July 5th ~ Yellowstone National Park
The move up from the Teton’s to Yellowstone was uneventful, except that the park we wanted to stay in (Madison Junction) was already filled before 9:00 so we moved on to Norris Campground at Norris Geyser Basin. For $10 a night with a senior pass, we got no hook-ups, but a wonderful view along the river’s edge.
Our first priority was to drive back south for about 30 miles to visit both the Old Faithful Lodge and watch Old Faithful blow, of course right on schedule, which is every 44 to 125 minutes. The park service does an incredible job of predicting and posting the next eruption time.
The water can shoot from 106 to 185 feet into the air, but the average is 145 feet. Over 1,000,000 eruptions have been recorded.
Here is a short 27 second video showing the start of Old Faithful when she goes off:
Another of my favorite places in Yellowstone is along the Firehole River. Take the Firehole Lake Drive which takes you to both the Great Fountain Geyser and White Dome Geyser.
There are several colorful and interesting places to stop and take photos right next to the road. Little or no walking is required to fully enjoy these stops if you have someone with you who is mobility challenged.
We missed seeing the Great Fountain eruption on this trip, but remember how special it was from our last time here. It only shows its might every 9 to 15 hours and we did not wait around. Even when it is silent, the wet deck is impressive with sunlight reflecting in the water.
Much more frequent eruptions (every 15 minutes to 3 hours) can be seen at White Dome which is remarkable for its 15 foot dome. Our timing was impeccable here as within a few minutes of our arrival, she put on a display.
Near the end of the loop drive there is one more place to stop where you can take a short walk along the boardwalk.
When we returned to our campsite this evening, we were stopped at the entrance. Three park rangers were flagging us down. The lights on their cruisers going. As the ranger approached our vehicle with a somber face, we feared something major had happened.
Tim was thinking a bear attack, someone had been murdered or a bad accident.
Me – I was oblivious…
He started the conversation out, ” I hate to tell you…”
Tim held his breath.
The ranger continued. “…there has been a water main break. There is no water to the campground and the public bathrooms are closed. We have trucked fresh water in, and a porta-pot has been installed in each loop, but we are closing the park after tonight except for those who have prepaid for a longer stay.”
Well, fortunately for us, we had prepaid for three nights. With our solar panels, we are completely self contained and can survive comfortably for several days. People, especially those who were in tents, which were by far the majority at Norris, were leaving in droves. What that meant was we had a fantastic location in the middle of one of the premier National Parks, almost exclusively to ourselves for three nights!
These pictures were actually shot our final morning there, but wanted to show the setting to give you an idea of just how “rough” we have it 🙂 The river was right across the road from us and down a very short path.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for the National Park Service. They have a sometimes tedious job of answering the SAME questions over and over again, yet by far the majority of them continue to smile, remain calm, and give a somewhat intelligent answer. My hat is off to those very dedicated employees and volunteers who somehow manage to keep (most) of us tourists in line, directed to the sites we came here to see, educated about the hikes we most desire and more importantly – keep us SAFE which included a brief description on how and when to use bear spray.