GRANITE PEAK PUBLICATIONS: Books accompanying travelers to the Park since 2002

All posts tagged Old Faithful

Visitor Center at Old Faithful Village

Categories: Bio, History
Comments Off on Visitor Center at Old Faithful Village

When I first heard they were putting up a new visitor center and planning to call it a Visitor Education Center, I confess to wondering if that name would put people off. Do people really want to come to Yellowstone to be educated? Don’t the kids who have escaped school for their all-too-short summer vacations want to just enjoy the park and all it has to offer?

Well, they didn’t listen to my (unvoiced) objections, and the new center will be officially opened on August 25th [2010]. I admit I can hardly wait to see it and have planned my own time in the park this year around that date. I would love to tell the NPS officials in charge of the ceremony how I fondly remember the combination ranger station, museum, and amphitheater where I got to spend happy times two visitor centers ago, when my family lived at Old Faithful for four great summers.

I particularly remember the model geyser in the little museum and the samples of the rocks to be found—which, I later learned, are actually created in Yellowstone. The museum also had some labeled plant samples, so I began to learn the differences between lodgepole pines and the other evergreen trees in the park. I believe there were also some sample mounted animals, but I was never a big animal person (live or stuffed), unlike most of the children who come to the park.

The amphitheater was where my family spent many pleasant evenings listening to ranger talks and singing western songs that many people knew in those days. I’ve wondered since that time why they did not have an amphitheater when the visitor center was replaced about forty years ago, but there will be a state-of-the-art indoor theater in the new building.

Share Button

Good news for bicycle riders at Old Faithful

Categories: Transportation, Trip planning
Comments Off on Good news for bicycle riders at Old Faithful

For those of us who live too far from Yellowstone to make it practical to take bikes along when we visit, there are now bikes for rent in Old Faithful Village. The concessionaire Xanterra announces that “the bike shop at Old Faithful Snow Lodge offers hybrid bikes for rent to help make your Yellowstone bike riding even more pleasant. Helmets, racks, bike trains, trailers, jackets, gloves, hip packs, are available for rent as well. Call the Bike Shop number for details.” Phone is: (307)545-4825.

What I’ve been wanting to do ever since walking five or six miles each day to see geysers has become more of a chore than a pleasure is to rent a bike to cover the distance from the settled part of Old Faithful out past predictable Castle, Daisy, and Riverside geysers to Fan and Mortar (which is erupting every few days so far this summer). Now it’s a possibility even if you arrive in an airplane or don’t want to put bikes on your car for a long road trip.
Here are some details: Every day between June 1st and September 30th this summer [2010] you can rent adult bikes for $8.00 an hour, $25.00 for a half day, or $35.00 for a full day, and child bikes for less. There are several pleasant places to bike from Old Faithful besides the Geyser Route Two that I write about in Yellowstone Treasures (pages 98-102). However, some rides would require putting bikes on a bike rack on your car unless you ride on the Grand Loop Road—which I don’t really recommend.

Share Button

Bears out already

Categories: Wildlife, Winter
Comments Off on Bears out already

I just read today that both blacks and grizzlies are coming out of their dens a little early this year [2010]. It’s not really surprising, since the snow pack is way below normal, and it has been relatively warm in Yellowstone. Tracks and bears have been sighted in both Grand Teton and Yellowstone, starting in early February, according to the Jackson Hole News and Guide.

It saddens me to look at the Old Faithful Webcam—which I do nearly every day—because the viewing benches should be deep in snow this time of the year, but they usually haven’t been. And this can mean increased fire danger and hardship for all the animals, unless the next few months reverse the trend.

Share Button

Countdown to Yellowstone’s winter season

Categories: Geysers, Winter
Comments Off on Countdown to Yellowstone’s winter season

There’s not much snow yet [in December 2009], but the southern part of the park could get three to six inches this weekend, and visitors who want to enter on snowcoaches or snowmobiles on opening day, December 15th, may be in luck. Or they may have to go the only way allowed, if there’s not enough snow——by commercial wheeled vehicle, that is, buses.

You can check out what Old Faithful looks like in daylight hours at the Old Faithful Webcam and judge for yourself whether the snow is getting deep by checking out whether or not the viewing benches are covered. Then starting Tuesday, the predicted time of the geyser’s next eruption will be posted.

Meanwhile, if you just want to enjoy ice-skating in a swinging western town, you can visit the newly revamped skating rink in West Yellowstone, Montana. According to a local news source:

The new and improved ice rink will make the process of making and maintaining a smoother surface easier and more efficient by keeping the water in place while freezing. In years past, the ground would have to be completely frozen and then saturated with a fine mist, a process that could take weeks to accomplish. This year, the ice rink was erected and flooded in two days.

Share Button

Charrette for Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Village

Categories: On the Web
Comments Off on Charrette for Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Village

I thought I had a pretty good passive vocabulary. Then I came across the word charrette and hadn’t a clue what it meant. Out came the Merriam-Webster, but the word wasn’t there, so I tried my nine-pound Random House. Success! “A final, intensive effort to finish a project, especially an architectural design project, before a deadline.”

A five-day meeting this fall, which the organizers called a charrette, was about improving visitor experience in the Old Faithful area—before the centennial of the National Park Service in 2016. Goals included finding ways to improve vehicular and pedestrian circulation and allowing for visitors to access and learn about the geothermal features and the area’s rich history. Led by Planning and Design Chief Eleanor Williams Clark and with a final report funded by the Yellowstone Park Foundation, it came up with some interesting plans. The new visitor center, scheduled to open on August 25, 2010, is already set to present an all-new educational experience about the geothermal features. The preliminary charrette report and pictures are described in “Envisioning a More Serene Old Faithful Area.”

One of the experts at the charrette noted that, as his group was watching “a particularly long and spectacular eruption of Castle Geyser,” they realized that most of the crowd standing around Old Faithful Geyser, “probably didn’t even know it was there.” He continued, “If people were more aware of the other equally awe-inspiring features to see in the area—both natural and cultural—we would have less of a surge of pedestrian and vehicle traffic flowing away immediately after each Old Faithful eruption. Visitors would significantly improve their experience by exploring what the Upper Geyser Basin truly has to offer.”

I’m excited about the prospect of a new look for the area that I almost think of as my second home. This summer I celebrated the seventieth year since I first spent a summer at Old Faithful; my husband and I gave a small party in the Inn. I remember visiting the small ranger station and museum that was in the same spot where the huge new visitor center is now being completed. I am happy to think that many other people will be able to find and appreciate all the aspects of the Old Faithful area, and not just dash in, watch an eruption of the famous geyser, and go off somewhere else.

2009

Share Button