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Friday, March 16, 2018

JUST WHEN YOU THINK YOU'VE SEEN EVERYTHING--THERE'S OLD FAITHFUL



Just when we think we’ve seen everything amazing, we leave Yellowstone Lake Hotel and head toward some of the most famous geysers in Yellowstone National Park on our way to the Old Faithful Inn.

What an education!  The park keeps revealing its wonders, and we are practically stupefied by what we see.  Yesterday’s introduction to the thermal activities in the park was merely a prologue.  Today is the real story.



It begins simply enough as steam rising to the sky emanates from the ground, but as we come closer, we see what surrounds these pools. 

The trees are bare, dead stalks, a skeletal reminder of what once was.  Around the bases are white rings known as “bobby socks.”  The acids in the water and land kill what is living, and what we see is all that is left.  It looks so incredibly desolate; it looks as if we’ve wandered into a wasteland, and in some ways we have.

The treeS, absorbing the acids in the water, die, but their bases turn white and are called Bobby Socks,
just like the ones girls used to wear.

When we leave the bus, we’re warned of the dangers around us although there is probably no need. It's pretty obvious.

The beautiful, colorful pools, steam rising prettily, belie the reality of boiling temperatures and the dangerously thin crust.  The colors of the earth are caused by microorganisms thriving in the heat. Strands of colorful bacteria are what we see.

Mudpots bubble away. I’m flabbergasted by this lone evergreen.  What gives it the ability to survive in this parched, acidic earth?


I’ve seen pictures, but nothing compares with seeing these up close and hearing some of the stories that accompany them.

Red Spouter was formed by the 1959 earthquake.  One day it did not exist, and the next day it did.  In the spring with a lot of water, it is a splashing, muddy bubbly pool, but as the water level drops, it becomes a fumarole, a steam vent.

Imagine coming to work on morning and seeing Red Spouter for the first time!
 Look at the colors in the Turquoise Pool.


The most beautiful of all the geysers in this part of the park is the Grand Prismatic Spring.  It is the largest hot spring coming in at a whopping 160°. Magma from an active volcano heats water that rises through fissures in the rocks.  Microorganisms contribute the color.  It is beautiful and treacherous.  And did you catch the words “active volcano”?

Difficult to believe that the Grand Prismatic Spring's magnificent colors
are caused by microorganisms in the water. 
It's all wonderful, beautiful, and extraordinary.  Almost beyond belief.
 You might be concerned by my oftentimes reminder of the danger of these areas.  Honestly, I was a little uncomfortable in many of these areas because, believe it or not, some of the boardwalks do not have railing; they’re just flat, a bit above the ground.  That is true on the entire path to and round the Grand Prismatic Spring. 

But uncomfortable or not, I was not going to miss this grand opportunity to see some totally outstanding sights.

It wasn’t over yet.  We headed for our next hotel, the National Landmark designated Old Faithful Inn, which opened in 1904 and is constructed out of local materials to recreate a forest inside.  To see it is to understand the outstanding tribute it pays to the environment surrounding it in Yellowstone Park.

I add that we met a couple from Canada who made their reservations here more than 15 months before.  If you want a room at this inn, plan far in advance.

Wonderful as this is, we were there to witness the eruption of the most famous geyser in YellowstoneOld Faithful.
We've all heard the name, but to see Old Faithful
up close and personal
is the experience of a lifetime.
Discovered in 1870, Old Faithful is so named because it erupts on a regular basis, anywhere between 60 and 110 minutes, and its eruptions are predicted on charts inside the inn.  Since Yellowstone became the world’s first national park in 1872, Old Faithful has erupted more than 1 million times. 

The geyser is incredibly beautiful to watch because it begins with bubbles and slowly but continuously increases its height and the force of the steam. Visitors sitting on benches around the perimeter of the area are treated to this breathtaking spectacle and sit in awe of Nature’s wonder.  Not to disappoint its audience, Old Faithful rises to 100-180 feet at each performance, averaging between 130 and 140 feet.  It’s quite a show.  When it reaches its height, it slowly slackens and lowers itself back into the earth.  Performance over.  Audience wide-eyed and slack-jawed.  WOW!

By the way, during an eruption, Old Faithful’s temperature at the vent has been measured at 204° and the steam above 350°.

Here we witness just a touch of Nature’s incredible power, and we are awed.
What more is there to say? 



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