Unlike the quiet waterfalls of Mammoth, Norris offers dozens of sputtering pools and cracks venting rotten-egg steam. The broken earth, sulfur fog and dead trees combine to form a scene much like the backdrop of a cheap 1970s fantasy movie.
Two days after its big blast Steamboat continued to vent, but with much less force and noise by this point. Downhill the Cistern pool remained dry, emptied when Steamboat blew close to 12000 gallons of water from the underground system they share.
The back basin at Norris is home to many snorting puddles and fissures. We sat awhile at Echinus but didn’t have the patience to wait up to two hours for an eruption. A number of the pools bubble constantly, and those kept us occupied if a bit nauseous from the smell. Vixen goes off every five to ten minutes and we had to wait only a few seconds to see it pop.
The low Porcelain Basin is less active but more colorful, sporting wide, wet plains full of heat-seeking algae.
Even though the place smells pretty bad in spots it’s a fascinating landscape and we were happy to immerse ourselves in the weird scenery for a few hours. If anything, Norris is a great setup for the big show, Old Faithful.