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On to Yellowstone Nat Park! (YNP)

Posted by on July 14, 2013

Sorry for delay- no internet last few days at YNP.  We slept in this morning as we were still wiped out from the long day before.  We packed up and said

watching Old Faithful

watching Old Faithful

goodbye to Colter Bay Campground and GTNP.  The campground has been our favorite so far and reminds us of our mountain campgrounds back home such as Oconee and Table Rock with large spaces, rolling hills, and a nice shade canopy.  The drive from GTNP to the South Entrance of YNP is very short- less than 15 miles- so were hoping to have a good use of the day.  The South Entrance is nice as you pass Lewis Lake and once again cross the Continental Divide.  We made our way to the Grant Village visitor center and a helpful ranger told us that multiple geysers would be erupting within the space of an hour at around 2pm at the Old Faithful Geyser area.  We (or I) made a quick change of plan- instead of heading off to set up camp in one direction at Fishing Bridge Campground near Yellowstone Lake, we would immediately pull our whole 60′ rig straight to Old Faithful (O.F.)!  The crowds at O.F. were enormous.  We


Bison from a "not safe" distance :)

Bison from a “not safe” distance :)

circled the parking lot and finally had to disconnect the car to fit in a spot.  We missed O.F. and the others by about 20 minutes so we decided to make the 1.3 mile Geyser Hill walking loop and wait for O.F.’s next eruption (occur about every 92 minutes).  Some of the geysers we saw (none erupting) were Giantess, Aurum, and Beehive.  O.F. next predicted eruption was at 3:30  and sure enough at 3:32 it started.  We were on the backside of the geyser (the leeward side) and the spray was carried by the wind to us.  The eruption lasted about 2-3 minutes and and shot plumes of boiling water 125′ in the air.  Having seen (and smelt) our fill of geysers, hot springs, and mudpots (or “Hot Features” as the park calls them), we headed off to Fishing Bridge campground.  Thankfully we are here for YNP and not the campground since they stack you in like sardines. :)  We setup camp and let the kids climb a nearby tree and then we were off exploring for

the evening.  We had a nice dinner at the Old Yellowstone Lake Lodge and upon leaving saw several bison milling around very close to people.  We headed north on a 16 mile stretch of road between Fishing Bridge and and Canyon Village that went through Hayden Valley- a hotspot for wildlife viewing.  We have

Hayden Valley at sunset

Hayden Valley at sunset

learned that the 60-90 minutes before darkness is ideal for seeing wildlife on the move (and when fewer cars are on the road).  Wow is the only way to describe the wildlife concentrations on YNP.  We saw various groups of bison relatively close and then a large bison herd in the distance of over 200!  We took a quick look at Sulphur Caldron on our way back home and made it back to the camper by 10pm- great 1st day!

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