Miles Driven Today: 10 Total miles driven: 3441
Very cold overnight because it was so clear but a beautifully sunny day today and we were back in t shirts and shorts by the time it was about 10am.
We had our room breakfast, then went to the lodge for coffee by the big fireplace. Much needed. Then headed out about 5 miles north to the car park at the trailhead for Fairy Falls. We knew that at about the mile marker of that trail was the overlook to the Grand Prismatic Pool and basin. Unfortunately when we got to the carpark, it was really foggy and we set off along the trail in fog. The sun was quickly mopping it up though so we were hopeful. Along the way we saw some buffalo, grouse and chipmunks. It was quite a steep haul for the last ¼ mile up to the overlook but well worth it when we got to the top and a pretty walk in itself. The fog had largely cleared but the steam from the pool was still there albeit blowing off to one side. It must be a rare day indeed when the pool is completely exposed to sight. Anyway, I took some pictures and it was enough to be able to visualise what it would look like to see the extreme blue surrounded by the yellow and orange algae circles. Back to the car.
We then headed to the Snow Lodge and caught up on some business using their wifi which was ok. Managed a Facetime call with Lucy who was at CDG in Paris waiting for her flight to London for the weekend and a wedding. That was really nice.
We had lunch sitting outside our cabin in the sun. Carrying our breakfast and lunch like this has been no hardship at all and has saved us a fortune in money. We’ve enjoyed it.
After lunch we set out to hike the whole geyser/geothermal plateau around Old Faithful. We’ve seen him go twice today as well. There must be well over 50 different named features within a few miles of the lodge and they can be viewed along a flat boardwalk or paved path. We did the whole 4 mile circuit, making 6 miles we walked today. There were lots of bubbling water pools of different sizes, some tiny, some enormous. There were geysers of different sizes too and all set on a large geo-thermal plain with trails of heated, algae and mineral water running away.
One of the geysers was called Daisy, so we had to go and see that! And as luck would have it, when we got there, it was due to erupt/explode in 10 minutes. We sat and waited. You can tell when its about to happen because the geyser starts to bubble and gurgle furiously. Then, all of a sudden, off it goes!!!! Boiling water and steam shooting into the sky about 75 feet. It went on for about 5 minutes! Good old Daisy!
We saw buffalo again here, some of them wading in the streams and river. I would have thought they would shun this active ground but they don’t seem to. The walk was quite a popular one, a lot of people on the trail. There are a lot of Chinese tourists in Yellowstone at the moment. They travel in big groups, on specialist bus holidays.
Got back to our cabin about 4 and both of us fell asleep!!!! We just had a quick dinner tonight in one of the grill restaurants: chilli, guacamole, fries. We leave Yellowstone for Grand Teton in the morning.
My thoughts on Yellowstone are more mixed than the other parks we’ve visited. There is no gainsaying the total grandeur and splendour of the scenery. It is an absolute feast to the senses wherever you look, throughout the park. What has slightly taken the edge off it for us, is just the sheer weight of tourist numbers here which we have felt far more than anywhere else. Its hard to be alone, which sounds odd given the thousands of square acres of the place, but everywhere humans are allowed to go felt a bit too popular. It’s hard to park. And we’re in the off season just about. What it can be like in July and August, I cannot imagine. It is a thrill to see the herds of buffalo but we’ve seen them elsewhere too. The other wildlife is harder to spot here than at either Glacier NP or Custer State Park in South Dakota. We haven’t seen bear here although they are apparently in great number. That may be because of the size of the park, and the fact that the business of the public access areas keeps them well away.
My advice if you are visiting would be to split your trip between the North East quadrant and the Old Faithful area. In the north east, stay in Roosevelt Lodge if it is still open (hen it has a shorter season) otherwise Canyon Lodge. That will allow you to cover Lamar Valley, Hayden Valley and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. You can also have a visit south to the Lake (45 mins). I would spend at least 2 days there, more if possible. Then I would have 2 nights in the Old Faithful area at whichever of the three lodges appeals. That will let you cover the best geothermal sights. I wouldn’t bother going up to the North East (Mammoth Springs) at all.