Yelllowstone is one of the most popular national parks in the United States. It is also one of the biggest national parks in size. Even as we joined a parade of cars driving through challenging road repairs from the Tetons, we knew that once we all entered the park we would disperse to the varied things to see. We went to the most famous - Old Faithful. Even though we were still in the motorhome towing the jeep, the parking lot was so spacious there was room for us all. The area around Old Faithful looks like the location of an outdoor rock concert. Rows of seats ringed the huge eruption site and signs were posted with the time of the next anticipated eruption. When we finally did see it rise into the sky at the appointed time, it was not the biggest or most dramatic geyser we saw today, but you had to be impressed by its predictability. Since the early 1900's this geyser has been sending scalding water into the sky even ninety minutes. Many of the other geysers here have changed over time; small earthquakes have shifted the rocks around and the water flow has varied with the rain. But Old Faithful has more than lived up to its name. If an earthquake ever did come along that would shut off this geyser, there would be a giant empty parking lot with lots of empty seats around a little hill of mineral deposits.
But there is much more to see at the Old Faithful site than that particular geyser. It is part of geyser hill, a lengthy boardwalk path that passes many other geysers. Some erupt intermittently; others haven't erupted for years but could at any time. A park worker circulated among the six geysers that erupt more or less regularly and posted predicted eruption times. These geysers also had benches for tourists who wanted to wait for this promised event. We felt fortunate to see three of the six. The one we waited longest for was across the river on the edge. It was worth the wait. The mix of the cold, fresh river water and the superheated geyser was a dramatic show. The Grotto Geyser was also unique. Scientists suspect that at one time, trees had fallen around the geyser hole and were covered with cinter. Today this has resulted in a tall mineral formation around the hole where the water breaks free from the earth. Most of the other geysers bubbled quietly and had a variety of hues and shapes depending on the temperature of the water. It is hard to comprehend that each of these geysers has a different plumbing system and most of them are not affected by what is happening to its neighbor. The cooler ones are also surrounded by various colors of algae depending on the surface of the water. Yellowstone has the largest collection of geysers in the world. Although we spent most of the day seeing the ones around Old Faithful, we have hardly begun to see them all.