Location: Yellowstone NP, Wyoming
We arrived at Old Faithful geyser basin before sunrise (~6:00 am) and started perusing the boardwalk for good shooting angles. We were the only two people visible in the entire area. It was an erie feeling, but a great place to await the sunrise.
Being so near the lodge, I’m sure there were hundreds of people nearby, but they were still curled up in bed.
We were still the only two people around when we saw Old Faithful erupt for the first time. It was dark and quiet outside, and the calm atmosphere made the sound of the eruption more distinctive. Within a couple minutes time, the subtle gurgling and splashing built up into a powerful, gushing fountain of water and steam, then faded back into the darkness and silence. This one seemed like a minor eruption, and we later learned that the power of the eruption varies throughout the day.
The new visitor center is located right next to the geyser basin, but it would not open for a couple hours. A few people began to gather before the next eruption. It is often interesting to talk to people at major attractions such as this, and when the rain started, we took shelter under the roof of the visitor center with an old couple from Vermont who were driving across the country, and a middle-aged couple from California who slept in the parking lot so they could watch Old Faithful erupt, then immediately drive back home to California. It was interesting to hear their stories. Maybe they will remember the two camera geeks from Ohio who were walking around with too much gear strapped to themselves.
After watching a couple eruptions we toured the rest of the basin via the boardwalks.
While hiking a trail trail toward Lookout Point, we came across Solitary Geyser. It turned out to be one of the neatest sights in the area. It would erupt every 5-7 minutes as a large pocket of air/gas belching out of the pool. It was much more secluded here since many of the tourists weren’t up for doing for an actual hike. We hung out here for a while, taking pictures and talking to the occasional fellow tourists who would pass by.
After completing the upper loop to Lookout Point and heading toward the car, we stopped to watch Old Faithful erupt again. Since it was now later in the afternoon, there were hundreds of people watching. This made our early-morning private showing seem much more memorable. This eruption, however, was noticeably more powerful than the eruptions we saw up close earlier in the morning.
After checking into our room at Grant Village, we drove over to West Thumb Geyser Basin and walked the boardwalks. Even though this a very touristy spot, it was still a fun place to spend some time before dinner.