September 10, 2002 - Tuesday
Today is our day to see the Old Faithful Geyser area. We arrived at the Visitors' Center about 30 minutes ahead of the next scheduled eruption, providing just enough time to view the auditorium film and learn a little about the scale and import of this area. Of the world's 600 known geysers, 400 are here in Yellowstone. It think we saw many of them today. The other prominent geyser sites in the world include New Zealand, Iceland, and Russia.
We walked several miles today, up to Observation Point, above Old Faithful, and back around the loop wooden walkways that encircle it. Each area has its distinct collection of pools, mats, pots, geysers -- large and small.
Next we walked up to Morning Glory Pool -- a multicolored and extraordinarily deep basin. We waited for the Grant Geyser at Turban Geyser to blow, which it ultimately did as we were walking back and were able to clearly see it even half a mile away.
The foot paths are perfectly laid out to unconspicuously present the best of each area, while also giving you a sense that you are the only people walking this strange untouched terrain.
Occasionally, we would pass by an elk buck and his does and a mob of people would have gathered to shoot photos of the tiny herd. Later in the day, more substantive herds of bison, deer, and elk were grazing on the overpass loop to the entrance of Old Faithful. People were all over themselves and their card trying to take photos.
One car ahead of us was trying to get back on the highway, but was stuck at the on ramp stop sign while a small herd of bison, mother and child included, cautiously made their way across three lanes to the other side of the highway.
It's amazing how patient humans can be when they understand they are part of the preservation process. These are gigantic animals that, if they turned, could make a major impact on these small metal cans we occupy on the roadways. As we drove back in the evening, there were again several instances of deer and elk feeding very close to the edge of the roadway.
At day's end, we drove up to Black Sand Basin, the Biscuit Bridge and finally Fountain Paint Pots with its sultry mud geysers and yet another Giant Geyser. Our legs finally begged for rest. After much hunting, we ate at the last available table in the last open grill of the Old Faithful area.
The workers in the employ of the Park services have been recruited from all over the world, representing every age group. They have name tags which include the identify of their home country, and it is a veritable United Nations in its coverage. So far, I've not yet seen representatives from Africa or Asia, though. Service has been marvelous, courteous and just plain happy. It would be difficult to be unhappy in this magnificent place.
We are very tired each night. We only have enough energy to simply crash and sleep upon our return to the hotel.
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