A couple of years ago, serendipitous timing led to my wife and I witnessing the only movement of the World’s Largest Rocking Chair. The timing of our trip through Yellowstone National Park was almost as fortunate. Granted, the star attraction gushes every hour or two, so it’s not exactly a once-in-a-lifetime event.

We got to Old Faithful later than we had hoped. The main parking area looked full, so we ended up near the post office. I noticed a significant volume of people all headed in the same direction, which made me assume that a geyser blast must be imminent. My wife stopped to check a you-are-here sign and suggested that it might be easier to walk around the left side of the construction site instead of following the crowd to the right.

large crowd awaits Old Faithful Frank Murphy at Old Faithful: July 6, 2010 The path less traveled led us directly toward Old Faithful as steam was rising from it. We found a place to sit on the left end of the recycled-plastic boardwalk, with a clear view. As I looked to my right, I saw a lot of people who had been waiting for the eruption. I’m pretty sure I’ve been to high school football games with smaller crowds. Old Faithful shot skyward and we loved it. Some of the people at the other end of the boardwalk may have gotten a little damp from the mist. I didn’t hear any screams of pain, so I assume the droplets of boiling water had cooled before landing on the fans.

Bison Burger at Old Faithul Inn, a tad too dry for my taste. Thank goodness for bacon. Geyser prediction at Old Faithful Inn As the flow slowed, my wife and I thought we could retrace our steps and beat the crowd to the Old Faithful Inn for lunch. We only had a brief wait for a table, just enough time to find a souvenir Christmas ornament in the gift shop. Ordering and eating my bison burger and her chicken sandwich also took up just enough time, although we didn’t know it yet. As we left the Inn, I took a picture of the sign with the time of the next predicted eruption. It was two minutes away. Naturally we headed back to the geyser instead of back to our rental car.

Man knows bison when he sees one Bison strolls near Old Faithful A park ranger was yelling, “everyone get back RIGHT NOW.” We wondered if the hot water was going to spray our way. It wasn’t until the throng of people parted that we saw two bison taking a leisurely stroll through the area. Humans are supposed to stay 100 yards away from big game animals. The bison left, the geyser sprayed again and we drove away knowing that we were having a perfect day.

Bison walks across human path Another shot of Old Faithful erupting

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