6. Five National Parks…Montana, Canada, Wyoming & Colorado 8.2011

Monday 8.8  

Today we were going to explore the lower loop of Yellowstone.  The park roads look similar to a figure 8...yesterday we’d discovered the upper loop.  Our tour today took us to my fav Yellowstone feature...the Grand Canyon & it’s amazing waterfalls.  We actually spent about 4 hours checking out the north & then the south rim of the canyon....it’s breathtaking & incredible to see the force & power of the water....I took over 100 pics...here’s a few of them

“Uncle Toms Trail” named after one of the original Grand Canyon guides in 1900, was really an interesting trail...you have to walk down 328 metal steps that are bolted to the side of the canyon wall.  A real lung, quad & knee buster....but such amazing views of the falls & canyon!!!  sooo worth it!

After hours of hiking up & down checking out the canyon, we drove down to the southern end along the beautiful Hayden valley.  I have fallen in love with these valleys....while there are no BIG mountains here, the Yellowstone River is pristine & perfect flowing snake like through the valleys.  

With all the geological formations, geysers, mud pots, etc. the valleys really stick out as very special.  I found it so relaxing & peaceful to just sit, binoculars close by but not always in use & watch, endlessly, the valleys.  I never seem to slow down very much & really enjoy that my personality leads me to always be on the go, moving, filled with energy...not slowing down much...so it was surprising that I enjoyed this non-activity sooooo much....I really love these lush & wonderful valleys

With all the beautiful natural wonders we’ve seen today, we also stopped, briefly, & saw the weird   geological features that are unique to Yellowstone....my personal favorite is the center pic....called the Dragon’s Spring....this not only bubbled but made this great dragon-like belching noise...it was pretty cool.  And, whats a trip to Yellowstone without seeing Old Faithful...we arrived just before dark & only about 30 or 40 other people were there (if you’ve never been to this attraction, this natural feature is surrounded by boarded walkways & permanent seating for about 500 people...& yes, there are days the seats are full & people are standing in the back!...but, not this evening)

Yellowstone is so big there is a ton of lodging, although we keep hearing how it books up at least a year in advance.  I didn’t choose to photograph the “modern” or icky looking ones because I wouldn’t want to stay in them...but I do love the more traditional & original (even if they’ve been restored) national park lodges.  The one above is the Roosevelt Lodge...& while the outside wasn’t that impressive, the inside was wonderful

This is the Lake Lodge...it was very cool too....& this was the view from the front porch is of Yellowstone Lake...the largest mountain lake in North America...can’t beat that!

And, last but not least, the most beautiful, is the Old Faithful Lodge....just amazing (& I loved the red doors too!)

So, we headed all the way back to our camp site...it was about 11pm by the time we made it into the tent, & quickly fell asleep to rain pattering on the outside of the tent

Danny & I have had a ton of discussion about this park, our visit here, management of the park, the people that come here, the natural attractions, the wildlife, etc.  While we’ve enjoyed so much about this park, it’s not going to be high on my list to re-visit....but it’s been a wonderful 2 days

Tomorrow, we’ll pack up, probably give our site to the earliest stalker that asks, & head south....to my favorite national park....this will be my 4th time to visit...& I CAN’T WAIT  to get back to the big mountains &

Grand Teton National Park

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