.

Close to the Excelsior Geyser our wagon stopped near the edge of the Turquoise Springs whose clear waters were truly of a turquoise color. Also remarkable are the springs nearby,  Artemisia and Morning Glory.

A bridge over the Firehole river leads to the extended upper geyser basin which holds numerous springs and up to 40 geysers that we could already see from near the bridge. First we saw the Riverside Geyser whose eruption happening at certain intervals we unfortunately had missed, then the Grotto that has created some sort of vault and a cone above its spring. The next geyser is called Castle due to its crater form and erupts in irregular periods and resembles in my opinion a tall smoking chimney.

The most beautiful and largest currently active geyser is the Old Faithful that fully earns its name as it keeps exactly to its times of eruption, 65 minutes of rest and 4 minutes of show. We thus could use the remaining half hour to the next eruption to visit a snow-white lime terrace that was carrying a good number of fountains on its vaulted surface. Thus the Beehive with its beehive-like cone that has been formed in such a regular way that one could think it is a work of art. The strange black-purple water color marks the Giantess who erupts only every 14 days while her husband, the Giant, is very moody and produces his water spectacles in intervals that can’t be predicted.

Very cute small geysers are the „sponge“ and the „butterfly“ that vividly blow out small water jets aggrandising themselves. The former completely resembles a sponge in color and look, while the latter exactly matches the contours of the wings of a butterfly. At the Lion and the Lioness, small geysers with cone-shaped craters, one notices a bubble-like hard sinter deposit at the outer wall  which is tempting to take a souvenir of a small piece as something new and not yet seen. But this is prevented by the severe watchful soldier who does not leave any travel group unattended. He prevented any catch and stepped in when Imhof finally had managed with great effort to get a piece of the sinter and hide it, so that he again plucked the valuable treasure out of the pocket of the sinner.

Our guide made us aware that it was time to return to the Old Faithful where my curiosity led me to take a look at the already rumbling crater, an undertaking that was punished by a hot steam cloud that suddenly enclosed me and burned strongly. Immediately after the eruption followed, the huge water mass rose like an immense fountain spring to about 45 m, presenting a gorgeous spectacle whose effect was much improved by the beautiful weather, the deep-blue sky and the dark-green background of the fir tree woods. As quickly as it had appeared, the gigantic water jet that looked different on every side sank back into the crater whose surrounding area consists of a small basin in the form of a wave where the remaining water quickly evaporates.

The hunger that comes with the enjoyment of nature is quenched in a wooden hotel where one eats breakfast. As the Old Faithful erupts, as noted, every 65 minutes we waited for the next eruption to admire it once more and take photographs.

The named geysers and springs is far from being a complete list of such attractions here. That’s why I still visited a number of other geysers in the afternoon with a light wagon. One might believe that one more or less resembles the other and that one soon tires of further visits. But this is not the case  as each wonder of nature distinguishes itself by special features and strange aspects.

The Grotto we had already seen in the morning pleased us by just then offering a show by sending out a cascade of hot water from multiple openings at the same time. Then we came to the Punch Bowl, a boiling spring with a raised edge, then to the White Pyramid, a cone of a defunct crater, the Splendid Geyser, Fan, Mortar and all others of these spectacles of nature that still might be named. In a small side valley we were blinded by the snow-white deposits of multiple springs that extended there like a moraine there and had in time turned the dead trees into stone.

Hodek wanted to photograph in an especially picturesque pose appropriate to the character of the region and asked us to climb the very steep crater of the apparently quiet Castle Geyser and take up position at the narrow edge. This image of the audacious climb of the crater would have been very original but Prónay and I had hardly arrived at the top when our intention seemed to displease the old Castle, as suddenly it started to erupt and to spout water over us while hot steam also burned Prónay’s nose. Involuntarily we had to admit that our undertaking had not been more sensible than what the German had done at the Constant Geyser, and sought relief from our failed enterprise by watching the show of the Old Faithful again from a distance.

We returned to the hotel on a different route than we arrived on which we had to pass a rather deep ford of the Firehole River with the wagon while multiple flocks of geese were quacking. While my gentlemen still undertook an evening stroll, I remained in the hotel to write in my diary until the splendid moon rise enticed me to go outside again.

