I was not prepared for Old Faithful. Well, I guess I was prepared for Old Faithful the geyser, but I wasn’t prepared for the huge complex of buildings surrounding it, or for the massive amount of other geysers all in the same area. And everyone who comes to Yellowstone comes to Old Faithful, so the crowds were worse than anywhere else in the park. We ended up spending most of the day here, and I had planned to see other things, too. So we fell even further behind on our Yellowstone schedule.
We said farewell to Jackson with a final breakfast at the Bunnery before driving up to Yellowstone.
By the time we arrived at Yellowstone, we were ready for lunch. We decided to have lunch in the historic Old Faithful Inn, since I wanted to see the inside. We had to wait a little bit for a table, so I wandered around taking photos. All of the bus tours stop here, so it is usually pretty crowded.
Our lunch was better than I expected it would be. We headed outside, after stopping to check the next expected eruption time at the Front Desk. We had a few minutes to pass, so we walked around the geyser and tried to find a good photo-taking spot to watch our first-ever geyser.
Then we hiked up to an overlook and by the time we got up there, Old Faithful was geysering again. We came down and walked through the Upper Geyser Basin, looking at more geothermal wonders.
By the time we got to Grand Geyser, which doesn’t erupt as often as Old Faithful, there was a crowd around it. Mike and I thought that might mean it was about to erupt, so we debated whether to hang around or not. I tried asking a few of the watchers, but I managed to pick the ones whose first language was not English, so I wasn’t sure they understood what I was asking. Finally I saw a ranger, and asked her.
She said, yes, it was expected to erupt soon and we should definitely stick around because it was one of the tallest, largest geysers in the world. Most of the waiting crowds, she told us, had scheduled their entire trips around these geysers.
We were sold, so we took seats among the geyser fiends. It didn’t take too long for Grand Geyser to erupt, and when it did, I was glad we stayed. It was almost like a natural, water-based, fireworks display. Towards the end, I said to Mike, “I feel like we should clap.” Some of the surrounding people overheard, and we all started to applaud. “Yay, nature!” I said.
When it was over, the geyser fiends moved on to their next scheduled geyser, and Mike and I wandered further down the geothermal path. By accident, we managed to meet up with them at the Riverside Geyser just before it erupted, too. So without even trying, we saw three geysers erupt, one of them (Old Faithful) three different times. By this time, my 8 gb memory card was full, so I took photos of Riverside Geyser on my iPhone.
We turned back soon after that, so we didn’t go all the way down to Biscuit Basin. When we came back, Old Faithful was erupting again, and we were ready for dinner. We drove over to the Grant Village Lakehouse Restaurant. We had to wait a while for a table, since it seems like everyone had the same idea, but it was nice when we did sit down. The restaurants were much better in Jackson, of course, but we ate in a bunch of different places in the park, from the cafeteria-style, fast food, and nicer restaurants, and the food was decent enough throughout. I was worried ahead of time, especially being a vegetarian, but it worked out fine. And it’s good it did, since there are no other options.
Then we drove down to the shores of Lake Yellowstone, where we had reservations at a Lake Lodge cabin. We were pleasantly surprised by the cabin, too. It was one of the recently updated ones, with two queen beds, and a nicely redone bathroom. We liked it even though – or maybe because of – the fact it was a little small, and had no tv, internet, or telephone. There were plenty of other little cabins around, and even one night a raucous party camping group, but it still felt like the middle of the woods.