Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Old Faithful Day

Yesterday was such an exciting day! We decided to head straight over to Old Faithful once we entered the park. Apparently we weren't the only ones with that plan since we drove around the parking lots looking for a space in the crowds.

We were only about 20 minutes from the next predicted eruption, so we found a spot and sat down to wait. The photo above is how Old Faithful looks between eruptions. Some steam rises from the hole, more at some times and less at others.

Always ready, our filmmakers were poised with cameras awaiting the perfect shot. It could happen any moment.

The rangers claim their predictions to be accurate within 10 minutes either way. It's actually pretty fascinating. The people around us were hilarious, however. They complained about how long they'd been waiting...45 minutes, can you imagine waiting that long to see such a natural wonder?

For this particular eruption, Old Faithful provided a few little teaser spouts before actually turning on the charm full-force. Our fellow geyser gazers moaned and lamented that it had better be more than that.

It was.

We liked it so much we decided to hang around for the next eruption, predicted to be about 90 minutes later. We walked back to the car, got our picnic lunch, and ate while waiting for Old Faithful's next performance.

During that time, a park ranger gave an informational talk about Old Faithful and how it works. At the end, he stated that the next eruption would take place in about 30 minutes. A lady behind us turned to her companions and asked, "What do you think? Should we wait? Is it worth it?" Amazing.

This time, Old Faithful began its powerful spout all at once without its initial little spurts. In fact, I read that the best indicator of an imminent eruption at Old Faithful is the crowd in the stands. If the benches are full, it's about to happen. If they're empty, you just missed it.

The eruptions lasted about 4 minutes each, and we were not disappointed.

We enjoyed walking around the Lower Geyser Basin for the remainder of the afternoon. There are over 150 geysers in that one square mile, so there are lots of trails to explore.

The geyser basins have a desolate feel with their barren terrrain. Vegetation is scalded by the heat of the geyser blasts. The acidic nature of the surroundings doesn't provide a healthy growth environment. The sulfur smell and steam rising from pits gave the early settlers the impression of Hell bubbling forth on the earth, and I have to agree. The stark contrast between these areas and the green mountains surrounding them is staggering.

And then you happen upon something like Morning Glory Pool. Its rainbow of colors stands out among the gray of its surroundings. The colors are from the microscopic bacteria living in the extremely hot water. These bacteria thrive in environments which cannot support life for humans or most plants and animals.

Our Creator God is amazing. What a delightful nature He must have to include such wondrous things in this world He made for us. What a Mighty God we serve.

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