One of the reasons we decided to travel across the northern US was to visit Yellowstone National Park, which is the world’s oldest national park (1872) and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It contains more than two million acres of lakes, waterfalls, wildlife and gorgeous mountain scenery, as well as over 10,000 hydrothermal features such as hot water basins, steam and bubbling mud, and more than half of the world’s geysers (200 to 250). Most of the park is in Wyoming.
We reached the park in a few hours and stopped to take these photos.
As we headed across Yellowstone Park to our campground just beyond the western boundary, we gained elevation gradually until we were above the snow line. Apparently they had four times the normal snowfall this winter so there is still a lot of it to melt. But the roads were bare and dry.
So much of the forest in Yellowstone was destroyed in the widespread fires of 1988 and we saw lots of dead, burned tree trunks but also some regeneration of the forest.
As we passed into the ancient volcanic crater that makes up the majority of the park, we started to see plumes of steam rising out of the ground. Very weird! There are also tons of bison in the park and they have right of way on the highway.
We soon got tired of seeing the lumbering beasts on the pavement. Boy can they hold up traffic, as each vehicle passing them has to take a photo or two.
We got to our campground in the town of West Yellowstone, Montana by mid afternoon without too many holdups for bison on the highway. After settling into our site for a three night stay at (very!) Rustic Wagon RV park, we drove a mile or so across the village to the KOA park where Jay and Carol were staying. (We tried to get a spot there but the campground was full.) We each enjoyed one of Jay’s beers (I believe it was called Buffalo Sweat but was actually not bad) and met their friends Cam and Susan who also were from Maryland and staying in a nearby motel.
Having read that it was best to see the Old Faithful geyser in the early morning or evening, to avoid the crowds, John and I headed into the park about 4:30 a drove about 40 minutes to the site.
We had just missed an eruption so filled in an hour or so exploring the boardwalks in the vicinity. We saw some very unusual features.
Then, along with several hundred other tourists, we took a seat on the viewing benches and waited for Old Faithful to erupt at 7:11 pm. She finally made her entrance about 7:25 and steamed for perhaps three minutes.