Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Yellowstone Day 2

On our second day in Yellowstone, we set out with more of a plan.  I think we finally left camp around 9:30 a.m.  We were headed first back to Canyon to see the upper and lower falls.  Then I planned on stopping for showers, and after that we had a little debate.  I said let's finish the lower loop between Canyon and Old Faithful.  Mitch said let's do the upper loop.  It didn't matter yet, so we headed out.  As it turns out, we spent a LOT of time at the falls.  We still didn't do everything we wanted to do there.  Soon it was lunch time.  Someone suggested we go down to Yellowstone Lake (in the direction of the lower loop--was I going to win the little debate after all??) for lunch.  So that's where we headed.  I figured we could shower at Fishing Bridge after we were done with lunch.  We played at the lake, the kids got super dirty (as you will see), we ate lunch, and we showered ($3.25/person age 6 and over!!!).  Then Mitch conceded to driving the rest of the lower loop since we were already there and the day was getting old quickly.  Alas, it wasn't meant to be--I directed us to take a wrong turn, and we headed back toward the east entrance.  After we had spent the better part of an hour retracing our steps there was no time left for the lower loop.  Instead we headed back to Canyon (the shortest route back to our campground at Norris) to view the falls from the opposite side of Yellowstone Canyon.  We got back to camp with enough time to top off our evening with supper (Chicken & Rice) and S'Mores.

The Upper Falls on the Yellowstone River by Canyon Village, as viewed from the north side of the river.

The angle of the sun and our location made it hard for me to get a full picture of the falls, which are 109 ft high.

When we first came down here Malachi and Micah were standing together on this bridge when a gush of water jumped up and got them all wet.  Obadiah doesn't look very comfy in the carrier this way, LOL.

View of the Lower Falls from the Artist Point on the South Rim Drive (the Lower Falls is a short distance down-stream from the Upper Falls).  For perspective--look at the full-grown trees in the distance.  The Lower Falls are 308 ft high.  This canyon is referred to as the "Grand Canyon of Yellowstone."  It runs along many miles.  The river starts from Yellowstone Lake in land that is relatively flat, then gains speed as it flows north and is squeezed through the canyon, and over several falls.

Our next challenge was an up-close view of the Lower Falls.  We took Uncle Tom's Trail.

Kronk, I mean Mitch, carried Yzma, I mean Tirzah, on his back and Obadiah in his arms the entire way down--328 steps--and the entire way back up.  Ufda!!! 

I don't remember what spot this is.  ::grin::  But it's pretty anyway! 

Yellowstone Lake at the picnic area in Bridge Bay

My boys are starting to get serious about sword-play.

There was too much wind (after being HOT all morning, now we were cold) and too much silt in the water (which was probably close to 50 F) to get in and swim.  The wind was kicking up quite a surf!

If you have a really good eye you have probably noticed debris on my pictures.  I was changing my lens from the 18-55 mm to the 55-200 mm very frequently.  I used the 18-55 for wide-angle (landscape) shots, but kept my zoom close by to get pictures of wildlife.  Unfortunately it was hard to keep dust, etc, off the lenses.  I really should be more disciplined about this stuff.

Flooding along an old boat house.  This house was HUGE and pretty darn cool.  I took more pictures of it.

Bath, please!!  Everyone was soooo dirty after a couple days with no showers.  We couldn't wait to get cleaned up.

Along the center-left of this photo you can see the long stairway that is part of Uncle Tom's Trail.  If you look hard, you can see a person climbing the stairs (perspective again). That was quite a climb!!

We went back up the river after our wrong turn, and took the North Rim Drive.  I was sooooo tired by this point, as were many of the kids.  Mitch really wanted to take the walk down to stand on the brink of the Lower Falls, but we didn't this time (see those people on the overlook there to the right of the falls?).  Definitely next time...
We stopped to go potty in Canyon and found another pile of snow to play in.  It's crazy to me how hot it can be in the day, and not even down to freezing at night (but still cold), and the snow is still lingering here.

These signs made us laugh.  Or rather, Mitch narrating these signs made us laugh.  Pictures were needed.
Yield to people who are falling down...

...while hula-hooping.

The resident bison at Norris campground

Our wonderful campsite at Norris

Traveler's tip:  I found a free app for my iPod Touch called National Parks Explorer.  You can choose any national park for free, so I chose Yellowstone (other parks can be purchased).  Basically this is just a compilation of information you can get from the National Park Service online.  But I knew I would be in Yellowstone and would not have access to free wifi (and even limited cell phone service).  So having all the information available offline on my iPod was pretty fun and useful.  It had fun facts and I would occasionally read them off to anyone who would listen as we drove to our next destination.  *I* thought it was cool.  :)

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