Getting Familiar With Yellowstone
We started our visit to Yellowstone National Park without any real agenda. We decided to head out towards Mammoth Hot Springs and get a glimpse of the park. Well, we didn’t get anywhere near Mammoth, but we had a really great day!
When researching Yellowstone, it becomes apparent that bison are a pretty common thing to experience. In fact “Bison Jams” are a thing here, where bison wander onto the road and can delay traffic for extended periods of time. Regardless, we were pretty excited to see a bison shortly after entering the park. We weren’t the only visitors happy to see that bison though! People actually stopping in the middle of the road to view this massive creature. So, not only did we see the bison shortly after entering the park, we also got to experience the traffic through this park!
The beauty and open pristine feeling hit us almost immediately today. Just driving along the Madison River and Gibbon River is enough to mak a person appreciate this awesome park. The air quality was amazing today, even with the Lone Star Fire burning down below the Old Faithful area. There are many pullouts, picnic areas, and view points to break up the drive, so many in fact that you can spend an entire day not getting very far!
This was our first attraction, other than just pulling over to take it all in. The first thing that struck us here was the massive amount of people and shortage of parking. After finding a place to park, we were happy we made the stop. Gibbon Falls is worth seeing, and, as we learned throughout the day, the park service does a really great job of creating aesthetically pleasing and well planned experience when viewing the many attractions throughout Yellowstone. Unfortunately, visitors still climb over barriers and ignore the “Stay on Path” signs that are posted everywhere. The staff at tour National Parks do a fantastic job keeping the attractions clean and maintained for us to enjoy. Although, we discovered it is not a pleasant experience when they have to clean the ‘restroom’ facilities at these attractions. The air is not exactly pristine when that poor guy has to clean those things out!
We were pretty much in awe at this amazing geothermal area. We took the time to wall the loops around this area and were rewarded with not only some fascinating geothermal features, bus some incredible views as well. The geothermal areas have great boardwalks that create loops to walk around the areas without putting visitors in danger. Apparently the ground surface in these areas is unstable and can collapse at any time. In the past, visitors at Yellowstone have been seriously injured and some have perished from the hazards that can be experienced in these places.
Norris Geyser Basin
As we continued along the drive we came to Norris Geyser Basin. Norris Basin is another great walkabout with boardwalks making a safe way to observe all the hot pools and geysers in this area. We are seeing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic with the limited facilities that are open, which we were prepared for. The book store was open though, we picked up a magnet for our RV reffigerator where we have several that we have accumulated in our travels.
Firehole Canyon Drive
This little side trip is a 2 mile drive going through a pretty little rock walled canyon around the Firehole River, including Firehole Falls. We had a small Covid incident and thought we had lost Liz’s mask at one of out stops to take in the view, so we got to do this side trip twice. We drove around again to look for the mask only to discover it was in the car the entire time. The Dynamic Dork Duo.
Lower Geyser Basin
As we drove down the main road we could see another geyser basin across a large meadow. There was a geyser erupting so we pulled in to the parking area to check it out. Lower Geyser Basin is also where Fountain Paintpot is. We had time to do the loop around the paintpot section and still see the erupting geyser.
We had read that ‘once you see a geyser of hot pool, you have seen them all.” We diagree with that! Each hot pool and geyser has it’s own unique appearance and features. We look forward to visiting more of these geothermal wonders!