Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Yellowstone, Part 2 August 31, 2014

We can't believe that on the last day of August we Floridians are wearing sweaters, sweatshirts, jeans and warm jackets!  The temperature dropped to 39 degrees at one point today, and we had a few moments of wet snowflakes mixed with rain in North Yellowstone!   It rained off and on throughout the day, but it seemed to know when we wanted to get out of the car so the sun would come out for a while.

We entered at the east gate again, but this time we turned north at Fishing Bridge.  On the way a mule deer was beside the road as we passed by then ran  right in front of Joe and Ida who were behind us!  It was a close call, but ended ok.    Soon after that we saw a buffalo grazing beside the road.

Joe and Ida hiking.
We stopped at Mud Volcano for a hike and to see more interesting hydrothermal events, such as the Dragon's Mouth which pulses in and our like a dragon's tongue and makes a growling sound.  We also saw a huge raven just sitting there watching us.  After leaving the site we passed a large herd of buffalo grazing on a hillside.
Hiking to the mud volcano.

We stopped for lunch at the cafeteria at Canyon Village and Steve and I had the worst meal ever!  It was supposed to be mahi, but Steve thought it was tuna and I thought it was cardboard!  Yuk.  After lunch  we went to see the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone which features two beautiful waterfalls and an awesome canyon.  Steve, Joe, and I decided to make the 3/8 mile hike down a 600 foot drop into the canyon.   It was a very strenuous hike for us suburban folks, especially coming back up, but it was well worth it.   We could see the Upper Falls from the top of the trail, but at the bottom we were at the brink of the Lower Falls where the mist was creating a beautiful rainbow.  It was a great experience.
Upper Falls
Going down the trail. 

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.
Steve walks faster than I do. 

The top of the Lower Falls.

Mist rainbow at Lower Falls.  

After leaving the Canyon, we spotted a black bear and stopped for a picture.   Soon afterwards, we ran into a traffic jam caused by a buffalo just ambling down the highway.   Cars in both directions had trouble getting around him, but he was totally unconcerned.  We got some good pictures when it was finally our turn to pass by him.   Soon afterward we saw a very vibrant rainbow over the Hayden Valley.
Black bear.

Yellowstone traffic jam. 

Rainbow over the Hayden Valley. 

At Mammoth Hot Springs, we toured Pallette Spring, then grabbed a snack at the General Store to tide us over on the long ride home.  As we crossed the LaMar Valley, we stopped several times for animal sightings.   A herd of buffalo with calves was resting next to the road, and twice we stopped to view pronghorns.
Mammoth Hot Springs. 

Mommas and babies.  


We left Yellowstone by the northeast entrance this time and took the very scenic Beartooth  and Chief Joseph highways back to Cody.   The Chief Joseph was spectacular, and there were free range cows on the road in several places.   We wonder how they ever find all of them. We arrived   at the campsite after dark, very tired, but happy that we had such a good  day.
Free range cows on the Chief Joseph Highway.  

View from Chief Joseph Highway at sunset.

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