From the moment I opened my car door, I knew something was wrong. There was a loud roaring noise and a big cloud of steam. I headed down the boardwalk as fast as I could go, with a bit of apprehension. As I got closer and closer, the roaring noise kept getting louder and louder.
But you might say, "I've seen Old Faithful, so what's the big deal?" Well, this is nothing like Old Faithful. Old Faithful erupts to 100 feet or so, with a relatively dainty plume of water and hardly a sound, while all the spectators sit on the round boardwalk, take their photo, and say "Ahhh". By contrast, Steamboat is 350-400 feet tall, much beefier, and amazingly loud. Unfortunately, you really can't appreciate the magnitude of this geyser from this picture. I had to use a 24mm wide angle lens to get the whole plume in the frame, which makes the trees lean sideways and the whole thing seem small. Believe me, there is nothing small about this geyser.
Another thing that makes this experience extra special is the rarity of eruptions. There had not been another eruption since this one in 1991 until May 3, 2000.
Back in the parking lot, it was raining big time. All the cars were coated with these funny white deposits. I cleaned off my windshield with the wipers to see forward, but I had to roll down the side windows to see sideways. I washed it at the car wash in Gardiner, but discovered the stuff had etched my windshield ever so slightly. A small price to pay for seeing an eruption of the world's largest geyser.