Links

Fountain Geyser Hotel, 23. Sept. 1893

Die Yellowstone Park Company verwaltet als privilegierte Hotel-Aktiengesellschaft auch das Transportwesen und hat für ihre Pferde, welche die anstrengende 68 km lange Fahrt vom Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel bis zu dem im Lower Geyser Bassin gelegenen Fountain Geyser Hotel ohne Relais zurücklegen müssen, hier eine Art Rasttag eingeschaltet, welcher in der Regel zu einer dreistündigen, ungemein interessanten Fahrt nach den schönsten und größten vulkanischen Gebild des Parkes, im Lower und im Upper Geyser Bassin benützt wird.

Clam konnte heute leider nicht an unserer Fahrt teilnehmen, da sich bei ihm abermals eine Mahnung an das Tropenfieber eingestellt hatte. Dichter Nebel überdeckte morgens das ganze Land, doch hob er sich bald und räumte einem sehr schönen, verhältnismäßig warmen Tag das Feld. Vor der Abfahrt hatten wir noch einen hartnäckigen Kampf mit unserem Kutscher, der um keinen Preis das große, aussichtbehindernde Dach der Coach abnehmen wollte und sich erst, als von uns telegraphisch ersuchte Direktion ihre Erlaubnis erteilte, brummend entschloss, unserem Wunsche zu willfahren, jedoch nicht ohne hiebei das Gerüst des Daches zu brechen.

Der Wagen rollte zunächst über eine hohl klingende Kalksinter-Terrasse, die befürchten ließ, dass wir einsinken würden, und in der Tat glitt eines unserer Hinterräder in den kleinen Krater einer heißen Quelle. Kaum fünf Minuten vom Hotel entfernt, sahen wir einen kapitalen Wolf, der auf 200 Schritte vor uns über eine ganz freie Fläche trollte und wieder unser lebhaftes Bedauern, im Park nicht jagen zu dürfen, wachrief; längere Zeit hindurch konnten wir ihn auf Schussdistanz beobachten, bis er, beständig nach uns zurückäugend, im Wald verschwunden war.

Hart an dem Firehole River liegt der Excelsior Geyser, welcher seit dem Jahre 1888, mit einer kurzen Ausnahme im Jahre 1890, nicht mehr gespielt hat, früher aber allerdings der bedeutendste im Becken war und seine Wassermassen 60 bis 90 m hoch emporschleuderte, als richtiger „Geysir“, altisländisch der Wütherich. Jetzt sieht man nur noch einen großen Krater mit siedend heißem Wasser, das in der Mitte dunkelblauen, an den Rändern aber infolge der durchscheinenden Ablagerungen rötlichen Schimmer zeigt, der sich selbst in den aufsteigenden Dämpfen spiegelt.

Unweit des Excelsior Geyser hielt unser Wagen knapp am Rande der Turkoise Springs, deren klares Wasser tatsächlich von türkisblauer Farbe ist; bemerkenswert sind auch die nebenliegenden Quellen, Artemisia und Morning Glory.

Eine Brücke des Firehole leitet in das ausgedehnte Obere Geyserbecken, welches zahlreiche Quellen und gegen 40 Geyser enthält, deren wir schon nächst der Brücke einige erblickten und zwar zuerst den Riverside Geyser, dessen in bestimmten Intervallen erfolgende Eruption wir leider versäumten, dann den Grotto, der eine Art Wölbung und einen keulenförmigen Kegel über seine Quelle gebaut hat; der nächste Geyser wird nach seiner Kraterform Castle genannt, springt in unregelmäßigen Perioden und gleicht, meiner Ansicht nach, einem rauchenden, großen Kamin.

Der schönste und größte aller gegenwärtig tätigen Geyser ist der Old Faithful, welcher diesen Namen in der Tat verdient, denn er hält seine Eruptionszeit, 65 Minuten Ruhe und 4 Minuten Spiel, genau ein. Wir konnten daher die bis zur nächsten Eruption fehlende halbe Stunde zum Besuch einer schneeweißen Kalkterrasse verwenden, die auf gewölbter Oberfläche eine ganze Reihe von Brunnen trägt; so den Beehive mit bienenkorbähnlichem Kegel, welcher derart regelmäßig gebaut ist, dass man ihn für ein Kunstprodukt halten könnte; die durch eigentümliche, schwarzviolette Wasserfarbe ausgezeichnete Giantess, welche nur alle 14 Tage springt, während ihr Gemahl, der Giant, sehr launisch ist und seine Wasserkünste in zum voraus unbestimmbaren Zwischenräumen produziert.

