Roadtrip 2017 - Part 3 / by William Bryan

Old Faithful

We did hardly any research before leaving on the trip. We knew where we were starting (Santa Cruz) and where and when we needed to end up (Boston, July), but that was about it. We didn’t know anything about what hidden gems each National Park holds or even which parks we’d be visiting. The trip really only worked because each park has a helpful pamphlet that lists its top sites. Without it we would’ve driven in circles and seen hardly anything.

And that idea, stumbling into amazing attractions, couldn’t be more true than in Yellowstone. The park is massive and to see everything you’d need at least a week (which I don’t recommend). So the park’s pamphlet became our savior. We spent two days driving from geyser to geyser and hot spring to hot spring before finally making it to Old Faithful.

Old Faithful is a geyser that, true to its name, is the largest and most consistent stream of boiling water in Yellowstone. It blasts water up to 165 feet every 60 to 110 minutes, like clockwork. People come from far and wide to see this thing, and they look up it’s predicted eruption time before they come (rangers can predict its eruption to within 10 minutes, usually).

These are all factoids that every Yellowstone visitor knows. Except us.

We drove into the parking lot, pulled into the last space available, meandered over to the geyser’s viewing stands (yes, like a stadium) and squeezed between some of the other thousands of people. After about five minutes and no spectacular show we started to wonder what all the fuss was about.

"Stadium" seating

"Stadium" seating

What kind of world-famous geyser doesn’t shoot any water?

After 15 minutes of waiting Camille was ready to leave but I was willing to give it five more minutes. Not a minute later the hole in the ground started to bubble and the hole crowd cheered. Yes, cheered. Like a football game. After a few minutes of gurgling on the surface the real show began.

Old Faithful errupting right on time.

Old Faithful errupting right on time.

The next morning we woke up early to drive to our next stop, Badlands. On our way out of Yellowstone we were stopped by white-butted deer and porcupines who weren't expecting any tourists so early.