Yellowstone National Park, Part 3

Alas, we have finally been vanquished by the frozen north. Our original plan was to spend four days in Glacier National Park (northwest Montana), but they’ve received 200% normal snowfall this year and many of the good trails are buried 4 feet deep.

Then we thought we’d try Rocky Mountain National Park down in Colorado. We called RMNP this morning, and apparently they’ve received RECORD BREAKING snow this year [insert witty Al Gore joke].

Plan C? Make like Napoleon Bonaparte and retreat to warmer climes with our tails between our legs. As of now, we hope to leave either tomorrow or the next day for Grand Canyon National Park.

But this post is about our day in Yellowstone:

Our plan for Saturday was to hike some trails in the Tower Area of the park. When we stopped at the ranger station, however, we learned that a rockslide had completely shut down the Mammoth-Tower road.

Instead, we stumbled upon the Sentinel Meadows trail a few miles north of Old Faithful. We initially thought we’d hike a few miles and be back for lunch, but ended up going 11.3 miles to Fairy Falls and Imperial Geyser. Since the trail was wet, soggy, and remote, we had it almost completely to ourselves.

Morning snow

Fairy Falls

Imperial Geyser

I really enjoyed the trail, since it gave us a bit of everything: hot springs, waterfalls, marshes, rivers, pine forests, and open fields. With the exception of two brief but heavy snow storms, the rest of the day was nice and sunny.

Afternoon snow

Hiking alongside hot springs

Staying high and dry

At one point we found ourselves cornered by a small group of bison. We hugged the tree-line in case they decided to get aggressive.

Grazing bison

Waiting for them to leave

Yep. I stared down the bison, and the bison blinked first. They left us alone.

As we approached the falls, the ground became completely saturated. A crude walkway helped with some areas, but we still ended up with a few slippery stream crossings.

Crossing a footbridge

Stream crossing

We finished the hike (I insisted on calling it a “morning stroll”) around 4:00pm, made some sandwiches for lunch, and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening in the Old Faithful area.

We hiked another 3.0 miles through a geyser basin to see some of the more well-known landmarks (Morning Glory, Grotto geyser, Daisy geyser, etc.).

Morning Glory hot spring

Daisy geyser

We arrived at the Daisy geyser 48 minutes after it was due to go off, and ended up sitting there for another hour before it finally started spraying. By then all the expectant onlookers had given up, except for us and another 8 or 10 people.

Approximate Total Distance: 14.3 miles

(Bringing the total to 36.6 miles for our 2.5 days in Yellowstone)

Published in: on May 29, 2011 at 2:20 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Sounds like a very cool day. Too bad about the snow conditions. That is a bummer. I am enjoying this blog and the pictures very much. Keep up the great commentary!

  2. Another nice post. The pics are National Geographic caliber and you have always had a knack for writing. I’m thinking your hiking boots will need to “air out” or be replaced before Horn Creek! Ha! Ha!

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