PersonnelMark Nixon (Alphawolf, South Weber, Utah)
After our trip to Fairyland in 2005 Mark and I agreed that we would not go to Fairyland again. Almost as soon as we got home, however, we began to talk about the conditions under which we would do it. We had high hopes of photographing and getting intervals of thermals at Coffee Pot Hot Springs. Suddenly it didn't seem impossible anymore.
In January 2007 I suggested to Mark that we try to get our permit. We invited our friends Dianne Busch and Dan Martin from the Loon Chat to go with us. Both had attempted to go to Fairyland in the past and for various reasons were not able to.
With the help of M.A. Bellingham I started doing research. I wanted to know the names of the thermals at Joseph's Coat, Coffee Pot and Fairyland. I wanted to sort through what I thought I knew about the area and I wanted to track down thermals that had eluded me in the past. We located items in the Yellowstone archives and I attempted to locate every trip report I could find on the web or on blogs. I learned a lot about the geology of the area from Yellowstone geologist Rick Hutchinson's reports and I was able to discover the composition of the cones in Fairyland. I read with fascination Hutchinson's speculations on how and why the cones formed. I collected descriptions, hand-drawn maps and photos for a "cheat sheet" to take with me. M.A. sent me wonderful old trip reports from the 1940s and 1960s and I became her unofficial repository for all information on Joseph's Coat and Broad Creek. It was starting to get fun.
And Mark and I planned. We love planning and we worked through every detail in advance. It helped that we had been there in 2005. This would be my fifth trip to Joseph's Coat and my third trip to Fairyland. About a month before the trip, Dan had to drop out for personal reasons. We were all disappointed, but pressed on. After only a short debate, we agreed to take along a Personal Locator Beacon-a PLB. It is an emergency device that uses satellite to get help to you no matter where you are almost as soon as you need it. At $13 a head it seems like a pretty sweet deal.
As always, click on a photo to see a larger version. When you visit Yellowstone, please respect the wildlife. We are visitors. Yellowstone is their home. Please do not disturb or deface the thermal features. Leave everything as you found it for others to enjoy.
All of these photos are hosted by Flickr. This links to my photo stream. This links to my Fairyland 2007 set. This links to my Fairyland 2005 set. Finally, this links to my Fairyland 2003 set. You can also find my email address on Flickr.
Dianne's account of the trip can be found on her page, Wendy's Trip Reports. If you would rather not see all of Dianne's excellent writings about Yellowstone, then this is the direct link to this Fairyland trip. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Dianne's 2001 trip report on Fairyland is now a classic piece of Fairyland lore.
P.S. My friend, John Uhler, hosts a kickin' little outdoors chat called The Great Outdoors Chat Page.