This basin had been closed for most of the week. As I drove past on Monday, a crew was removing the orange cones and roping, so I pulled in to see this place, as I knew I would not be driving past again at a convenient time. Lots of RV parking spots since I was about the fourth vehicle to make it in.
Nice reflections in the pools of very shallow water around the deeper pool.
Long story, but I had a rough time exiting the parking lot. I wish I had taken more photos, but basically this was a parking lot entered and exited by a two-way entrance. The park service had put logs on one side of the road to prevent people from parking there. Unfortunately, the whole line of cars you can see the photo below are parked along the logs illegally, but since there were no rangers around due to government cutbacks, no one was stopping them or ticketing anyone.
I had no way to get out because there was now a line of cars trying to get in, making this now a one-lane road. In other words, people were coming in but there was no place to park because the lot was full and no one could get out. I parked my vehicle right in the middle of the end of the parking loop and hiked up to the entrance trying to find someone to help to stop more cars coming in so we could clear the entrance and get out. There are a lot of European and Asian visitors so it was even hard to find someone who spoke English. Everyone was just waiting for the line to miraculously clear. Finally I got a man to stand in the middle of the road and a lady volunteered to move her car so it was parked sideways blocking the entrance.
By the time I took this photo, only the red car and the one behind it needed to get into the lot and out of the way so I and the line of cars behind me could exit. I reported this to the NPS a larger piece of my mind tomorrow about this. I can understand the shortage of rangers, but this is a safety issue. What would have happened if someone had had an accident or heart attack--no way to get out of the parking lot and no way to call for help. Ridiculous.