Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Vacation 2013~Day Three/Yellowstone National Park Old Faithful

Yellowstone National Park
  • Did you know there are about 500 geysers and nearly 10,000 thermal features in Yellowstone National Park?
  • Did you know Yellowstone National Park is home of the majority of the world's known geysers?
  • Did you know much of Yellowstone resides inside an ancient exploded crater of a volcano?  The last major eruption occurred about 600,000 years ago.  In some places 2-5 miles below the surface molten rock resides. 
  • Did you know Old Faithful geyser is perhaps the park's best known geyser and most visited? They have so many just as equally impressive along the roads.

We were told by a guy who was in charge of a bus of tourist back by the elk that we would only see the bison this time of year, past the beginning part of our journey or up near the North Entrance due to it is mating season.  If it was any other time of the year we would have see the bison wandering everywhere.  We were a little disappointed because we missed an opportunity to stop and take a picture of a couple of bison.  I thought for sure we missed our opportunity until we turned into the Upper Geyser Basin.

This guy was walking right next to our SUV, slowly walking as if he owned the place.  (ha ha ha, He actually does.)  People are to suppose to keep 25 yards distance between them and bison when in the park.  I guess you cannot help it if he crosses the road.  We parked our SUV in the parking lot and headed towards the visitor center, only to find the first building was really a store.  Three buildings later we found the visitor center just outside the geyser basin.  A sign told us the time the next eruption of Old Faithful would be plus or minus 10 minutes.

Old Faithful erupts every 35 to 120 minutes for 1.5 to 5 minutes. Its height ranges from 90-184 feet.
Old Faithful is not the biggest geyser and not the predictable geyser in Yellowstone, but it is the biggest regular geyser. Through the years, it has been studied intensely and scientists can predict its eruptions fairly accurately. This makes Old Faithful one of the easiest geysers to see erupting. The day we went they had it estimated eruption every 90 minutes give or take 10 minutes.  They were exactly on the nose for 90 minutes for our viewing.
 Old Faithful is located in the Upper Geyser Basin. The Upper Basin covers only about one square mile and is home to many geysers and some very pretty hot springs. The park has many boardwalks the visitors are asked to stay on for our own safety and to protect the features in the basin. While we waited for Old Faithful to erupt, Todd and I walked to see some of the other geysers.  The kids wanted to wait and try to save us a seat on the benches around Old Faithful.

 Not all geyser basins in the park look alike.  We were in hopes to see Mammoth Hot Springs.  It includes a large where hot water flows and then cools leaving a calcium carbonate on the hill giving it much color.  It is located near the north entrance and we came in at the west entrance.  It was close to 2 hours away from the Upper Geyser Basin and we did not want to drive in the park at night, so we knew we would not be able to make it.
 This is one of many geysers near Old Faithful.  We were lucky to be able to see this one go off since it is one of the non-predictable geysers.

It started to get closer to the time the scientist predicting Old Faithful so we turned around and head back to the kids.  We came across two bison.  One was rolling in the dirt.
 He slowly made his way towards us.  At one point he turned his head towards us and started to take a few steps our way.  This guy!  He is HUGE!! We stopped when the first one crossed our path, but this one, he was much slower and he started to head our way, but for some reason he turned and followed the other to go closer to Old Faithful.  He was a little less than 20 yards away from me.  I did not have to zoom in much at all for this picture.  He was one big fella'!
 We made it back to the kids, but there was no way we could get in to where they were seated, so I handed my camera to Joshua and he took my pictures for me.  Everyone "oohed and awed" when Old Faithful started to erupt.

We hit the gift store on our way out.  One of the things I saw the first time but forgot on our way out was a kitchen towel with "I'm your huckleberry" written on it with a little bear.  When I saw it I pointed it out to Todd.  It is a saying that makes me laugh when Todd says it.  It is from Tombstone he mimics.  It cracks me up every time with his accent and all.  I wish I bought it.

We once again got into the car and drove off towards our next destination.  The landscape is so beautiful in my opinion.

 And so different from one another.
 Here we came across a hot spot where tourist could pull over and see.  There are so many pull over attractions there that we drove past, just to hit the two main areas we wanted for the day.

The second main attraction on our list in Yellowstone National Park we wanted to see was the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park.


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