Sehr herzige Geyserchen sind der „Schwamm“ und der „Schmetterling“, welche lebhaft pustend und wichtig tuend kleine Wassersäulchen aufwerfen; ersterer gleicht in Farbe und Aussehen vollkommen einem Schwamm, während letzterer genau die Konturen der Flügel eines Schmetterlings zeigt. Beim Lion und bei der Lioness, kleinen Geysern mit kegelförmig aufgebauten Kratern, ist an der Außenwand eine blasenartige, harte Sinterablagerung bemerkbar, welche als etwas Neues und noch nicht Gesehenes zur Mitnahme eines Stückchens reizt; doch verhindert der scharf auslugende Soldat, welcher keine Reisegesellschaft unbeobachtet Iässt. jegliche Ausbeute und griff, als es Imhof endlich nach schwerer Mühe gelungen war, ein Stück des Sinters verschwinden zu lassen, sofort zu, um den kostbaren Schatz wieder der Tasche des Frevlers zu entreißen.

Unser Führer machte uns nun aufmerksam, dass es Zeit sei, wieder zum Old Faithful zurückzukehren, wo mich meine Neugierde zuerst noch einen Blick in den bereits rumorenden Krater werfen ließ, welches Unterfangen durch eine heiße Dampfwolke bestraft wurde, die mich plötzlich einhüllte und heftig brannte. Unmittelbar darauf erfolgte die Eruption, die gewaltige Wassermasse erhob sich wie ein immenser Springbrunnen etwa 45 m hoch, ein herrliches Schauspiel bietend, dessen Wirkung durch das schöne Wetter, den tiefblauen Himmel und den dunkelgrünen Hintergrund des Tannenwaldes bedeutend gehoben wurde. Ebenso rasch wie sie gekommen war, sank die gigantische, sich nach jeder Seite hin verschieden präsentierende Wassersäule in den Krater zurück, dessen Umgebung aus kleinen, wellenförmig gezeichneten Becken besteht, in welchen das zurückgebliebene Wasser rasch verdampft.

Auf den nach dem Naturgenuss sich einstellenden Hunger der Reisenden ist durch ein hölzernes Hotel Bedacht genommen, woselbst gefrühstückt wird. Da der Old Faithful, wie bemerkt, alle 65 Minuten springt, warteten wir diese Frist ab, um einen neuerlichen Ausbruch zu bewundern und photographische Aufnahmen zu machen.

Mit den erwähnten Geysern und Quellen ist die Zahl derartiger Erscheinungen noch lange nicht erschöpft, weshalb ich nachmittags in einem leichten Wagen noch eine Reihe anderer Geyser besichtigte. Man sollte glauben, dass diese einander mehr oder weniger gleichen und daher bei dem Besucher bald Ermüdung eintritt; doch ist dem nicht so, da jedes der Naturwunder sich durch besondere Merkwürdigkeiten und Eigentümlichkeiten auszeichnet.

Der bereits vormittags gesehene Grotto machte uns die Freude, sich eben zu produzieren, indem er einer Kaskade gleich aus verschiedenen Öffnungen heißes Wasser ausströmen ließ; dann kamen wir zur Punsch-Bowle, einer kochenden Quelle mit erhöhtem Rande, zur White Pyramid, dem Kegel eines erloschenen Kraters, zum Splendid Geyser, Fan, Mortar und wie alle diese Naturspiele noch heißen mögen. In einem kleinen Seitenthale blendete uns die schneeweiße Ablagerung mehrerer Quellen, welche sich daselbst moränenartig ausbreitet und die abgestorbenen Bäume allmählich versteinert.

Hodek wollte uns in besonders malerischer, dem Charakter der Gegend entsprechender Pose photographieren und bat uns, den sehr steilen Krater des anscheinend ruhigen Castle Geyser zu besteigen und auf dem schmalen Rand desselben Stellung zu nehmen. Dieses Bild kühner Kraterbesteigung wäre jedenfalls sehr originell gewesen, doch waren Prónay und ich kaum oben angelangt, als dem alten Castle unsere Absicht zu missfallen schien; denn plötzlich begann er zu speien und uns beide mit Wasser zu überschütten, während heißer Dampf überdies Prónay an der Nase verbrannte. Unwillkürlich mussten wir zugestehen, dass unser Unternehmen auch nicht viel vernünftiger war, als jenes des Deutschen bei dem Constant Geyser, und ließen uns in dem neuerlichen Spiel des Old Faithful, das wir aus der Ferne betrachteten, Ersatz für unseren verunglückten Einfall bieten.

