4 Jul 2016: Independence Day, Old Faithful, 100th anniversary of the National Park system. We find ourselves at the convergence of Americana today. We started out going the wrong way but soon realized our error and reversed direction. Jeanne has always been an excellent navigator and today she is using the park map with all the features identified. It's easy to tell you'Re going the wrong way when the lake that is supposed to be on your left is on your right. Since it's unlikely someone moved the lake, you are going the wrong way.
First we reached the WesT Thumb Geyser Basin. This was a group of geysers connected by a series of boardwalks. It seemed a little too large a territory for Jeanne to travel so I made the rounds and returned with photos to show and explain. A couple were really impressive due to the beautiful turquoise or aquamarine color of the water. There was a geyser in Lake Yellowstone. You could tell because the dissolved rock in the water had solidified when it cooled and left a ring around the hot spot. Cool.
Boardwalks cover the area to prevent people from walking on the ground. Besides protecting the fragile ground, it protects the people too. In many places the crust is very thin and covers seething pools of hot (boiling) caustic or acidic water. Just last month, a visitor left the boardwalk somewhere in the park and fell through the crust into 190 degree water. After that, the acid did it's job, making recovery of the body impossible. There was no longer any body to recover. When here, pay attention to signs. Understand something about the forces at work. You are in a caldera.
We then traveled to Old Faithful in the Upper Geyser Basin. The geysers are all venting steam and at Old Faithful, visitors can sit on two rows of benches in an arc around the vent. There is an eruption every 45 to 12i minutes. The timing of each is dependant upon the one immediately before. I dropped Jeanne off in front of the benches and parked the car. When I arrived, an eruption had just concluded so we went into the cafeteria for some lunch. I had Bison meatloaf with mashed potatoes and Jeanne had a hot Turkey sandwicvh. The cafeteria made it very clear that the Bison came from a commercial ranch not connected with the Park, After lunch we returned to the seating area and waited for the next eruption. Steam rose from the vent in a fairly constant stream punctuated with isolated puffs. Each variation in the pattern captured the attention of the crowd. Then, after about one hour, water started spurting up. After about 20 minutes of sporadic water spurts the eruption began in earnest. Beautiful white plumes of water mixed with steam shot into the air. After about a minute and a half the eruption subsided, to be repeated again and again in the days, weeks, months, years and perhaps millenia to come. It serves as a reminder that we abide in a living planet and that our Heavenly Father formed this earth for our pleasure and enjoyment. Through His Son Jesus Christ, through whom all things were made, He endowed it with all manner of things we need to be happy and all as a gift, freely given, which demonstrates His love for us. Alleulia. O, praise Him.
We drove on, through the middle and lower basins, looking at the awsomely beautiful scenery. We saw Bison grazing in the meadows, ducks and geese. Jeanne pointed out a wolf next to a fallen tree in the distance. This is truly a beautiful, wild place.
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