It felt good to sleep late and roll out of bed to a breakfast grilled by Tom. His menu was hashbrowns and eggs over-easy on a castiron griddle over the Biolite camp stove. We cheated and used the generator (allowed from 8:00 – 10:00 in the campground) to make coffee . . . and charge cell phones, camera, iPADS, and Kindle.
Our target for the day was the Old Faithful area and the Upper Geyser Basin. Leaving Canyon area we drove straight across the park to Norris, down to Madison, and then on down to Old Faithful. On the Sirius radio I found a channel called Beautiful Music – mostly instrumental – and it set the tone for our beautiful drive.
Along the way we followed the Firehole River and took a little side trip to the old swimming hole that we went to as kids. Tom went with his parents, I went with mine, and we took Micah and Caleb when they were young. Oh, and I might have gone on a few illicit, late night, social visits with fellow employees back in the 70's! It is a well-known hotpot where the water is bath-temperature-warm for nice soaking in all kinds of weather. The steps were blocked to climb down to the river with a sign that said extreme high water levels had caused dangerous currents. Come back in a few weeks!
The first order of business at the Old Faithful area was to find out what time she would be venting -- 12:20. With over an hour to kill we walked around inside the Old Faithful Lodge and bought sandwiches to take outside for the show. At the stadium seating around the fountain we got front-row seats on the boardwalk, and Old Faithful did her thing right on time!
Next we turned our attention to the above-ground board-walk as it roved ‘round the Upper Geyser Basin with of hot pools, geysers, and hot springs. Over 3 hours (temps in the 60’s) we saw all kinds of thermal water display – spraying, steaming, sputtering, spewing, bubbling, boiling, hissing, and total discharge.
The Beehive geyser gave a tremendous, unexpected, display, and the boardwalk was so close that we could hear and feel the power of the outburst. This geyser is not on a schedule and is rarely enjoyed by tourists. We were lucky to be on the boardwalk just as it began to erupt.
On the boardwalk we had many views of the man-made wonder of the Old Faithful Inn. As we approached at the completion of our walk, we had to tip-toe past a buffalo that was enjoying his dust wallow just a dozen yards off our boardwalk! He was looking rather sleepy and bored.
When we finally reached the Inn we walked into the lobby and saw the hallway that led to the room where we stayed in 1988 with the kids –- when we had to stay an extra night because a freak snow storm closed the roadway! The Inn is the largest log structure in the world - a giant log cabin, of sorts - and features an 85-foot tall lobby with a huge rough-stone fireplace.
By 5:30 we were back at the camper where we loaded up our shower duds for the free token showers that came with the campsite. Love all that spraying water!
The meal-plan for the night was thin-cut rib-eye steaks, hash-brown potatoes and fresh cherries. As I rested and read in the Silvermine, Tom stole off again for the Ranger show in the amphitheater! Stay tuned for day 3 in Yellowstone – day 8 of the Vapor Trail.
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown