Saturday, August 20


Today is a free day and we six head to Yellowstone bright and early. Zane and Deanna have been there three times and they are our tour guides. The other four have never been. We take the scenic route over the mountains to the eastern gate. We stop at a scenic overlook at Dead Indian Pass. When we get out to enjoy the view, we experience "cold" for the first time in many moons. We are at 8000 ft and the scenery is majestic and awe inspiring. The photo of Indians on horseback is a sculpture at this overlook. At left is Peggy, getting to know an old prospector at the visitor's center in Cooke City on the way to Yellowstone.
Deanna, the schoolteacher, starts establishing prizes for being the first person to spot certain things. The prizes all relate to food. Sheryl wins the first one for coming up with cygnet for baby swan, a Twix candy bar redeemed at supper time when we are still far from a meal. Gene, the sharp eyed Indian scout, wins most of the others by spotting several types of wildlife. Our ultimate goal is Old Faithful, and we do a loop of other sites to get there. First we see buffalo and a prong head antelope, herds of elk. Then we see a large mountain of sulpher deposits left over the ages by hot springs, we see hot water bubbling out of the ground. Here and there we see steam rising from various parts of the landscape, and geysers spouting. We have a nice lunch at a lodge and chat with the young people from all over the US and the world who work there. We find out there is also a program for retirees to work at the park. Hmmm. There are lovely flowers all around the lodge area, all protected from elk by wire cages. See photo of cart on left.
We go to a basin which is the remains of an ancient volcano and see wonderful azure pools of boiling water. We see more wildlife and around 3:30 we finally reach the area of Old Faithful, which is not as faithful as it once was. Folks tell us it may be 35 more minutes and so we go and explore the old lodge, then return to sit on the benches that circle halfway around the site. There are other small geysers in the area. And so we sit and sit and are teased by steam that waxes and wanes and another geyser that sputters and is taken as a sign. In fact, Old Faithful itself send up a half hearted spurt and then goes back to steam. We decide we have come on the day that Old Faithful gives up the ghost and quits, when at long last it does its thing. Couple of surprises: it makes no sound and the water is so very, very silvery white.
By this time, it is after 5PM and we are along way from home. So off we go taking a more direct, but no less scenic, route home. Around 9PM we find ourselves on the patio at the local Mexican restaurant. Soon, David Gorrell and his friend, Rick Smail, arrive from Salt Lake City. Rick is a prospective new pilot for the Flagship. We have a good dinner and enjoy getting to know Rick. We fall into bed exhausted again after a long day but are very grateful to Zane for being the driver and tour guide on a 12 hour tour.

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