Saturday, September 10, 2011

Family Summer Trip Day 9 - Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

It was a pretty hefty drive from West Yellowstone to the Canyon Area.  It was cold and rainy and it seemed like a good day to be lazy, but it was also our last full day in Yellowstone.  We were going to drive the next day to Salt Lake City, UT.  So, we packed everyone up and set out.  We stopped off near Yellowstone Lake and Grant Village.  A lot of the areas near there were closed off due to the Elk Calving season.  We headed up to the Canyon Area.  By the time we got there, it was lunch time, so we grabbed a quick lunch and then headed down to the Lower Falls and Lookout Point.  This is another special place in Yellowstone and the pictures can never do it justice.  The falls are gigantic, 300+ feet high and about 70 feet wide.  There's a path that will take you down to the edge of the falls, but we didn't make it down there.  We stayed along the edge of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.


Everyone was a bit cold and tired, so we headed back to the cabin after this.


But first, one last stop to play in the snow...


Family Summer Trip Day 8 - Old Faithful Geyser Area

On Day 8, we headed to the Geyser Basin in Yellowstone to see Old Faithful and other hydrothermal activity offered in the park.  The day started off with a bang when we came upon a traffic jam near the Old Faithful entrance.  We pulled over to see what everyone was gawking at and spotted the large Grizzly about 100 yards from the road.  This would be the first of two bears we would see today.  The other bear ran right through the Old Faithful boardwalk area.  In both cases, the bears seemed extremely scared of all the people around.


Walking around the Old Faithful area is an awe inspiring sight.  There are so many different types of hydrothermal items such as geysers, hot springs and fumaroles.  There's the distinct smell of sulfur in the air as well.  If you go and you take kids, make sure they stay on the boardwalk.  Getting off the path is illegal and deadly.  It was amazing though to see the animals such as the buffalo and grizzly just walking around, seemingly unfazed that they could fall through the crusty earth at any time and be boiled alive.

We spent probably 2 hours just walking around the Old Faithful area waiting for the timed eruption.  While not the most reliable eruption, they pretty much have it down to a 15 minute window when it will erupt again.  So, we found our viewing spot, sat down and waited.  Sure enough within 5 minutes of their guesstimated time, Old Faithful started to bubble, gurgle and spew.  If you've never seen it, it's well worth it. This was high on Linda's to-see list and it was a great show.


After that, we headed over to one of the many restaurants around the Old Faithful Lodge and grabbed some lunch.  Shortly after lunch, we headed over to the Black Sand Basin area and then hike back over to the North end of the Old Faithful area and then over to Biscuit Basin.  It's an easy hike, but there's usually not a whole lot of people out there, which is nice.  About half a mile in, we ran into a small herd of buffalo hanging out by one of the hot springs.  We snapped a quick family pic and moved on by them.



At the far North End of the Old Faithful area, most people turn around, but you can take a small trail North towards Biscuit Basin.  We did so, despite the signs of "high bear activity".


It wasn't until we got to the Biscuit Basin that we found this sign.  Which prompted a visit by the Park Ranger, asking us if we had just come through there and if we had seen any bears. 


The boys got a good picture with them and the Park Ranger.


I walked about 1.5 miles back to the Black Sand Basin area and got the truck and came back to pick everyone up.  It was a fun filled day.  On the way home, I stopped off to try my hand at fly fishing, but had no luck.  The water was gushing with snow melt.