Our last two days were a wrap up of what we missed in the first few days. We decided to drive straight to Grand Prismatic, but about 10 miles from our destination there was a huge traffic jam. The line was barely moving, so we turned around and stopped at Art Paintpots. It was about a mile walk around the loop with some stairs. The elevation can make the smallest workout seem extreme here, so we made sure to always bring our water bottle with us after the first day, no matter how short the walk. The variety of colors and mud pots plopping were amazing.
The one animal I REALLY wanted to see was an elk with horns. Part of me wanted to see a grizzly bear too, but part of me didn’t want to see one too close. We found the elk right after Canyon Village. We parked in the area with all the stores and walked around the back near the residences.
We finished that day driving through Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon. We first drove through the North Rim to view the Lower Falls. We stopped several times to take pictures of the view. There was no long walks involved, but there were stairs to see different areas of the canyon. The water color was out of this world and it contrasts well with the walls of the canyon.
Our last day we drove all the way from the North to the South entrance. On our way to Grand Prismatic, we saw the grizzly bear I was hoping to see. He was small, so we think he was a juvenile. He was having a good time eating the flowers.
The Grand Prismatic was busy, but we were able to get a parking spot after waiting for a few people to back out. The walk around was perhaps half a mile. The first thing you see is a waterfall of hot water. You climb a short flight of stairs to see the first old geyser. It was difficult to see today due to the wind level. There were at least a dozen hats lying in the surrounding water due to careless tourists. The Grand Prismatic is easier to see if you make the climb to look down on it. This was not possible at the first stop. We still were able to take some cool pictures.
Finally we arrived at Old Faithful. The traffic was much better than on July 4th. They are working on the overpass bridge to get there and therefore traffic jams happen on the way there and out. There were not many people sitting around Old Faithful when we arrived, so we found a seat. As Jef took care of some work calls, I wandered around to find out when the next eruption was predicted. It was for 12:12 and it was 11:40. The time is plus or minus ten minutes. Right before it erupted, the steam intensifies and you see a small spout of water. It started about five minutes before it was predicted and lasted several minutes. I was thrilled to witness it in person.
The drive from Old Faithful down to the South entrance does not have a ton of stops available. (We skipped West Thumb and Grant Village). There are some beautiful views along Lewis Lake including some waterfalls. It was a quick stop with a short hike up a hill to really get a good view of the falls. Some people climbed down what looked like a cliff to get near the water, but I was not that adventurous.
Our drive continued through the Grand Tetons and into Idaho. We will spend the rest of the week in Idaho.