Sunday, August 19, 2012

Saturday Yellowstone Adventures

Saturday Aug 11 -- Mid Afternoon

After a five hour drive from Twin Falls, Idaho, and various stops, we pulled into the Old Faithful Inn. I'm trying to remember our visit ten years ago, and the edges of the memories are fuzzy, but I'm pretty sure there weren't quite so many people. I guess August is the High Season.

Old Faithful Inn, constructed in 1903, is built mostly of burled lodge-pole pine and some stone. Rough-hewn posts rise up about six stories to create a inside forest effect. The posts and beams look a bit like giants holding up a settler-style Circe du Soliel jungle gym. Even with windows on the east and west ends of the building, the interior is dark. A huge stone fireplace in the south end of the lobby rises up about seven stories.

There's lots of American Arts and Crafts style furniture decked around the lobby and observation decks encircling the fireplace. The most enchanting--for me, anyway--are the wood writing desks. An oblong Tiffany-style lamp is incorporated into the desk's organizer, which has four upright slots to hold postcards and writing supplies. The lamp's glass looks like malachite. The desktop is a god hight, with plenty of leg room.

Most folks are only allowed on the first third floors. The higher ones were damaged four decades ago by an earthquake, and the general public isn't allowed up there. Occasionally we notice folks looking out over the park from the Inn's "widow porch" on top; they must work here.

You can tell the architecture-type tourist because they always take pictures of the support beams. I think the best time to take a picture would be between midnight and 4AM, when the place is silent and empty.

Our room in the Inn is on the third floor. The walls are paneled in wood. The radiator looks old, but it's not rusty and there's a raised arabesque design on the cells. Bare bulbs on top of white columns remind me of candles. We share a very nicely tiled marbled bathroom with the rest of the hall, but there's a copper plated stand with a ceramic wash basin sink in the room. Rough triangle-headed nails are at the corners of the simple wooden frame of the mirror.

The Perseid Meteor Shower happens this time of year. I think the best one I saw was when I was near the Old Faithful bleachers, away from the lights of the Inn. Even with the lights from the lodge, the Milky Way was much more prominent than I've seen it in quite a while. The meteor shot out from the area between Perseus and Cassiopeia, mostly white with maybe a little bit of green, and a thick tail of sparks. Later I thought I heard one whooshing overhead, but the noises of the other guests on the verandah made it difficult to tell.

As I was reading on the bed, the world's largest and friendliest looking mouse waddled out from underneath the radiator and stared and stared at me. I just stared right back.
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