A Day Trip in Yellowstone National Park
Since we were only 20 minutes from Yellowstone for the past 10 days, we have since moved onto Bozeman, MT. we decided to do A Day Trip in Yellowstone National Park. We got up early Tuesday morning in the hopes of beating the crowds, and getting some good light. Our first stop was the midway geyser basin. This is where the Grand prismatic is, and I was hoping to get some shots of it.
It was a chilly morning, right around 40 degrees, and as we approached the thermal area, we could see the steam coming from all the different vents. Pretty interesting sight. People always think the Native Americans must have been confused by this area, because they assume they didn’t understand. I think it was just the opposite. I think the white explorers found this area, and were scared to death because they couldn’t comprehend what was happening.
We stopped in the fountain paint pot area first. There are several hot pools here, and small geysers. Since it was cold it was really steamy, which was a fun way to see it.
This little geyser is called Jet geyser. I was surprised when it started spurting water.
We didn’t stay here long, and continued on our way to the grand prismatic. This is a popular feature, and I was worried about finding a place to park. It was probably about 7:30am when we got there, and there were only a few people around. But, I hadn’t taken into account the steam, so I really couldn’t see the pool anyway.
But, this was cool to see. A warm river coming from the geyser area, and flowing into the Firehole river.
We decided to head north, because I really wanted to see the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. It’s been several years since we were in this area of the park, and I was looking forward to getting some photos.
We stopped at a new to us place, the artists paintpots. It’s a short 1/2 mile hike to this interesting area, and since it was still cool we felt OK leaving the dogs in the truck with windows down. I could totally see where the area got it’s name. Little pots of water here and there, and some had pretty neat colors.
Back on the road heading north, we turned east at Norris and headed for the grand canyon area. We stopped in canyon village, walked the dogs, got a drink, and headed for the south rim drive. By this time it was 10:30 and it was getting packed everywhere. The tour buses are the worst, and I will cover all that towards the end of this post.
At the end of the south rim drive is a parking lot, then a fairly short walk to the overlook for the canyon. We got lucky and easily found a spot in the shade where the big ass truck could fit.
This is probably one of the most beautiful places in the country.
Our next stop was the brink of the upper falls. We have never stopped at this waterfall, and it was impressive too.
This is an image of the Yellowstone river just before it plunges down the upper falls.
We then got on the north rim drive, and stopped at the first parking lot. At this point, Al was done. He still has anxiety when there are too many people, and there were certainly too many people in the park. So, I did the hikes to both of the lookouts for the grand canyon, and he stayed with the dogs in the shade. Worked out best for everyone really.
Same canyon, same falls, slightly different look. This is from lookout view point.
I then went to the brink of the lower falls. This is a 600 foot elevation drop hike in 3/8 of a mile. But the view, straight down that enormous fall, and into the gorgeous canyon.
This is a short video I made. The power of nature is amazing.
Yellowstone has always been a big tourist destination, people come from all over the world to see, and marvel at this amazing place. I remember my first time in the park 20 years ago. My boys were young, and it was a great family vacation. I remember it being busy, but not like it is now. Walking anywhere you can see families from all over the country, small children having a blast, and sullen teenagers with head phones trying not to have fun. There are always people from Europe, walking along, and I’m sure marveling at this unusual landscape. Most everyone is respectful of other people, and the environment. Then there are the bus loads or car loads of Chinese. Al and I are about as impartial, and accepting of everyone as anyone you could meet. But when we see people destroying what we hold dear, people having zero regard for the beauty around them, or people being extremely rude, well…we lose that impartiality pretty damn fast. The past few years the influx of Asian visitors to America, and the national parks in particular has exploded dramatically. We have noticed a huge difference in the Jackson area, and in the surrounding parks. We have been lucky that we know how to avoid them in Jackson, and in Teton park, for the most part anyway. We have had our share of run ins, but we try to just avoid the whole thing.
As I said, Al was pretty much done earlier in the day. The masses of rude people had worn him down completely, and he was hanging on by a fingernail. I wanted to go back to the grand prismatic though, and see if this time I could get photos. While I did get OK images, I’m not sure it was worth it.
This time the parking lot was packed, and a line to get in. A bus full of Chinese went the wrong way into the parking lot, bypassing everyone that was sitting in line waiting to get in, then blocked several spots were people were either trying to get out, or get in. I finally parked the truck, determined to get a few photos, despite the hordes of people on the walkways. (I knew Al wasn’t going back anytime soon) I kept my head down, and trudged through, getting the images you see above.
I’m mostly glad we went for the day. I got to see the grand canyon of the Yellowstone again, and take some nice photos. I can’t see us going again anytime soon, although I would really like to go in the winter. Even fall isn’t quite so bad.
I love this country, and all the wild beauty we have. America is a unique place with everything from deserts, to mountains, and all of it in between.