Auf einem anderen Weg, als jenem, den wir gekommen waren, kehrten wir zum Hotel zurück, wobei wir unter dem Geschnatter mehrerer Flüge Gänse eine ziemlich tiefe Furt des Fireholes mit dem Wagen zu passieren hatten. Während meine Herren abends noch spazieren gingen, blieb ich im Hotel, an meinem Tagebuch schreibend, bis mich der prachtvolle Mondesaufgang wieder ins Freie lockte.

Links

Fountain Geyser Hotel, 22 September 1893

The day started bitter cold even if beautiful and cloudless. On the stiffly frozen ground our coach departed from the hotel and turned past the springs into the gorge of the Gardiner River where the road rose so steeply that our four good horses could only advance with great effort. Despite furs, blankets and the life-preserving cognac we were freezing quite hard during the first hours of the 68 km long drive.

After some time the end of the gorge is reached at some kind of pass that has been named Golden Gate after the yellow moss growing on the rocks. The route continues alongside a rock wall over a wooden bridge.

The Golden Gate is found as an illustration in all travel guide books. Countless photographs of it are sold. But there are hundreds of much more beautiful gorges and passes in our mountains that nobody mentions. I noticed here too that in America, the humbug is extended to natural wonders too and many very unimportant feature and point is pressed upon the visitor as an admirable sight. I am certainly a great friend of nature and its charms and am rightfully said to be an enthusiast for nature and can while away for days in a beautiful area or forest and still find new features in every tree, every mountain, in short in everything. If, however, guide books, guides and travel organizers and coachmen in a way command me to find something „beautiful“, my admiration vanishes and I start to examine with a critical eye and make comparisons with those at home which most of the times favor the latter.

Unfortunately the whole gorge is littered with dead trees, witnesses of earlier forest fires, and the government could at least here in the national park undertake reforestations next to the road. The Gardiner river crashed down as a small waterfall from the ledge of the pass from which we came over a plain prairie-like plateau. In its midst lies Swan Lake that is actually only a puddle despite of its presumptuous name. Behind us rose the Electric Peak at 3400 m the highest mountain in the Yellowstone Park. To our right loomed the snowy peaks of Quadrant Mount, Bannock Peak and Mount Holmes, three mighty steep mountains that were all above  3000 m high.

After the monotonous prairie of the high plateau we were welcomed by a living forest which however was not comparable in beauty to the forests in our latitudes but still had only a few spots of burned trees or trees knocked down by the snow pressure. Spruces and fir trees made up its stock almost exclusively. Only now and then a few dwarfish trembling poplars or willows were casting out a glance out of the dark green of the conifers. As there had fallen today a splendid new snow, we entertained ourselves by discovering and following the numerous tracks crossing the road. Among these were excellent elk (wapiti) tracks of considerable size as well as those of wolfs, foxes and hares. Squirrels of three different species among which one very small striped cute animal were scurrying around as swift as an arrow and were sunning themselves on the fallen trees only to disappear lightning fast among the branches or roots when the wagon came too close.

The richness in game of the park is quite respectable thanks to the severe hunting prohibition. The last specimen of the once innumerable wild buffalo herds spared the senseless destructive urges of the rude farmers and cowboys are living here. Besides them are wapitis, moose, big-horns, mountain sheep, smaller deer species, six bear varieties (grizzly, cinnamon, black, silvertipped, smutfaced and silk bears), one mountain lion, wolves, foxes, coyotes, beavers, — elsewhere close to extinction if their hunt is not stopped — Otters, martens, muskrats, ermines, hares, rabbits, badgers, iltisses and even some species of porcupine. Among the birds one finds grouse, eagle and other predators, owls, many geese and ducks, pelicans and allegedly swans. Then cranes, crows, ravens, a species of blue nutcracker and frequently spotted nutcrackers that are very similar to ours in voice, flight and behavior.

Despite the tables affixed everywhere displaying „No Shooting“ and even though the army battalion is also tasked with prohibiting any hunting, there is much poaching going on. Thus I have heard that a gang has killed 500 wapitis and transported them across the border. And I would have to leave the question open whether there were not some captains who would take up the rifle from time to time with their soldiers during the long lonesome winter months while the park was closed.

