We came in to Yellowstone on Monday evening, the 4th of July. It was gorgeous. We had reservations to stay at the Canyon campground, but only for one night so we would have to move our tent the next morning. We drove straight to Norris that evening to check to see if there were any first-come-first-served sites available so we wouldn't even have to bother with moving our tent. There weren't. Bummer! By the time we got back to Canyon and got our site, unloaded the tent, and started to set it up, it began to rain. Ugh. We got the tent up, then huddled in the van trying to wait out the rain. We had already had peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for lunch, but here it was raining and no way to make a fire for supper. So I passed around sandwiches. Again. I was frustrated and ready to go home, but our tent was already up and wet and had sleeping bags and air mattresses inside. We drove to the shower house where it was less muddy and got ready for bed. The next morning we had plans to be up bright and early so we could get a site at Norris. It took us longer than expected. We passed around a bag of bagels while we hurried to take down the tent and shove everything in the van. It was still 10 am before we pulled up. We were rewarded with a beautiful site. We got our tent up again, in the sun, so it dried quickly. We made a real "breakfast"...which ended up being lunch...and ate like we hadn't eaten since leaving Estes Park!
The campground at Norris overlooks the Gibbon River, which is peaceful and winding at this particular section. Many people were fly fishing on the river. An injured bison had taken up residence in the campground as well (we kept our distance).
With half the day already gone, we loaded up and headed south to see whatever we could see. We didn't really have a plan, just to pull over whenever we felt like it. Our first stop was the Norris Geyser Basin.
Constant Geyser erupted while we were there.
Our next stop along the road was the Artists Paintpots.
Mitch is pointing to the remains of a bison carcass and saying "Lunch."
We stopped for "lunch" (but who knows what time it really was) at Madison. The kids played in the woods, and Malachi got several slivers/splinters in his thumb. One thing I didn't bring along in my well-stocked first aid kit was tweezers. We set out in search of a ranger station. This turned out to be very fortunate. The rangers had what we needed, and we also got our kids signed up for the Junior Ranger Program. They got started working for their badges right away. I think this program was pivotal in engaging our kids to actually learn, not just look, while they were in the park.
Our next suprising stop was the beautiful Firehole Canyon Drive. A must-see. All of the rivers are flooded this year in the park. The force of the water amazed me.
Evidence of fire was everywhere. Also were trees damaged by the acidic soil and trees damaged by some beetle (those are the saddest).
Watching a herd of bison crossing the Nez Perce Creek was also pretty cool!
We made our way all the way down to Old Faithful.
After waiting for the big event, and worried we would meet another rain storm, we turned around and headed for home.
On the way back we stopped at the Midway Geyser Basin. Beautiful.
Grand Prismatic Spring
What an incredible day! It was packed full and we were exhausted.