In July 2009 I took an 8000 km road trip with my wife, two young children, and my mother- and father-in-law. Yes. That sounds a little crazy - but in order to keep my sanity (and test theirs) - I took along 10 cameras and 40 rolls of film. We passed through 10 American states and 3 Canadian provinces, and only 1 massive and fascinating carved mountain.
We arrived at one of the Old Faithful parking lots at about 10:30 in the morning, and it was packed. There was a lot of construction going on and we couldn’t find our way to the geyser at first. After a few minutes we found the right direction and noticed an unending line of people standing and waiting – two or three deep – for a view of this predictable geyser. I asked a fellow tourist if he knew when it was predicted to erupt; “apparently, any minute” was his response. We pulled up a few square feet of board walk and got our cameras ready; the kids with their Lomolitos, my lovely wife with the trusty point-and-shoot digital, and me with my bag of analogue-insanity.
The geyser was on schedule and fired its load of steamy ammo into the air – the sound was an original combination of roaring steam, crashing water, and a chorus of imitation shutter sound-bytes from a thousand digital cameras nearly drowning out the Oooohs and Aaaahs of the impressed onlookers.
Old Faithful is not the highest, loudest, wettest, most regular, most frequent, or most powerful geyser in the park, but it is the most popular. The are around this geyser is one of the most developed in Yellowstone National Park: restaurants, lodges, gift shops, a visitor centre, more gift shops…
I like to buy consumable souvenirs when I travel, so we grabbed a six-pack of Old Faithful Pale Ale to celebrate our arrival on the other side of the state at our hotel tonight.