Another Day, Another Geyser

I think I slept later than I’ve ever slept in Walden. I didn’t get up until nearly 10:00. It was cold and furnace wouldn’t work and I was chilly. That battery was pissing me off.

I headed out of the camp ground. On the way out, a made a reservation at for two nights at another campground on the other side of the park.

I stopped at the nearby store to get my Diet Coke. I was delighted that a refill is only $1.05. This day was off to a good start.

I bought bear spray at the outfitting store next door. It seemed a bit expensive at $55, but the next week I hit an REI and the same bear spray and the carrying case that mine came with cost more than what I paid there in the park. I’m thinking that there were forces at play that were encouraging people to get loaded for bear.

As I was about to leave Noticed that there was an outlet and 3G access. Got my laptops and chair and settled in. Got a couple things posted.

While I was there, I noticed a group of people with backpacks. A young tattooed woman in the group struck up a conversation. This group of four had left Colorado Springs some three weeks earlier and was destined for Portland, Oregon. Their more proximal goal was to get up to Old Faithful, which was about 17 miles away. That seemed like a long way to walk, so I offered to give them a ride.

I was introduced to the whole crew. Little Bird was the woman I’d been talking to, she was accompanied by Ox, Boots, and Mr. Clean. They had finagled a place to stay with a ranger the night before and had apparently imbibed some alcohol and were a bit slow to get moving. They’d found it difficult to get around in Yellowstone and seemed pretty happy about getting a ride up the road.

I still had clickety-clicking to do (this is the term that Little Bird uses to refer to using a computer). The crew was happy not to be moving along right away as they were interested in making some breakfast. I offered some eggs, and a stove and other implements of applying heat to food. I’d finally found a group of people for whom
I was in a world replete with easy-to-use resources.

They made some pretty tasty eggs, though they’d eschewed the sausage that I’d offered and really wanted to use up and instead used some mysterious dried meat. I wasn’t clear whether they thought using my sausage would be too much an imposition, or whether they thought my sausage was undesirable.

After they’d washed the dishes and I did a major everything-in-its-place clean-up, we loaded up Walden. As it turns out adding four people and their worldly possessions to Walden leaves little in the way of extra room.

Packed up for a trip to Old Faithful

Up at Old Faithful, I took the crew to the Visitor Center and they figured out where the back country campsite they were to be in was. We made plans to meet the next day at a trail head near a geyser I was interested in hiking to. We exchanged some phone numbers and bid farewell.

I headed down to Lone Star Geyser. It’s so called because it’s off by itself and since there are few other holes in the earth that allowed the water and steam to escape, it was exceptionally timely. Arguably more faithful than Old Faithful, though it has a three hour cycle rather than a ninety minute one. This one is cool because while it’s off the beaten path, you can bike there. As I was biking in I saw a biker, who, judging from his gear, was a bicycle tourist. He was lying, rather contentedly, on the side of the road. Hoping to find out the schedule, I asked if he’d seen the geyser. No, he’d gone down the road a ways, but hadn’t seen it and had turned around. We talked a bit about our travels. He was from Louisiana.

Further down the road I saw people coming back the other way and learned that Lone Star had erupted at about 2:45, which meant that it wasn’t due again until 5:45. I decided to go back and make some lunch. I passed on this information to the Louisiana guy on my way back out.

I had some lunch overlooking Kepler Cascades, gathered up water, sunscreen, chair and so on, and headed back to Lone Star. I passed Louisiana Guy who confirmed that the geyser was down the road, but he had apparently decided not to wait for it.

Kepler Cascades

Down at the falls, I hung out with a group of folks who work for the Yellowstone Association, which apparently is pretty much like summer camp, except that it involves adults, be they kids on summer vacation, or retirees, summering at the park. Lone Star was indeed quite a star. Its pre-eruption, an hour before the main show, was pretty awesome. The big blast was even better. I even managed to get a shot with a little rainbow in it.

Lone Star Geyser

After the show, I biked back to Walden. It took nearly an hour to drive to the camp site. I was disappointed to learn that there is no cell or data service there and that the site is badly sloped. I really need to get some levelers. I tried to use some firewood, but was not too successful. The people next door had some 2x8s that I thought might make suitable ramps for leveling Walden and left them a note offering to trade the lumber for some actual firewood. They didn’t return until after 10:00, and it seemed too late to fool with it then.

Sardines for dinner.

I talked to a family across the way. She said she’d been admiring Walden. Then I noticed her pink VW cap. I gave them a tour. We chatted some. Mom and the daughter went off to hear a talk about beavers, leaving the teen-aged son to read without a campfire. I considered offering to keep watch so that he could have a fire, but decided not to interfere in a mother’s rule-making.

I retired to Walden, wrote a little, and watched some more of Entourage, which I’m starting to like.

I have posted all of my Yellowstone pictures on Picasa. I’m annoyed that they are in the order in which they got uploaded, rather than the order in which they were taken. I suppose the one-day-one-album approach might be better. Maybe next time.


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