Three kilometers from Swan Lake one crosses Indian Creek and Willow Creek that flow here into Gardiner river and then stands face to face to the obsidian rock which I had imagined to look quite different. The cooled stream of volcanic glass can be indeed noticed on the rock and on the many broken  pieces lying around but the light effects and reflections are in no way as extraordinary as they are described. The most interesting is the fact that the rock served as a good orientation marker for the Indians who considered it holy. In its hard mass it once had provided excellent material for arrow heads. When the road had been laid out here, one did not want to destroy the beautiful rock by powder or dynamite explosions but heated it up and then quickly poured cold water over it — a method which made the rock crack on its own.

To our right was Beaver Lake, a small pretty forest lake with a blue surface and beaver lodges. Here as in all places with much water were many ducks that were not at all timid and swam around with great familiarity close to our rolling wagon. At a lake close to Beaver Lake we were greatly surprised. When we were unsuspectingly driving alongside the lake we suddenly saw a brown mass move in a meadow at the edge of the water. Approaching to finally only 150 paces we recognized to our great pleasure a mighty beaver. To see such an animal walking around freely during clear day is certainly a considerable rarity which was confirmed also by our coachman who is driving this route for a good part of the year.

We had the wagon immediately stopped and observed the animal that did not let itself be interrupted. Even when we shouted and whistled, it continued in its slow wobbling walk only now and then stopping and glancing back. How much did I regret the vexed „No Shooting“ that prevented me from firing a shot at this rare animal — what a valuable hunting trophy this apparently very old gentleman would have made! It had been so close that I could very clearly distinguish its beautiful dense fur with the long silver grey tinted ends, the cone-shaped strong tail and the plump legs. This break lifted our somewhat „frozen“ spirits all the more as the warmth of the sun became more noticeable.

It astonished me greatly that the coachman stopped the coach from time to time and made the steaming horses drink snow water despite their hot condition, something I would not have dared to do with my own horses. When we asked him, he said that the company had ordered that he had to water the horses always in the same places during the year. In the summer this may be reasonable but I find the blind following of such an order in this season and the current circumstances to be very audacious or very stupid.

Again there followed two small lakes called Twin Lakes, then it went through a wooded valley on a sometimes quite bad road until we reached the lunch station, the Norris Hotel. It had burned down already twice and thus there was just a great tent erected in its place. In it were innumerable flies that had sought shelter from the coming winter cold and tortured the guests who are offered a bad cold breakfast. The landlord acts as a joker and tomfool but also has moments of an felicitous kind when he shook the hand of his guests and greeted them like friends and old acquaintances. Thus he called Wurmbrand „Oh, how do you do, my dear Duke!“ and other similar childish acts.

At the same time as we arrived from the opposite direction various groups one of which was composed of ladies that were the opposite of young. During the drive we encountered quite many riders with baggage horses and small family wagons, mostly poorer people that had travelled across the Yellowstone park in the warmer season and had camped there and where now fleeing quickly from the coming cold. One wagon with a very corpulent mother and a flock of hopeful children of various ages who were sitting on beds and cooking apparatus looked like a gypsy wagon.

The armed forces were represented by a patrol that came toward us singing but chittering in the cold. They were dressed in theatrical sombreros and cuffed gloves. As soon as we had satisfied our hunger and thirst with cold meat and a bottle of the famous American Zinfandel wine, we rushed on foot to visit the sources and hot springs nearby. Here I saw for the first time an active geyser, the so called Constant Geyser or Minute Man, that was one of the smallest among his brethren but that attracted our attention as it was the closest. In the midst of a calcareous sinter terrace it rises especially eager every four minutes 6 m high into the air and thrusts out a crystal clear water jet like a strong spring fountain, developing considerable amounts of steam and sending hot water into the whole surrounding area.

Very close nearby is the Black Growler, a no longer active geyser that still thrusts out a steam jet with a forceful subterranean noise. A few steps off the road in a cave lies the Mud Geyser, an apparently quiet spring with a smooth surface. Every twenty minutes however bubbles are forming on the surface and suddenly the water rises with a strong whiz up to a height of 2 m and forms a cone like one can see in many artificial water works. Eight minutes does this strange spectacle of nature last, then the whole hot water masses fall down as quickly as they appeared and the spring is as smooth and clear as before.

