The iconic falls at Yellowstone Canyon
It’s June 3rd and the morning started out cold …but sunny. With the strong June sun and low wind, the day heated up nicely. With the day off, we drove up to Canyon, about 40 miles from Grant (my home). The roads are good but let me remind you about the animals. They are often in the middle of the road not a care in the world, oblivious to the drivers. And these are the HUMANS! On occasion, even elk and bison will do this.
4 pics of Yellowstone River as it cuts through the Canyon
But I like this one the best!
The drive up was as adventuresome as the destination. “Life is about the journey and destination.” As more than one Park employee has said. Driving up the north shore of West Thumb, the majestic Sheridan Mountain, with all its snow reflected well on the lake. What a gorgeous day! Turning north at Fishing Bridge we followed Yellowstone River into Hayden Valley. For those of us who remember, it’s a scene right out of the western TV show “The Big Valley”.
Hayden Valley – where the buffalo roam!
We arrive at Artist Point mid-morning. And this place is already filling up with tourist. Hard to believe there are still several large park campgrounds that aren’t open (they open June 8th ). I can only imagine what traffic will be like in July! Several trails are closed for repair, but not the icon one (see pictures). The trails we went on here aren’t long but have an elevation to them. We got a good workout!
A good workout deserves a good lunch! This village has been recently upgraded and is beautiful, clean, and lots of options. I’ve been warned about the food BUT I have no complaints! I thought my lunch was tasty, large portions, and not too expensive… and a great atmosphere. With gift shops nearby, we did a little retail therapy before we continued our exploring. Each village has a visitor’s center and these are must-see places. Most have short movies (every hour on the hour) with some unique aspect of the park. Canyon focuses on the geological formation of Yellowstone (for example, Grant focuses on the aspects of forest fires). If you get to Yellowstone (should be on your “Bucket List”), these are a must-see thing and are often overlooked.
Deb enjoying the rapids before the river tumbles into the Canyon
Rock formation and erosion is fascinating out here
This black bear was right up to the road until it felt a little crowded. I stayed in the van
After we leave Canyon and head for “home”, we plan on stopping at Mud Volcano. Here, there are more thermals and the smell of rotten eggs is very strong. Why eggs? No, there are no chicken barns here. It’s the sulfur from deep down in the ground! It boils up with the fumaroles and hot springs (not all thermals have this issue). Besides water being boiling hot (to dangerous to swim or soak in) it is often very acidic (read “Death in Yellowstone” to hear some gory stories). Hear you will read about how readily things can change. We often think of geological issues in terms of million or even a thousand years. Some of these major changes here happened 10 to 20 years ago! I am glad we stopped.
Mud Volcano- very hot and very acidic (and stinky!)
This valley where the Yellowstone River passes is Hayden Valley. It is one of several areas in the Park with a large bison herd and sure enough, there it was! Again, we must be careful, as these are wild animals. Got some great pictures (as noted above).
“No Hiking – Bear habitat” signs are still everywhere … doesn’t stop us (Darwin award?)
By the time we get back to our “campah” we were bushed. But no rest for the weary, as we gathered up dirty laundry and headed for the dorms (free laundry mat!). While we waited for the clothes to become clean again, we planned our next trip. Looks like we will be off to The Grand Tetons* tomorrow if the weather holds!
* Note: Grand Tetons National Park is considered part of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem (GYE)
STAY TUNED! More “tales from the campah”!
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Coming Soon!!! YouTube channel with movies of the adventures!