K’den. Back to Yellowstone. Warning: If you don’t like water and steam as well as lots of photos of it, turn back now. You have been warned!
Last time, we were Hayden Valley being amazed at bison eyelashes, then over the Continental Divide, then left off as we were coming to Old Faithful. This is our trip so far. Zoom in or out if you want.
We drove into the Old Faithful parking lot, not sure exactly what to expect. Clue: The lot was really crowded and people were walking out to their cars.
We locked the car and bundled up; it was really cold. As in 32 degrees. With the wind blowing. Nolemana graciously loaned me the cap that I’d knit for him and he put on another one. We walked toward the Visitors’ Center; it was 4:40, and just as we got inside we were told that it was going to close in just twenty minutes! And that Old Faithful had just gone off. And that it would probably be around 5:30 before it was due to go off again. Which meant a wait out in the cold!
It’s really kinda neat in there; they have a clock thing on the wall with the approximate times that Old Faithful would be going off, and it’s advised that you be out there a good fifteen to twenty minutes early. Because, you know, Old Faithful has its own time frame, which is not dependent on how cold Mokihana and Norm might get while waiting.
There were two rangers in the Visitors’ Center; one wahine looked particularly friendly, and I asked her if she’d be willing to have her photo taken with Musubi. Me, shy Mokihana, wen ask her dat! But Musubi was begging me, so what could I do? She got a big smile on her face. And made Mokihana’s Garden history:
The first one came out too dark. But the second one was awesome. This wahine was so nice, and obviously adored her job. She told us how wonderful it was to meet people from all over the world and how lucky she was to get to work at Yellowstone. I can see why! (But I bet this was the first elepani she had on her shoulder!)
Well, Musubi was so excited by that, he wanted his photo taken on one of the displays. He doesn’t ask for much, so I said okay, well aware that time was running out for us to be in there. I wish we’d gotten there a bit earlier, because they have videos that you can watch and all kinds of displays. We had to be content with displays like this.
We finally got kicked out along with several other people. It was five on the nose. It was really hard to leave the warm building, but out we went. Musubi wanted to make sure everyone knew he was really at Old Faithful, so we took his photo on the sign.
And then with me. Because I was really there too. (Hint: I rarely post photos of myself; this will probably be the only one.)
This is a good time to explain, for those of you who don’t know, how Musubi came to live with me.
Right after my mom died almost two years ago, Nolemana and I were getting ready to go back down to California for her memorial service. She’d died very suddenly and I was having a pretty difficult time of it. One day in the mail I got a package in the mail from a dear friend from back home. We’d met at Alohaworld on the Lanai (the message board).
In the package was a lovely note from Clare, telling me she’d made Musubi (she’s an extremely creative person) but didn’t know for what purpose. And then when my mom died, she knew he was meant for me, a “purse-size pachyderm”, to bring me comfort, and to let me know that I wasn’t alone. He was small enough to fit in a pocket, or a purse, so that during the service I could just reach in and touch him and feel aloha from someone who cared. Which I did often during that day.
Ever since then, Musubi has gone everywhere with me. He always rides on the dashboard of the kawila, and sometimes, when I’m having a tough day, I cuddle him up against me. Clare’s kindness follows me everywhere, and I’m so very grateful to her for creating Musubi.
All this to explain why I took this next photo. He is a faithful friend and this was a neat way to immortalize my feelings for him, and for Clare.
Okay, now we’re on the path just beyond the sign. This is looking through the trees to Old Faithful. That’s it, steaming, up ahead.
Here’s a closer look, further along the path. There are benches all around, so we headed over to the ones on the right.
Oh my gosh, it was cold! There was ice all over the ground near the benches, and we had to be really careful where we stepped. We managed to find a bench up front, and this was our view.
Was it starting?
Nope. But Musubi wanted his photo taken in front. I can’t tell you how glad I was to be wearing my knitted wool handwarmers. I’d just finished them right before our trip!
I’d been saving my one memory card for videos here, and Nolemana and I were trading cameras back and forth trying to figure out which one to use. He had a small one as well as a big one, so I had an interesting time trying to get all the photos that we took in some sort of order.
This is one from his small camera.
Since we’d never seen Old Faithful before, we had no idea what to look for as far as when it’d really blow, so there were lots of false starts. (As opposed to false crack, foa all u local peeps.)
Is this the big one?
Oh, this looks promising! Try look how the steam looks like a question mark!
I got my camera ready, all excited!
Old Faithful fooled us.
It just kinda died down.
See what I mean about plenny steam photos? Told you.
By this time the cold was really getting to us. I was shivering and so was Nolemana, even with our coats on. And hats. And gloves! It was now 5:35:16 (good thing I get time stamps on da cameras, yeah?) and Old Faithful was just teasing us.
5:35:31. Hmm… this looks hopeful. The steam is more white than before.
Oooh… I think this might be it! 5:35:37.
5:37:37. Guess not.
5:38:38 p.m. By now I was so cold my face was numb. But what’s this?
5:39:10: Could it be? Foa realz? Maybe not. Could this be the one time that Old Faithful fails to go off? The one time we were here?
5:43:50. This looks hopeful. By now I was so cold that my hands were shaking as I got out my camera and started taking photos. Nolemana took the next ones though.
5:44:01, oh my gosh, I think this might be it!
5:44:06. We began to hear the sound of whooshing water.
The steam was much whiter than before, and people all around us were starting to get excited.
5:44:10. This is it! It was really happening!
5:44:14: The steam and water went higher and higher. All around us people were whoohoo-ing, and so were we!
5:44:16. Once Old Faithful decided to make an appearance, it was sure a good one! I was just in awe. Mokihana, stunned into silence. Mostly.
5:44:19: The steam got higher and higher, and the whooshing water sounds got louder too.
I can’t even write about how exciting this was. And to think that virtually every hour, Old Faithful does the same thing, 365 days a year. Amazing.
Okay, now I’m gonna shuddup and let you just see the photos without interruption except for time.
5:45:06: Don’t go!! I like see moa!
5:47:19: Definitely almost pau. But what a ride!
By 5:50 p.m. it was all over but the shouting. Aloha ‘oe, Old Faithful…
For awhile we just sat there in awe at what we’d just seen, but then the cold let us know that it was time to go. We slowly made our way to the car. Musubi was the only one who was warm, because he was cozy inside my pocket. I was shivering so much that I could hardly stand it, but was it worth it? You betcha! I’d do it again in a heartbeat!