Geysers, Friends, and Falls
Yellowstone National Park is home to some 10,000 thermal features, over 500 hundred of which are geysers. In fact, Yellowstone contains the majority of the world's geysers. I can only imagine what the first people to see this place must have thought when they saw all the steam vents, boiling pools of water, and towers of water shooting from holes in the ground.
On Friday, September 21, Doug and I headed for Old Faithful Geyser Basin, where we were to meet up with fellow bloggers, Betsy and George. I knew from reading Betsy's blog that she and George had interests similar to Doug's and mine. When we realized that we were both planning trips west over the same span of days, we looked for where our trips might overlap each other. That turned out to be Yellowstone National Park.
As we pulled into a parking space at Old Faithful, I received a text message from Betsy, saying that she and George were sitting among the crowd gathered to watch the next eruption of Old Faithful Geyser. So we went in search of them. Of course, the crowd were all facing toward the geyser, and Doug and I were walking along behind them. Still, I recognized Betsy as soon as I saw her, even from behind. Of course, it helped that she was wearing her camera vest.
Betsy was alone when we found her. George had responded to an alert from a Park Ranger that Beehive Geyser was preparing to erupt. Beehive doesn't erupt nearly as often or as predictably as Old Faithful, so it's a rare opportunity to be present when it goes. George had run down the boardwalk to be in front of Beehive for that eruption, hoping he'd still be able to get back in time for Old Faithful's eruption.
We took the seats that Betsy had saved for us on the bench in front of Old Faithful and proceded to get acquainted as we waited. Meanwhile, in the distance, we could see the eruption beginning at Beehive.
Before Beehive's eruption was over, that small geyser in the background was also erupting.
George joined us in time to see Old Faithful's eruption.
Old Faithful Geyser
Linda and Betsy enjoying a picnic lunch between Old Faithful eruptions.
(George took this photo with my camera.)
Old Faithful erupting again after our lunch.
After watching the second eruption of Old Faithful, the two couples parted ways. George and Betsy were off to hike to Mystic Falls. Doug and I decided to hike to Fairy Falls.
The hike to Fairy Falls was a 5.2 mile round trip, but the trail was easy. The first mile of it was along the back side of Midway Geyser Basin.
Blue steam from Grand Prismatic Spring in Midway Geyser Basin, seen from the Fairy Falls Trail
After the first mile, the trail turned and traveled 1.6 miles through a new-growth forest.
Evidence of the 1988 fires still remains and, no doubt, will for years to come.
Fairy Falls was beautiful, and we felt well rewarded for the hike, even knowing that we faced a hike of 2.6 miles back to the parking lot where we had left our vehicle.