©Wolfgang Kaehler

Yellowstone National Park – Part 2


By Michelle Alten

Old Faithful

Hundreds of onlookers waited patiently on benches for the spectacle to begin. Were we at Disney World or at a National Park? Old Faithful, the park’s famed geyser, ripped into the air, its timing just as predicted. I tried to forget that I was in a sprawling crowd and concluded that yes, Old Faithful was like Niagara Falls – a tourist attraction that was undeniably one of the world’s natural treasures. To appreciate it more, I returned the next morning around 7:30 a.m. before the crowds returned. The morning stillness gave the spectacle the space it deserved and enabled me to marvel as the earth busted out a move in its own steamy break dance.

Morning Glory – Has It Lost Its Glory?


Morning Glory Pool 20 years ago



Morning Glory Pool today

The boardwalk emanating from the new Old Faithful Visitor Education Center leads to a chain of geysers, hot springs and mud pots. We eagerly trotted about one and a half miles to Morning Glory — the queen of the area’s natural pools and hot springs — anxious to see the turquoise gem ringed with amber and ochre tendrils radiating like flames from the sun. But where was it? Instead of the anticipated queen, a mere princess stood before us. Where were the dazzling colors — the amber flames we saw only 20 years ago? The answer according to a park ranger was fairly simple: the garbage and coins tossed into the pool over the years had changed its chemical composition.

Our hearts crumpled. In front of the humble spring read a simple sign “Please don’t throw objects into the pool.” But why didn’t the park service post this important message in multiple languages? Walking along the boardwalk we had probably heard half a dozen languages spoken. Shouldn’t all visitors be cautioned that they are destroying one of the park’s beauties by tossing a can to lighten their load, or a coin to make a wish? So when you see Morning Glory and the other springs, please keep your coins in your pocket and make a wish that the pool someday returns to its stunning beauty of yore.

Old Faithful Inn and Old Faithful Snow Lodge


People can watch Old Faithful erupting from the inside of the new visitor’s center

Inside the historic Old Faithful Inn, balconies climb creating a feeling of a giant tree house – remember Swiss Family Robinson? Architect Robert Reamer designed the log structure to fit in with the nature of the park, and so it does. The inn, opened in 1904, is worth visiting and spending an evening for dinner. For more comfortable accommodations, we stayed at the modern and swank Old Faithful Snow Lodge just a short walk from both the Old Faithful Inn and visitor’s center.

Planning Your Trip:

Lodging: To book rooms at any of the Yellowstone Park Lodges visit http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/

When to Go: In the summer, wildlife seems to head for the shady and tranquil forest. So for the best opportunities to see and photograph bears and other wild denizens, we recommend the spring or fall seasons.

Wolfgang’s favorite hot spring: Grand Prismatic Spring:



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