September 24, 2012

Wild West Part 3: Yellowstone

The last half of our trip was in Yellowstone Park. The Tetons are beautiful, but Yellowstone is otherworldly. Some of the things we saw were so weird, it truly seemed like we should've been on another planet. I think we pulled over to see a waterfall every five minutes.

You know the scenery has reached a ridiculous level of gorgeous when you have conversations like this:
Trea: Do you want to stop and see what everyone's looking at?
Me: Nah, it's just another waterfall.

We never got tired of the geysers and hot springs though. We walked around the boardwalks in West Thumb and the Old Faithful area geyser basins, and I took about a zillion pictures because everything we saw was so crazy.

We went to see Old Faithful, got a seat right in front and only had to wait about 10 minutes for the show. In the distance, we could see other geysers, much larger than Old Faithful, erupting like crazy. Castle Geyser spewed for probably over an hour. We lucked out with all the action! Catching rainbows in the steamy mist was the best part.

Castle Geyser

We spent one entire day driving the north loop of Yellowstone and got to see Mammoth Hot Springs and Lower Falls. Mammoth Hot Springs were insane, but most of the springs were actually dry while we were there -- not like the pictures you see in travel books. 

Elk have completely taken over Mammoth Village. They were literally strolling all over town, grazing in front yards and peeking in windows. 

Being in Yellowstone was so remote, and it was nice to completely unplug and get away. We hardly ever had cell service, and it was tough to plan meals around the few restaurants in the park because we never knew how long it would take to get somewhere. So we had picnics! (And yes, all I could think about was pic-a-nic baskets in Jellystone Park.) It never occurred to me how rarely we share a meal without the TV on, a cell phone in hand or some other distraction. This was the time we truly stopped each day to enjoy where we were. 

While there were waterfalls around every corner, none was so beautiful as Lower Falls in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. We went to Artist Point to see it from the vantage point of Thomas Moran, but I thought our hike to Red Rock Point brought the best views. It was a STEEP, hard climb back up, but it was more than worth it. 

See the little tiny specks on the ledge at the top right of the waterfall? Those are people! This thing is enormous.
Lower Falls from Artist Point
On our last day, we went for a 5 mile hike on Fairy Falls trail. Fairy Falls were also pretty, but the best part of this hike was scrambling to the top of a VERY steep hill to get a bird's eye view of Grand Prismatic Spring. Wow.

There is no better reward at the end of a hike than to be greeted by a waterfall. 

Fairy Falls
We saw just a fraction of Yellowstone, and we can't wait to go back for more. Hopefully, we'll be able to stay at the same bed & breakfast again -- A River Runs By It Lodge in Island Park, Idaho.

It's owned by a sweet couple, Tom and Judy, and they took such good care of us. The views from the lodge are gorgeous, and breakfast each morning was amazing. We loved waking up to the sunrise over the river. 

And after three days in our mountain paradise, we headed back to Salt Lake for home. 

1 comment:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...