Castle Geyser

One of the highlights from our trip happened by surprise. In Yellowstone National Park, we caught Castle Geyser erupting while literally standing next to it.

Most people think about Old Faithful when they picture Yellowstone National Park. However, Yellowstone has 500 amazing geysers and some 10,000 thermal features to check out!

Castle Geyser has the largest cone geyser and may be the oldest geyser in that area.  It’s named after looking like an old castle.

While the geyser’s eruption pattern has changed over time, it now goes off about every 12-14 hours unless it has minor eruptions which throw off the pattern at times.

The water eruptions from this castle shoot hot water up to 100 feet into the air for about 20 minutes! And then it blows some hot, noisy steam for around 30-40 minutes. The entire eruption can last about an hour.

We caught this eruption one day in July while visiting there. Our family loved it! Definitely a highlight from the trip!

Enjoy some photos and a video of this really cool geyser!

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Happy 113th anniversary to Lassen Volcanic National Park!

Located about 130 miles north of Sacramento, this national park has over 100,00 acres. Congress established this national park back in 1916 making it one of the oldest in our country.

Lassen Volcanic National Park offers visitors the cool experiences of seeing clear mountain lakes, meadows filled with wildflowers, and a number of volcanoes! In fact, Lassen Peak is one of the largest plug dome volcanoes in the world.

We took the two kids there a few years ago and will never forget the “stinky” section of the park. Both kids holding their noses and wondering what that smell was! It definitely entertained mom and dad! 😉 The kids enjoyed seeing the boiling mudpots and steaming vents with that yummy sulfur smell!

If you’re in the Northern California area, check out this unique national park and experience a volcano! Happy anniversary, Lassen!

Enjoy some photos from our time there!

Secret

I have a secret. It isn’t your normal type of a secret. And it’s not going to put me in jail type of secret. I’ll share my little secret with you all as it seems fitting here in this blog. So, I really love volcanoes. I am completely fascinated by them! (I warned you that it isn’t a normal type of secret!)

I really don’t know where this fascination of volcanoes came from as I grew up in the Midwest. It’s as flat as a pancake there with no volcanoes anywhere near there.

Maybe it all stems from Mount St. Helens. I vividly remember seeing the television footage of Mount St. Helens’ eruption on May 18, 1980. And then, after nine hours of eruption, the mountain and landscape looked so different.

Sometime after that eruption, my dad traveled out west for work and brought me back a little box of ashes from Mount St. Helens. I thought that was so cool! And I still have the box.

Volcanoes came back into my interest as an adult after traveling to several national parks. Did you know that there are at least 38 national parks and monuments in the United States that have volcanoes has a central theme or a major supporting role?

I remember sitting at my first park ranger program at Yellowstone National Park listening about the fact that Yellowstone is a supervolcano*. I had no idea at the time! I don’t remember learning anything about that in my high school earth science class. Yellowstone has had three super eruptions in the last two million years and it is just sleeping and will erupt again someday.

While the roots of volcanoes are underground, you can see the features of the volcanic activity of Yellowstone all over the park – geysers, hot springs, mudpots, fumaroles, travertine terraces, craters, Red Mountains, and more.

Old Faithful

After learning all about Yellowstone, I had to read more about volcanoes. I had to learn more them. I also wanted to visit more volcanic national parks or monuments. It is one thing to read about it, but so different to actually see an active mountain, sleeping area, craters, or other volcanic features in person.

I learned more than the science though from visiting the national parks. I realized the power and also the fragility of nature. Our national parks and their amazing and unique features impact us often beyond our visits there.

Maybe I should have been a volcanologist! 😉

*A supervolcano refers to a volcano capable of an eruption more than 240 cubic miles of magma. Translation = it is HUGE!