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10/08/2011: Day 9: Roaming the Old Faithful Basin
I got up early and finished up the text for Day 8 in the dark atrium of the Old Faithful Inn. Then I quietly swapped my laptop for cameras and cold weather garb and went outside.
I got up and wrote up the previous day, and then headed outside as the sun broke over the caldera rim, and Old Faithful (as you can read on the sign) began to do its thing at 8:21 on our second morning in the Inn. The sun politely hits the geyser but gives me dark foreground and background.
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Old Faithful (as you can read on the sign) at 8:21 on our second morning in the Inn. The sun politely hits the geyser but gives me dark foreground and background.
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As Old Faithful relaxes again (and I'd taken many pictures which I've spared you) I notice the steaming landscape with the snowy trees beyond.
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This was actually taken within a minute of the previous shot; I just turned around. It is also featured in my public (meaning you don't have to sign up to see it) FaceBook Album A Void in the Landscape: Shadows of my Former Self (http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3290928567140.108006.1685526085)
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Just like yesterday, the recycled plastic boardwalks were treacherous and amusing. I spent an hour or so walking the nearby geysers with National Geographic photographer Ed Riche. It was fun sharing perceptions with someone who also has acute visual orientation. But again, the hundred or so pictures of yet-another-steaming-geyser merely sit in my private album.
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I took many good pictures (and am sparing you most of them), and met Ed Riche and we wandered around and took pictures until Karen got up and Marco'd me.
I went back to the Inn and met her for breakfast, and then we spent the day wandering the geysers, with a break for lunch. Read the captions.
Reflections of those who seem too busy to spend time reflecting
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Speaking of reflections, note the ceiling above me seen in this mirror as I wait for Karen to join me and have breakfast here. The electric light fixtures are original. They ran a generator to have modern electric lights back before most people had electricity.
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This is what happens when someone offers to take a picture of us. I forget that so many people don't even know how to handle point-and-shoot cameras. After several shots like the one on the left, I turned on the flash. But it was a kind thought.
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Another pair of shots where Karen and I snap each other simultaneously. Another can be found here on our 2006 trip (link opens in a new tab) (/travels/travel.cgi?PicNum=DCP13197&Trip=2006MayTrip).
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From the official Visitor's Center, many people run out to watch the start of each eruption, and to take pictures of each other in front of this sign. I have been taking all sorts of video clips on this trip, and here I set up a time lapse of the rapid exodus of the crowd.But what amused me was all the people noticing my little camera, and wondering to each other whether it was abandoned, or in use, or available, etc.
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Here is near the end of the film clip mentioned in the last picture. Note Karen studying the map to choose where we will explore next, and the boy taking the apparently mandatory picture of the sign.
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One reason to stay at the Old Faithful Inn is to have time to simply admire the amazing architecture. The world's largest ever log cabin!
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After lunch, we wandered around the close few dozen geysers in the Old Faithful basin. Note the meandering boardwalks.
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One clever fan of geysers brought his bike! You can just make out Karen's legs in the sulfurous steam near the center of the picture
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"Look at that one," Karen indicates with her Pikes Peak binoculars swinging from her wrist.
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There really is much to see in this one little area. On our previous trip here a decade earlier we hurried around to see all the different areas. This time, we are more thoroughly absorbing these few miles of walking trails.Spiteful geyser just wouldn't perform while we watched.
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Sure, you see the postcards. But to actually see this improbable color and clarity and depth, and feel the ground rumbling, and smell the pungent air is to really experience this place. If you haven't come out here before, do plan on it soon.
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Yeah, I get tired of walking every once in a while.
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Call it contemplation, or meditation, or simply being. This is a mystical place.
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Granted, not everyone finds it so fascinating to wait for a geyser to go!
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We spent about an hour waiting for the Riverside Geyser. When it went, I got a nice time lapse video of the whole eruption, and several live HD videos. I fully appreciate the need for several cameras.
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Just for scale, note the people in this picture.
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Again about architecture: All those letters are found branches that a diseased-tree prospector located and procured for the Old Faithful Inn project back when they were still planning to get a railroad out this way.
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