Continuing we arrived at Emerald Pool, a dead geyser whose water in the crater had such a beautiful green and blue color as I had never before seen it at any other spring. In the unfathomable depth the refracturing of the light is unique in its kind.

The Monarch Geyser situated in a side gorge is fairly young and quite unreliable in its eruption intervals as it sends its water jet in longer unequal periods but then to a notable height of 30 m. This geyser had been damaged like many others in the park by throwing soap into it. The latter one has the strange effect of forcing a sudden eruption. But the too frequent use of this violent chemistry has exhausted some geysers, so that some had gone out completely or became irregular or provided only a very small jet. The effective prohibition of such mischief has come too late as many geysers had already been put out of commission by „soaping“.

Apart from the just named the Norris Geyser Basin includes a large number of smaller geysers and hot springs that would be very interesting all of their own but in the company of so much more spectacular sights they lose in importance as one starts to make comparisons.

On the day before my arrival a Northern German who wanted to impress a group of ladies as a „tough guy“ had the inconsiderate idea to stand straddling the Constant Geyser. When the eruption occurred, he was completely burned and is now in a life or death struggle as a victim of his childish act of bravery.

During the rest of the drive we arrived at Elk Park, a large meadow enclosed in a forest through which the Gibbon River flows quietly. At the shore of it we saw multiple beautiful American geese with dark blue, nearly black heads and necks as well as white stripes. They showed themselves very familiar in contrast to the custom of their European relatives and let us approach quite close. Apart from them we saw only a few representatives of the bird world during the whole journey. Now and then a harrier or buzzard, quite frequently small falcons with grey blue bodies an red wings, some nutcrackers, thrushes, grouses, finches and tits. In the very sparse flora I spotted only a gentian with long stem and purple flowers.

Our stage coach rolled into a wooded valley alongside the Gibbon River following the route that was snaking its way through the forest marked and interrupted by dark sharply cut rock formations. Finally the valley became narrower and gorge-like. The route ascended steeply up to a point from which we could see deep below us the picturesque Gibbon Falls. The river falls there almost 25 m over a tall rock and combines itself down in the valley with the Firehole River to form the Madison River. At a turn in the forest we could see the immense forest areas that reached in the far distance up to the three white sentinels of the Teton Mountains that lay outside the park and were 4270 m high. These mountains form the border between Wyoming, the equality state where man and woman enjoy the same political rights, and Idaho.

Descending down the steep mountain we arrived in the valley of the Firehole River, passed a station as well as a tent camp of the cavalry squadron doing police duty and are at 5 o’clock in the evening after a drive of eight hours at the  Fountain Geyser Hotel that is surrounded by aa ring of steaming springs and geysers.

Here we had arrived in the true center of the volcanic surface activities and used the remaining part of the day to quickly visit the largest geyser that was only a few minutes away from the hotel and was active every two to three hours. There we found numerous visitors who also were awaiting the moment of eruption. To my great surprise I saw a common snipe walk around and jab at the edge of a crater in the hot water of a smaller nearly continuously active minor geyser.

A general „Ah!“ of the waiting audience called me to the edge of the great geyser in which soon rose, with strong bubbling and whizzing, a mighty 10 m wide water jet up to a heigh of 45 m. The rays of the setting sun were broken and reflected in the massive water jet and offered a gorgeous color effect that a vivid Frenchman present compared not incorrectly to a fontaine lumineuse.

Soon after the show of the Fountain Geyser had ended and the water had quieted down, we were faced with a new spectacle of the Mammoth Paint Pots, large mud springs that are in constant motion. Snow-white, viscous mud, resembling freshly slaked lime, is thrown up here in numerous places in form of hemispherical masses, cones, rings or also as a jet and falls down again with a thud.

The vivid Frenchman and I could not refrain from poking our sticks into the mass and throwing pieces from the cooled edge into it. But immediately the watchful eye of the law appeared in the form of a soldier who complained that this action was a violation of the „Rules and Regulations“. These guards of whom one is always found at each prominent point are of the most meticulous exactitude and keep rigorously watch that not one pebble of the national sanctuary goes missing.

Returned to the hotel we enjoyed the splendid view for a while longer that the clear shine of the rising moon wove into the smoke pillars of the geysers and much more than the dinner which was just as awful as we found it prepared everywhere else in America. Only this time the impolite waiters had been replaced in an agreeable way by a group of pretty girls who were guarded by a very old and very lean female „boss“ like a hawk.

Links