We all slept in and will begin our day at 8:00 a.m. Yesterday was a long drive, especially for our guests. But Mirek said that it was wonderful to see our big country. Today will be much better, with less driving.
The air is cold and clear. We left our rooms for breakfast in the Lake Village store. There is a small food service counter there where they provide some basic meals quickly. Mirek and Hana had wheat toast, and tried peanut butter for the first time. The waitress brought them a scoop just so they could try it. I had an egg, bacon, and cheese biscuit, and Anne had cold cereal. Mirek and Hana also had coffee. Anne and I paid $9.20 for our meals; Mirek and Hana paid $6.13 for theirs.
We saw a Buffalo near the road as we headed back along Yellowstone Lake toward West Thumb.
We saw a female elk near the road. At West Thumb Junction we took the road to the west, toward Old Faithful. We crossed the Continental Divide again, this time at 8,391 feet. There was a lily pad pond there, but we were unable to stop because of the traffic. We crossed the Continental Divide once again at Craig Pass, with an elevation of 8,262 feet. We continued on past Scaup Lake.
We stopped at Kepler Cascades on the Firehole River and walked out onto the boardwalk above the falls. The air was cool and the sky was clear.
We parked in the Old Faithful parking lot. There were very few cars in the lot when we arrived. We toured the Old Faithful and Upper Geyser Basin area, walking several miles of trail and boardwalk, out to the Morning Glory Geyser and back. We walked around Old Faithful to the north. We learned that it would not erupt for another 50 minutes or so. We crossed the Firehole River and visited the Giantess Geyser, Doublet Pool, Aurum Geyser and the others on Geyser Hill. At the Lion Group we continued along the river toward Liberty Pool. (See map.)
I hadn’t worn my jacket, and by this point I realized that I needed it. Anne volunteered to walk back to the Trooper and get it for me, since we had hiked this route before and I could explain better what we were looking at. We saw Sawmill Geyser, Spasmodic Geyser, Grand Geyser, and Turban Geyser. We got to see Old Faithful go off from this point, just as Anne returned with my jacket. We continued on farther along the river.
As we got closer to the river we saw Beauty Pool and Chromatic Spring. Then we crossed the river and saw Oblong Geyser and the Giant Geyser group. We continued on to see Grotto Geyser and then took the side loop to see Riverside Geyser across the river. From there we crossed the river again to see Fan, Mortar, and Spiteful Geysers, and ended our hike at Morning Glory Pool. We retraced our steps to the bridge, where we sat for a while watching a group of elk on the ridge across the river.
From there we walked back along the paved bike path which follows the south side of the river. We skipped the Daisy Geyser Group, but saw Round Spring and a little later Orange Spring and spent a little time watching Castle Geyser. Along this route we were able to see Old Faithful erupt once more.
After this we walked back to the Old Faithful area, used the restrooms, and then found good seats around Old Faithful, where we waited for it to erupt again. It seemed that we waited about thirty minutes. But it put on quite a show, and it was worth the wait.
We walked back to the Trooper, picked up our cooler and picnic bag, and walked to a set of tables across the road, near the service station and store complex. The air was still cool, and it was a bit windy, and, of course, noisy, because of the vehicles coming and going. The sky was partly cloudy. We wore jackets and jeans, except for Mirek, who wore shorts.
We left the Old Faithful area and headed north toward Madison Junction.
We took the Firehole Lake Drive and stopped at Firehole Spring. We then drove past the Surprise Pool and Great Fountain Geyser. (See map.)
We stopped at White Dome Geyser, then drove past the Pink Cone Geyser, Hot Lake, and Steady Geyser.
We exited the Firehole Lake Drive and crossed the road and parked in the Fountain Paint Pot parking area. We walked the boardwalk and viewed the hot springs, geysers, and bubbling mud. We saw the orange and varied colored bacteria living in the waters of the hot springs, Silex Spring, the Fountain Paint Pot, the Fumaroles making their slightly obscene noises, Red Pool and Red Spouter and then on to Twig Geyser, Fountain Geyser (which was very active), Morning Geyser, Clepsydra Geyser, Spasm Geyser, and Jelly Geyser. Then we walked back to the Trooper. The round trip distance was .5 miles (.8 km). (See map.)
Left the Fountain Paint Pot area and continue north toward Madison.
We spotted cranes along the Firehole River.
We entered Firehole Canyon and took the side loop of Firehole Canyon Drive.
We stopped at a pull-out and took photos of Firehole Falls. There were quite a few people in that area.
We stopped at Firehole Cascade. Just past here a stupid tourist left her car door hanging open into the road as she waddled over to swim in the swimming area of the river. Idiot. Anne yelled at her to close her car door as we drove by.
We left the Firehole Canyon Drive and again headed north. We left the Caldera. At Madison Junction we turned right and headed toward the Monument Geyser Basin, driving along the Gibbon River.
We stopped at Gibbon Falls, which is 84 feet high. Then we drove through the Norris Geyser Basin area, continuing on north toward Mammoth.
We passed through the Golden Gate and its spectacular canyon and entered Mammoth Hot Springs Drive in the Upper Terraces Area. We stopped at the Lower Terrace Overlook and walked down the boardwalk near the New Blue Springs, Minerva Spring, and Jupiter Springs. They are all mostly dry. It was really disappointing, since they are so beautiful when they are flowing. But now they are gray and crumbling.
We turned around and climbed back to the overlook. It looked like the Canary Springs area was active, so we walked along the boardwalk there and took several photos. The beauty of that area overrode our disappointment about the other, larger, dry springs.
We continued our tour of the Mammoth Hot Springs Drive. Most of the springs along the road are dry, but there are a few still producing water and minerals. Back to the main road, we continued on the short way to Mammoth. (See map.)
We ate dinner at the Terrace Grill in Mammoth. We had traveled 480 miles to that point. Mirek and I each had a double cheeseburger (okay, but not great) with french fries. Hana and Anne each had a veggie burger with fries. The place was not too crowded. More of a fast food type place. We had tried the restaurant first, but the prices were way out of line. Anne and I paid $13.09 for our meals; Mirek and Hana paid $13.52 for theirs.
After dinner we drove back the way we came, up the canyon to the Golden Gate, where we stopped for a few quick photos. Then we drove back south toward Norris Junction (elevation 7,484 feet).
From Norris Junction we took the road across the middle of the park, between Norris and Canyon Village. We again crossed into the Caldera. On the way we took a side trip to see the Virginia Cascade. It sits in a short, tight canyon.
At Canyon Village we turned south. It was beginning to get dark, and Anne was concerned about wild critters crossing the road. In the Hayden Valley, along the Yellowstone River, we spotted several bull elk and many buffalo, and got to watched the sun set over the valley. We drove past the Mud Volcano and Sulphur Caldron areas.
We made it back to the Lake Lodge area and stopped at the Lodge Store for ice, bread, and bottled water. Our shared expenditure was $13.95. There was a buffalo herd along the road near the entrance to the Lodge area. Once again we saw the Moon reflecting off of the water of Yellowstone Lake. We then headed to bed for the night, enjoying memories and dreams of our first day in Yellowstone.