We arrived at Old Faithful just moments after it had faithfully erupted. The parking lots were overloaded but soon the thousands of witnesses of this faithfully occurring natural event began emptying out to drive onto the next natural wonder here in Yellowstone National Park. We soon found a nice parking spot convenient to the viewing area of Old Faithful.
This is our first trip to Yellowstone. We are RVers and spend a fair amount of time on the road. On this trip I have been on the road for more than twenty days since leaving Milwaukee, WI and have driven close to five-thousand miles. However, none of those miles, trips, or sights we have seen up to now have prepared us for Yellowstone. The superlatives to describe this National Park have yet to be invented.
There is nothing that defines Yellowstone National Park more than Old Faithful. This geyser which has erupted more than a million times on schedule since the opening the park in 1872 has become a national icon. I have walked on the Great Wall of China and stood under the Eiffel tower staring up. I have seen the Northern lights and Niagara Falls but those events were dwarfed by the excitement I now felt being at Old Faithful.
We were fortunate to have ninety minutes or so before the next eruption which allowed us time to explore the Upper Geyser Basin area. This is the largest concentration of geysers in the world. There are hundreds of geysers at this location and the park has provided a boardwalk for visitors to easily travel through this wonderland. The path for The Continental Divide, which starts in Arizona and ends in Glacier National Park, can also be found in this area. We were tempted to hike for a while when we saw the sign leading up the side of the crater basin; however, we had used up our ninety minutes and returned to the viewing area to see the faithful eruption of Old Faithful.
Scientists tell us that the eruptions are caused by heated snow melt 10,000 feet below the Earth’s surface which creates pressure and the eruption is the venting of that pressure. However, I think there is something else aside from that scientific explanation which attracts the millions of viewers to this place. This geyser is a symbol of America. Old Faithful is powerful but beautiful; it is enduring having survived numerous earth quakes but most of all it is faithful. Old Faithful symbolizes the same traits found in the American spirit. Every ninety minutes, give or take ten, Old Faithful gives off a grand show. For up to four and half minutes, 85,000 gallons of water are shot up to 180 feet in the air. We may have more spectacular natural wonders but none so iconic as Old Faithful.
We were fortunate to get front row seats among many children. Each gurgle from the ground before the eruption caused excitement from the gathered children. When the eruption occurred they all began to scream and shout. The adults applauded. A few of us huddled to get pictures and videos and some just sat in awe. However, the children were the most in awe. After their initial screams many just kept pointing to make sure that none of us old guys missed what was happening.
My suggestion when viewing this natural wonder is to plant yourself among a bunch of kids and feed off of their excitement. They are our future and Old Faithful is there to reassure us of that future.