Climbing over the ridge gave us sight as the tour bus glided down into the valley below. Walter, our tour guide, explained what this area was centuries ago, a volcano. Lush green forests with cotton ball clouds as caps, headlined what was Yellowstone calderra today. Home to a multi-tude of animal species and over 2 million acres of space for them to roam freely protected from the world. This is the story of how I discovered Yellowstone National Park.
I just wanted to cross Old Faithful off my bucket list nothing much to see but trees and lakes otherwise. Having grown up in Canada, we’d spent our lives living next door to the Rocky Mountains, easily accessible and one of the most spectacular places on earth. I figured that Yellowstone would not compare. Never having been there, we took a tour, having just a day to explore the expansive park.
It took over an hour to make it to the east gate from our base in Cody, Walter took our picture at the iconic sign then we began our drive in. I noticed patches of half burnt trees along the sloping hills with regrowth overtaking the forest floor and asked Walter if there had been a fire recently. He relayed that was from the fires in ‘88 that had almost devastated the Park. Up on a ridge overlooking Yellowstone Lake, he reminds us of how two-thirds of the park was nearly lost that year.
Making our way to Old Faithful we stopped for sights of interest, bubbling geyers from the heated ground. A herd of bison threatened to hold us up crossing the Fishing Bridge. Word from the Rangers’ station is that a grizzly was chowing on his kill from the night before. Packing telephoto lens and camping chairs the tourists lined the roadway for a glimpse.
Just as we had arrived up at Old Faithful, she had already spilled her beans and it was going to be another hour and a half before her next performance. I don’t really care as the 100 yr old hotel next to it has piqued my interest more so. Before stands before me the grandest country cabin I have ever seen, the Old Faithful Inn. Walking inside you are met by a massive stone fireplace 4 stories high looking like it was made by a giant. Contructed entirely of the parks signature lodgepole pine, the view to the ceiling from the lobby is jaw-dropping. When Old Faithful does blow, I’m bored, maybe because it was a windy day, maybe I’m still lost in the Inn.
As we leave theI mentally cross Old Faithful off my list…staying at the Old Faithful Inn takes its place.