Yellowstone Vacation – Part 2
Sunday, September 9, 2001
We hiked all of the trails in the Canyon area today. There were three hikes that were rated very difficult. The Park puts out trail guides that indicate that these trails are considered strenuous, and should not be attempted by anyone having heart problems or breathing difficulties. Fortunately, they did not indicate that Florida Flatlander / couch potatoes should not try to do all three in one day. Even if they had, we would probably have hiked them anyway.
The best ones were Red Rock Trail and Uncle Tom’s Trail, which was the most difficult, but rewarded us with the best view of the Lower Falls. While there, we met two girls, one of whom may be going to Japan for 5 or 6 weeks on business. We gave her several tips on things to see and do. She indicated that she is excited about going now that she talked to us. Her friend may go and visit, so they can travel together part of the time. We told them about Hagoromo Falls in northern Japan, and they seemed quite interested in going to see that waterfall, as well.
One of the three hardest trails called “The Brink of the Lower Falls” was not worth it to us. It takes you to the top of the waterfall. It is probably a matter of opinion, but we both like the view from the bottom of waterfalls better. We didn’t see very many people on these trails, probably due to their difficulty.
We also hiked easy trails such as Artist Point, Lookout View and Inspiration Point. These are very scenic and easily accessible. They gave great views of the “Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.” The mountain glowed gold and red. Unfortunately, you have to be there at specifically the right moments for your pictures to come out anywhere close to what one actually sees when viewing the canyon. While at one of the viewing points, we overhead a little girl ask her Mom if the park turned off the falls at night. Don’t you love the innocence of children?
We drove to Mammoth Hot Springs in the afternoon. Travertine minerals form steps with water flowing over them. The area had a savage beauty, and appeared to be still forming, even now.
While on a boardwalk near some of the travertine steps, we saw two elk, a buck and a doe. The buck had the 12-point antlers, and was incredibly powerful looking. Terry was going to walk a little closer to get a picture, but again the buck spotted Terry and didn’t like it. There were other people closer to the buck and the doe, but the buck definitely didn’t like Terry. Both the buck and the doe ended up charging toward the boardwalk to try to scare everyone away.
Later that evening we saw about 30 elk grazing on the hotel lawn. Terry was going to try to take a picture from behind a car. And in the midst of a crowd of people, the buck spotted Terry, and put an evil eye bead on Terry that indicated he should stay back.
We asked one of the park rangers if they thought it was because Terry has that “leader of the pack” personality, or if it was because he had on a red jacket. The ranger said she did not know.
We left and drove to Gardiner, Montana, which is a small town outside the north entrance to Yellowstone. We needed more 100-speed film which was not available in the park. We ate dinner at the Park Street Grill, and it was excellent. That was probably because Gardiner is not in Wyoming. It was the first good food that we have had since arriving.
Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel was originally built in 1911. The rooms were old, but in good shape. That evening we sat in front of the fireplace in the lobby and drank hot chocolate. What a relaxing way to end to a very busy day!
We’ve noticed that many of the restaurant workers are from Communist-bloc countries. Additionally there were quite a few Oriental and German tourist in Yellowstone. But there weren’t many children in the park, as they have returned to school.
To be continued…