You know when you go to certain places, there are sights or monuments that seem to be a pre-requisite visit. For New York it might be the Empire State Building, for London you’ve got Big Ben, and Paris has the Eiffel Tower. For Yellowstone, this would be Old Faithful. We weren’t hugely excited to see it, but felt it would be stupid not to go whilst we’re here.
This is when you see the different side to Yellowstone. On the one hand, it is a wildlife-filled national park, on the other, it is a human-filled theme park.
There are large coaches, filled with people from all over the world, taking up the roads. There are people with selfie-sticks trying to get that little bit closer to a bison. And there are arenas to watch geysers erupting.
The huge car park outside the Old Faithful area is packed with people, and there’s a constant stream of traffic coming and going. There’s a Visitor Centre, shops and restaurants filling the area. It’s like a mall. By an erupting geyser.
A sign tells us when the next eruption will take place, so we head over to the ‘seating area’, and wait. The benches fill with people, and anticipation grows. Cameras, phones and tablets are all poised, ready for the show.
Old Faithful starts to bubble more ferociously, and sends the odd bit of water shooting up. Every time this happens, there is a big ‘ooohhh’ from the crowd. It’s teasing us, luring us into thinking the big eruption is about to happen. But no, this goes on for about 20 minutes or so. The cameras, phones and tablets are drooping.
Finally, the real thing begins, and it is an amazing spectacle. If slightly ruined by the woman telling her grandchildren to ‘look at it’, every 5 seconds or so for the duration… I had thought the whole point of us sitting here was to ‘look at it’… However, a guy in front of me, with his back to the geyser, is getting his wife to film him with Old Faithful in action in the background. Not actually watching it of course.
When the show is over, people disperse fairly quickly, but we wander around the area looking at all the other geysers. They are really beautiful, all with different shapes and colours.
Some of them barely move, except for the odd bubble bursting its way to the surface.
Others seem to be in a constant state of eruption.
We decide we may as well do the ‘busiest’ things together, and go to the waterfall at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
It’s so mesmerising to watch, and you could stand for hours staring across at the water flowing endlessly over the cliff. You could, if you weren’t blocking peoples photo ops, which I was, so we move on.
There’s so much to love about Yellowstone, and it brings people from all over the world to come and marvel and its wonders, including us. However, I think I need a break from the theme park side, and will instead go in search of the wildlife park side.