Whoosh gurgle hiss oooh!
We went to Yellowstone today.
On such a beautiful morning, the drive from Jackson with the Grand Tetons shining in the sunshine was a delight. We decided to stop at the viewpoint and take a few photographs - who knows if the weather will be as good again whilst we are here?
A lengthy convoy system around some road works was a bit of a nuisance but the countryside was so interesting, we didn’t really mind. We had fair warning from someone in the hotel this morning, who had waited half an hour in the same jam yesterday.
On the road into the National Park, we kept seeing the sign “Be Bear Aware” , which sent our travelling companions into a frenzy - I mean, it wasn’t as if we had left many of our road trip supplies left for them to plunder!
Arriving at the park gate, the Park Ranger checked Mary’s Golden National Park Pass and we were in, heading first for the main attraction: Old Faithful.
It took a while, we crossed the continential divide again at least twice and we were rather pleased to be there at last. My Hero and I have been here once before, in 2007 when we were staying in Bozeman, Montana (during the early days of my blog!) and from reading of that visit, it’s clear how little we remembered!
Though we did remember the geyser itself, we were both pretty sure that there wasn’t anything like the huge scale of development around the site then. We parked the car and all three of us took particular note of ways to find it again in the enormous car park (reminiscent of a Disney theme park, I thought) Off we went, in search of a geyser.
Except we couldn’t find it. In spite of having a map in hand, for some reason we couldn’t get our bearings at all and after a few false starts, I went to ask the silly question in the gift shop (no trouble finding those!)
“Where is the geyser, please?”
The answer was, through the trees, behind the huge new visitors’ centre, in the opposite direction from the one we’d been heading.
The next eruption was scheduled for 1.42pm and seeing as it was now around 12.30pm, we had a while to wait. We pottered about the visitors centre then, watching the people gradually gather around the cone and decided to go and join them, leaving my Hero to go off and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet on one of the trails.
There were boardwalks all over the area, where smaller geysers and little steam outlets were active. He soon returned with stories of boiling pools, bubbling water and salt deposits. Meanwhile, Mary and I had found a bench in a prime location and enjoyed a bit of people watching.
As Old Faithful built up pressure, a Park Ranger came along and gave a short talk about what was going on there, how the geyser had formed and how it works. She also gave an excellent explanation of how it maintains such regularity.
The benches were filling up and there were people all over the place, waiting. We could spy folks right over on the hillside opposite too. !.30pm and not much longer to wait.
At around 1.42pm, there was a small spout of water to begin with, soon followed by the main event.
Magnificent! Just like in the pictures and as I’d remembered it. The crowd fell silent except for the whirr and the click of cameras.
And in three or four minutes, it was all over.
The crowd dispersed, we returned to the car (found it first time of course!) and the whole show came to an end - or began again, just as it has done for centuries.
We continued our meander around the loop road, stopping when we spotted something of interest whilst keeping an eye on the time too. Our dinner plans were set in place for on the way back, belatedly celebrating Mary’s birthday and we didn’t want to be late.
There’s so much to see here, it’s impossible to do it all in one go. So, let’s see…steam outlets ✔
Hot, slimy mud pools ✔
More hot slimy mud pools ✔
Pools of boiling water, bubbling at the edges ✔
What appeared to be bottomless pits of beautiful blue water, quietly steaming ✔
Bubbling mud ✔
A muddy steam outlet which sometimes has bubbling mud in there too ✔
A bison quietly sitting by the side of the road whilst hundreds of cars drive slowly past, cameras hanging out of the window. ✔
A herd of deer (or are they elk?) in a meadow alongside the loop road. ✔
And just two of the line of fifty or so people watching them. ✔
But did we see a bear? Sadly not this time. This handsome chap was carved in wood outside the tourist office in Jackson.