Yellowstone National Park in winter is spectacular. Never mind that the US Govenment shutdown has furloughed thousands of park employees and essential park employees are working without pay. I’m here in Yellowstone for a trip planned a year ago. It is heartening to see that the park, blanketed in snow, is still as gorgeous as ever, thanks to the concessionaires in the park and the guide services who have volunteered time and money to keep the park open, clean, and beautiful, without the expectation that any reimbursement will come. Many restrooms are clean and open and the roads are groomed daily so that the snowcoaches and snow mobiles, the only vehicles allowed in the park in winter, can bring people like me to see the glory of Yellowstone. Wednesday was our first day in the park and we weren’t sure what to expect. We were happy to find most of the gorgeous sites we expected to see here open. And, of course, Old Faithful still faithfully pumps out its geyser but not quite as predictably as it has done in the past. And, no, its change in schedule has nothing to do with the government shutdown. According to the National Park Service website, Old Faithful Geyser currently erupts around 17 times a day. Its eruptions are of long and short duration and these event durations are used to help the park predict subsequent eruptions with a fair degree of accuracy. Geothermal and seismic activities in the area during the past 70 years have affected the duration and frequency of the eruptions. Most eruptions last anywhere from 1.5 to 5 minutes and average 130 feet high. On Wednesday, we were in place for the expected 11:30AM eruption which actually came at about 12:15PM. It was a long duration eruption, lasting about 5 minutes. On this very cold and snowy day, what we could see and photograph was mostly steam against a gray sky. I converted this image to black and white because there was essentially no color in the original image.