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Tuesday August 16- Upper and Lower Falls, Yellowstone Canyon, Old Faithful Inn, Old Faithful Geyser

We left the motor home at 8:20, heading to the park. We stopped for gas ($3.84) and picked up the USA Today. We drove into the park, which already had more people at the entrance than yesterday.

We drove in a few miles and stopped to take pictures of these elk.

At Madison, we turned north, again, but at Norris we turned right to go across the middle of the ‘8’ on our way around the lower part of the figure 8. We moved rapidly, as we had to be at Old Faithful Inn for lunch with Tom and Debbie Abernethy at 12.

We stopped at the Canyon Visitor Center for a potty break, then drove south, taking the first turn onto the Northern Rim Road. Our first stop was at Lower Falls. We hopped out of the car, and went to the first look-out. We could see the falls, but not very well.

The road was one way, and as we continued on, there was a second stop, and we were able to see the entire falls.

We continued on to Inspiration Point, which was 56 rugged stone steps down to a point, overlooking the magnificent. Yellowstone Canyon and Yellowstone River.




We returned to the main loop, continuing south, then turned left onto South Rim Drive, which took us out to the Upper Falls. We hiked down to the rapids and falls.



We traded taking pictures with a lady who was there, so here is a picture of the two of us.















By this time, we knew we had to get moving to meet Tom and Debbie. We skipped the next sites, but were stopped in the road by Bison! A whole herd of  big ol’Bison!!


















This is a baby nursing!

We were a little late arriving at the Old Faithful Inn, but met up with Tom and Debbie for lunch. The restaurant  had a really nice buffet lunch, but I decided on a sandwich and most of the items had bell pepper, so Bob skipped it also. Tom and Debbie had the buffet, Bob had a patty melt, and I had a BLT. Tom had found that the Inn has tours, and the next tour was at 2PM. So we  decided to hang out and take the tour. We wandered around the beautiful lobby and checked out the gift shop. We had seen this lobby in various videos that we had watched prior to taking the trip, and it did not disappoint. This is a beautiful historic building. There will never be one built like this again!

The free tour started at the fireplace in the lobby. Note the clock on the fireplace. The clock was repaired in the early 80’s. but then broke again. It is to be fixed when, and if they ever fix the fireplace.  Our tour guide was Rose, from Tennessee. Rose started with the history of the building. The Inn was built during the winter of 1903-04; designed by Robert Reamer, who was 29 years old, and had never designed a hotel before! He wanted the asymmetry of the building to reflect the chaos of nature, allowing the visitor to feel like they were staying within the nature of the park. All of the wood and stone are from the park, which the National Park Service would never allow today. The original building was nearly 700 feet in length and seven stories high. The lobby features a 65 ft. ceiling and a massive rhyolite fireplace, which has 8 fireplaces( all in this one huge fireplace). The entire building is made of lodgepole pine, except the floors which have been replaced with maple.  Wings were added to the hotel in 1915 and 1927. (Lodgepole pine is named from the tepees /Lodges. The Indians used these straight poles to put up their tepees or lodges).

Rose took us outside to look at the front of the building. The asymmetry is evident in the dormers on the front of the building. It is hard to see with the trees in the way in this picture,

but there are 4 upper dormers on the left and 2 on the right. There is a ‘widows walk’ on the top, which has 8 flag poles. They have the flags from Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. 96% of the park is in Wyoming, the rest is in Idaho and Montana. The park existed prior to the three territories becoming states; it was also the first national park, and was in existence, prior to the formation of the National Park Service! They also fly the American flag. There is one pole empty, but no one seems to know the story behind that! When they went to repair the flag poles, they found a note in one of the poles, signed by 4 men who had worked on the building, dated April 1904. The Inn opened June 1 1904.

As we went back inside, Rose told us about the red doors.

Red is the international color of welcome, so the outside of the door is red. The inside is log, to match the inside of the building. There is a huge key to lock the door! But, they were not very welcoming; prior to the Park Service owning the building, if you were not staying at the Inn, you were not allowed in the building.





The lobby furniture is original and still in use. In the winter they move it up to Mammoth Hot Springs, to a temperature controlled building, for storage, as this building is not heated. The chair that Bob is sitting in is not original to the building, it was in another building, which was built on unstable ground and was taken down. It is from the same period.










We progressed to the back of the fireplace, where Rose showed us the small fireplaces in the corners of the big fireplace. That is where they would start fires, prior to starting fires in the large areas of the fireplace. ( Only one large fireplace is currently in use; it is in the front of the building, below the clock. The fireplace was damaged in the 1959 earthquake.) She also showed us the huge popcorn popper, next to her on the floor and the large tools which are used in the huge fireplaces.

We went down one of the hallways where she showed us some stairs. My picture did not come our very well, but there was odd-shaped wood on the stairway, that was hand chosen by Reamer, the architect, to show nature’s asymmetry. Here is the other stairway. 

Rose took us into one of the rooms. Note the closet is hanging clothes on the wall. 

Rooms today rent for $99 up, and have to be reserved at least a year in advance. The $99  room does not have a bathroom, they are down the hall! The hotel was built for the rich folks of the time, as they were the ones who could afford to travel. A trip to Yellowstone started at the north entrance and took 5 days by stagecoach; the cost, all-inclusive, was $50. They would travel to an inn for lunch, then another inn to stay the night. They had to dress for dinner and a bell would be rung from the Widow’s Walk. After dinner there would be dancing in the main lobby, drinks, and popcorn. The rooms were very simple, by today’s standards, but the building had indoor plumbing and electric lights.

We went upstairs and looked down into the lobby. We also looked up at the ‘Tree House”.

No one is allowed up there anymore, except the porters, who put up and take down the flags. The Tree House is off-limits because of current fire regulations.

If you look closely in the picture, you will see that the logs that appear to be holding up the different floors appear to be like tree limbs; they are non-weight-bearing. This is the dining room from the second floor. The front part of the dining area is original, although people would have been served family style. We ate lunch in the back, behind the fireplace along the windows. 

We walked out onto the second floor front porch and looked around.

After the tour, we went back upstairs and took a look at one of the ‘hallway bathrooms’. They just have the sink and tub with  the old fashion black and white tile. They have added restrooms in the hallways, but some of the rooms actually have the original toilets, with the pull chains.

We went downstairs to the room that was the bar, prior to prohibition; after prohibition  the bar was moved to the basement, then next to the dining room. It is now the deli/ice cream parlor. We bought ice cream in a cup and the four of us when back up the second floor porch, to sit at a table and chit-chat. We were there long enough to see Old Faithful erupt!

If you ever visit Yellowstone, be sure to take this free tour and watch Old Faithful erupt from the porch. It is very special!

Bob and I headed back to the motor home after this busy day to have left over chicken from our dinner on Sunday evening.

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