Yellowstone, Episode Two, in which Your Faithful Blogger and her Equally Faithful Spouse view a Really Great Geyser!

July 1, 2008 at 12:52 pm (Travel, Yellowstone)

It was obvious that we would have to follow up the incredible Ursine Encounter with an adventure at least equally exciting. So where else could we go except to Old Faithful?

Ergo, we followed the signs to the eponymous geothermal phenomenon, and the first thing we encountered was…a mass of vehicles. Hundreds of them: everything from compact cars to RV’s the size of hotels. There was lots of parking, but nothing close in, so we parked – somewhere; I’m not sure where! – and walked over to the site, where we encountered… a mass of people. Hundreds of them. From all over the U.S., all over the world, really. A Tower of Babel patiently awaiting the Eruption.

As it turned out, we had to wait about twenty minutes for the main attraction. Old Faithful would get up a goodly head of steam, only to subside a moment later. (Another first: being teased by a geyser!)

Meanwhile, it was amusing to listen to the conversations around us. Here’s one commentary that demonstrated an interesting attitude toward causality:

“Every time you hit the ‘record’ button, that thing calms down again. Next time, say you’re going to hit the button, but don’t actually do it.

Okay…

Of course, there were lots of children. This did my heart good. Let’s get those kids away from their video games and text messaging devices and into the open air – even if that air smells faintly sulphurous! Of course, on occasions like this one, children are invariably the source of lively and provocative questions. To wit:

“Mom, if you lie down on top of that thing, will your head burn up?”

There were also some well-informed spectators in the crowd. A mother busily supervising a large brood still found time to provide a lively commentary on the what and why of Old Faithful. She then asked me if I had ever before been to Yellowstone. I lowered my lashes demurely and replied, “No – this is my first geyser.”

And then, suddenly – at least, it seemed sudden:

[The average height of an eruption is 130 feet.]

So, was it faintly corny to be standing amid a mass of humanity gazing out at Old Faithful? Yes. Was it at the same time thrilling and exhilarating? Absolutely! This was something I had been hearing about since I was a kid – and seeing pictures of, and even reading parodies of. But standing there, at that moment, I felt downright patriotic: we really know how to put on a geothermal spectacular, right here in the U.S. of A.!

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