Yellowstone National Park – Part Two: Old Faithful

Our time in Yellowstone National Park would not be complete without considerable time focused on the thermal features of the park. The Yellowstone region has more than 10,000 geothermal features, including 300 geysers. The most notable geyser is, of course, Old Faithful. Thousands flock to the stadium-like area around the world’s most famous geyser and about every 75-90 minutes she erupts without fail. Even though it wasn’t the first time for either of us, we had to go and pay our respects.

The challenge of properly seeing Old Faithful is navigating the crowds. As mentioned in our last post, the crush of people, combined with road construction, makes a trip to Old Faithful a trying experience in the middle of the day. We opted for a very early morning visit and enjoyed every minute.

Old Faithful is just one of many geysers, springs, and other thermal features that populate the Upper Geyser Basin. We walked the boardwalks behind Old Faithful amidst the morning fog and were treated to incredible perspectives on the varied features.

The coolest thing we saw was at the end of our walk through the basin. We came upon Riverside Geyser where a nice man named Jim told us that the geyser was about to erupt. There were only five of us standing in the viewing area when, just as Jim (a veteran geyser expert) said, the geyser blew. Riverside Geyser currently erupts about every two hours, but that varies. When it erupts, it goes for an average of 22 minutes.

Hot water spewed out the top of the rock formation that sits aside the Firehole River. Massive amounts of steam billowed towards the sky, and then we were sprinkled with a mist that was cool and refreshing. It almost didn’t seem real. Steve got a good video to show you what we saw. Wow…just wow!

Our viewing of Old Faithful’s eruption about 30 minutes later was a little anti-climactic, to say the least. Still, we enjoyed the ritual with Mia and Bob by our side.

As you can imagine, we took A LOT of photos on this excursion. Below are a few more just for fun…

An early morning excursion like this must be followed by some retail therapy in one of the park’s many gift shops, followed by lunch along another peaceful stream.

There’s much more to report from Yellowstone. Stay tuned!

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