Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Two days in northern Yellowstone Aug 6-7

August 6 and 7-----The plan was to take a day, drive and visit the north Yellowstone loop, which includes the 'Grand Canyon of Yellowstone ', then be on our way. Well, the funniest thing happened....
We discovered one of the coolest, neatest places on earth, and we didn't get much accomplished the first day, so we added another day to the Yellowstone adventure. The place we discovered, which we spent a lot of time at, was the 'Boiling River.' Actually, it is the Gardiner River, which meets the Yellowstone River in Gardiner, Montana. It flows through northern Yellowstone, and it is near the Mammoth Hot Springs, so I figure the crazy phenomenon that we experienced is due to this proximity to thermal activity. When Buddy and I were in Canyon Village on the day of our Yellowstone ride, we heard some foreigners speaking of a river that was cold in the middle, and warm in 'the other middle.' Okay, his English was confused, but I got the idea. I heard of the Boiling River on the campground flier, and put two and two together. The Boiling River, is a place where the Gardiner River has a huge flow of hot water coming into it from a stream that comes out from underneath a rock. I'm talking about 120 degrees, which is about 15-20 degrees hotter than a jacuzzi spa. The hot water does not stink like sulphur at all, like all the thermal activity in Yellowstone, and it pours into the main river in three places, all within about a 100 yards. If you sit in the right place near the shore, you can sit in cold water, warm water, or any combination of both. You can sit where your back is warm and your belly is cool, or where one leg is hot, and one is cool. No kidding. It is absolutely an amazing place. There is about a half mile trail along the river to the spot, and as you can imagine it gets busy. One nice thing about it though, is that there is a constant water flow of new, clean water, unlike a swimming pool or spa. The water is amazingly clean, like a mountain stream, because it is a mountain stream. Even Pam, who is particular about cleanliness and water temperature, loved it. We stayed for a couple of hours, and bathed and talked with people from all over the world, in the most comfortable water and air temperature you can imagine. If we got too hot or cold, we just moved about two feet to a better spot.

The rest of the the day, was spent checking out the Mammoth Hot Springs, and Buddy free climbed in an area of boulders, and that killed the day.  The Mammoth Hot Springs is a huge area of thermal activity, with wooden walkways all through it, and we covered it all.

The trail to "Boiling River"

Hiking down to Boiling River

Looking down at the boiling river

Boardwalk above the river

Relaxing in the river

Mike got too hot so he had to go out into the cold part of the river!

We weren't the only ones there!

This is the hot water flowing out of the ground and into the river

Pictures of the Mammoth Springs....

Panoramic!  Don't forget to click on it!


US Post Office in Mammoth Springs - it used to be part of Fort Yellowstone

One of the bear statues in front of Post Office

Cool little road thru a "garden of huge rocks"  Play time for Buddy!

Look closely and you can see our son climbing up the rocks

And at the top

Cool yellow bird..

Working on another climb....

The road actually hangs off of the mountain - a little scary in the motorhome, not so bad in Jeep!

You find the coolest things in Yellowstone!

Big horn sheep on the hillside

Heading back to the campsite!

      The next day we mounted up and  did the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. We spent quite a bit of time at  Tower Falls, which is the smallest of the three accessible falls, and its not that accessible, except to Buddy and I, who broke some boundary rules, and walked to the bottom of the falls, and spent some time there. It was off limits for a good reason, as it was not easily reached. It required some climbing, jumping, crossing of rapidly moving streams, and we weren't the only ones down there. It made for some really good pictures, videos, and memories, and we all lived to talk about it. We climbed back out and met Pam, who patiently waited above (eating ice cream!). We then hit the upper and lower falls, from every vantage point we could, including some strenuous walks to the brink of both falls, and a metal stair case that had over 600 steps down the side of a mountain, that were as steep as any I've ever seen. ( and we were above 7000 ft also). We couldn't get to the bottom of these falls because no one alive ever has, and they were huge, with large volumes of water going over them. The upper falls drops about 110 ft, and the lower falls drops over 150. They are the most impressive falls I've ever seen, except for Niagara Falls. We also hit all the overlooks from above, including Artists Point, and another Inspiration Point, which wasn't so inspiring because an earthquake in 1975 knocked some rocks off where the platform used to be.  We also visited all the other turnouts and walking trails we could. The most exciting part of the day happened on the way home, when we saw (barely), a grizzly bear and a cub, near the road. It was the fulfillment ( barely ) of a desire Pam really had, to see a bear. It was a sideshow, with all the people jockeying for safe position, and the park rangers controlling traffic, and controlling the crowds. A typical Yellowstone bear sighting, but it was cool!

Yellowstone River

A little road humor!

Tower Falls

Tower Falls

Tower Falls - the guys want to climb down to the bottom of the falls.....

Guess who is at the bottom of the falls???

Looking up from the bottom of Tower Falls

Upper Falls on Yellowstone River


Walking down Uncle Tom's trail to see the Lower Falls - check out the rainbow!

Another view of the rainbow - it comes from the spray from the falls

Lower Falls

Now we have to hike back up the trail!!!

My guys posing in front of the Lower Falls

Lower Falls

This is the trail we hiked down - all 328 iron steps!!

There actually was an artist painting at Artist Point

The many faces of Yellowstone...

We took this picture of Uncle Tom's trail from across the river.  You get a better idea of what it looks like.

As we were leaving Yellowstone, we had to pass through Mammoth Hot Springs and there was a herd of elk grazing on the lawn!

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