First, I have to back up some and mention that the first day in the park, we also went to see the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. The last time I was there, we saw it from the North Rim. This time, we were at the South Rim. The same canyon and water falls, but a different view. The view from the South Rim is basically in two parts; the view from the North Rim is one big picture. So the pics had to be done in two parts. Better view from the north side, but somehow we missed the turnoff and luckily found the south side.
Friday was the day we went to Old Faithful. Heading out from West Yellowstone you travel through the same road as we took the day before, but there is always something different to see, guaranteed. This day, there was a crowd gathered at the nest of the bald eagle, with the baby eaglet in the nest being fed. It was too high up to get a camera shot, but I did see it with the binoculars. What a regal bird!
Further along, we came upon a herd of buffalo grazing, giving the kids a better shot of a bunch of them than we had seen the day before. This is what I was waiting for!
When we turned off to head to Old Faithful, you go through the Lower, Midway,, and Upper Geyser Basin area. The Upper Geyser Basin is famous for hosting Old Faithful Geyser. But there is much more in the area than just this famous geyser. The Upper Geyser Basin also boasts the largest concentration of geysers in the world, including many of the worlds largest geysers. Five of the largest geysers are predicted by the Park Rangers. All of these geysers, Castle, Daisy, Grand, Old Faithful and Riverside, are worth seeing but if you can only see one, try to see Grand. (taken from the YNP info).
The day had started cold but sunny, so the kids wore shorts, believing the Internet weather saying it would get up to 75 degrees. Right! By the time we arrived in the Upper Geyser Basin area, it was getting overcast and cold again, and then the predictable rain started. But you just put a coat on and endured it. You can see the heavy clouds with just a peak of blue skies. It was on and off again, but getting colder the farther up in the mountains we went.
The problem with the rain then was while it stopped by the time we got to Old Faithful, it was clouding up more and more, and it was almost impossible to distinguish the clouds from the other geysers in the area. By the time Old Faithful spewed (Old Faithful was named by the first official expedition to Yellowstone, the Washburn Expedition of 1870. They were impressed by its size and frequency. Old Faithful erupts every 35 to 120 minutes for 1 1/2 to 5 minutes. Its maximum height ranges from 90 to 184 feet.) (again, taken from the YNP website) the clouds were so thick it was difficult in the camera lens to separate clouds from geyser. The funniest part here was there is a web cam at Old Faithful and a guy standing near us was talking on a cell phone to someone back home telling them to look for "the kid in the bright green jacket." He was standing next to Kyle and because of this, his relative saw him clearly! After that, Kyle acted as a lighthouse for other tourists trying to get their friends or families to find them on the web cam! We should have started charging for that!
No sooner had Old Faithful erupted than it started to pour rain again, along with some thunder in the distance. We had thought of waiting for the next eruption, but knew it could be up to an hour and a half later, and with the cold and rain, there wasn't much to do except sit and waste time, so we headed back to the other geyser basins.
You can see the ridiculous outfit I had on based on my belief it would be in the 70s that day. Fortunately I had some stuff in the car.
One thing I missed last time was the Fairy Falls and Firehole Mountain Canyon. We almost missed it again, and was happy when we saw the turnoff. We weren't disappointed! The Firehole Canyon road is one way because it is a narrow, single lane road that actually used to be the main road through that area! Hard to believe there couldn't have been a collision in there.
Picture of the Fairy Falls.
Friday evening then was spent at the One Horse Motel, the mom and pop place that was very nice, if not the most expensive of the trip. But after the bad experience with the previous motel, I didn't care too much about price.
We spent the afternoon and evening then exploring the town of West Yellowstone, also visiting the Yellowstone Museum, which previously was the train depot that brought travelers and visitors to the area and later they took wagons or stage coach rides into the park. Hard to imagine unpaved roads when you see the intricate system of roads, winding up into the mountains, and back down again and then the added bonus of riding in a bumpy wagon or stage coach! We're spoiled! Yet that didn't stop the people from coming to witness all that Yellowstone has to offer.
The next morning we headed to Mammoth and the northern part of the park. This trip, I planned to leave from the north entrance and avoid Highway 16 on the trip back!
The morning was cold but I was up early so managed to get in a short run again. It was getting easier but still found I had to walk some. Just couldn't get used to that altitude thing! After that, it was time to do some wash and get packed up to head north.