“Did you see it?”
We started our trip from the west entrance at West Yellowstone. Along the first leg, entering the park, we had numerous stops behind people looking at wildlife off the road, but we weren’t fortunate enough to see much there. We did get a photo of some mule deer grazing on the other side of the river.
We decided to do the south loop first and our first stop was Firehole Falls, a beautiful view of a small waterfall. We took a few photos here, then we continued around the loop and got a couple photos of the river that feeds the falls.
We stopped at many thermal features along the way; geysers and hot springs. Among them were Fountain Flat Drive, Fountain Paint Pot, Great Fountain Geyser, and Midway Geyser Basin. We were about 15 minutes late to see Great Fountain Geyser, and its cycle is between 12 and 18 hours. We continued on and, eventually, we made it to Old Faithful. We were early enough to eat lunch at the cafeteria before watching Old Faithful. The food was okay, but next time I’ll have to look for something a little better.
After we ate, Noreen asked me to go look around to find Old Faithful’s eruption schedule. I wandered throughout the building, but I couldn’t find any information. So I headed outside to see if I could find where Noreen and Aric went.
As I approach them, Aric asks “Did you see it?” What do you know, while I’m trying to find the schedule, they headed out without me and were able to watch the eruption.
Because I missed it, we decided to wait for the next one. Aric and I hiked a trail to an overlook of the Old Faithful geyser to get a different vantage point. Along our way we saw some yellow bellied marmots, furry giant squirrel-looking things. We continued our trek to the overlook, and after about 15 minutes, I got to see Old Faithful’s eruption. I also found out the battery on the digital camera was almost dead.
After enjoying the view, Aric and I made our way back down. Near the bottom of the trail, a large number of people were gathering and pointing off to one side of the bridge. When we got down to where they were, we saw a bison grazing just off the trail. I grabbed a couple photos from off the side of the bridge. But I didn’t venture as close as some foolish tourist.
By this time, it was nearly 4:00 p.m. We continued our drive around the south loop and breifly stopped at Kepler Cascades. Our next stop was at Shoshone Lake. Well, not really at the lake. We were at a viewpoint looking at Shoshone Lake. There was a trail that headed down from here. I decided to take a short hike down the trail to see how well it was maintained. Aric went with me. It started out pretty defined with a steep grade going down and then went into a wooded area. After only 1000 feet, the trail was getting sparse and covered with fallen trees. So, we decided to turn back and maybe do this trail on a future trip.
When we got back to the trailhead, Noreen was standing at the top with a couple other tourists. They shouted down, “Did you see it?”
Aric and I both replied “See what?”
“The wolf! He was right behind you.” They went on to describe that, not even a minute after we headed into the trees, a wolf came walking by on the same trail. They tried to get a photo but he was startled by them and headed off behind us. Aric and I never saw it.
Our trip continued, thankfully. Our next stop was West Geyser Basin. Noreen got a couple photos of a mule deer sitting at the entrance for this stop. Aric and I took a walk down to Yellowstone Lake and around the geysers. At this point, our digital camera was no longer working, so we had to use our cellphone cameras, a disposable camera and video camera. So from this point on, we have very few photos.
We continued our drive from Lake Village to Canyon Village. We stopped at Upper Falls and took some photos and then on to Lower Falls. Aric and I hiked down to the Lower Falls overlook. It has a agnificent view from the top of this falls, but across the river you can see a staircase coming down. Afterwards, we found out the stairs come down from Artists Point, a stop we missed in our haste at the end of the day.
By this time it was nearly dark, 9 pm. We saw various animals on our way out and stopped to attempt to take pictures. We took a couple wrong turns in the dark, but eventually ended up on the right road. The route from Norris to Madison has a lot of construction, narrowed to one lane. As it was after 9:30 pm., there was not much of a wait. By the time we got out of Yellowstone Park it was after 10 pm. and all the local stores were closed.