Monday, September 12, 2011

Sep 12 – North Rim of Yellowstone Grand Canyon

We have put enough km on the RV that it was time for an oil change. I found a place in town that could fit the RV in a service bay. The didn’t have a pit so I used the RV’s own jacks to raise the front up for easier access. It’s a pain to disconnect everything at the campground and then hook back up but we were done and ready to go to the park at about 10.

We encountered our worst animal jam yet. On the way back tonight I measured then length of the line of stopped cars at 3 miles. It blows my mind that people think that if they just turn on their 4 way flashers, it is OK to stop in the middle of the main access road into the park to take pictures of some elk. The park rangers finally got there to get people moving.

We headed back to the Grand Canyon area to go to the north rim lookouts that we missed the other day.

On the way there we did a side trip to the Virginia Cascades via a short one way road that loops back to the main highway.



It was kind of hard to see the actual cascades


The road was more interesting than the cascades.


Back at the Grand Canyon.


The first trail was called “Brink of the Lower Falls”. The trail is 3/8 of a mile long and drops 600 feet in elevation. Down was OK, up was much tougher. Lots of zigzags on the way to the viewing area.


All the photographers were jostling for position.


You can see the Uncle Tom’s Trail staircase on the opposite wall of the canyon,


A great view back down the canyon.


Next we went to imaginatively named “Lookout Point” for a look at the Lower Falls.


From here we went down another steep trail to the “Red Rock Lookout”. You can see the end of the trail that is a boardwalk across a ridge in the picture above.

An up close look at the remains of the eroded geyser basin on the way down.



One of the nicest viewpoints for a picture of the lower falls.



Some dark clouds were moving in.


Back up we go.


We headed south through the Hayden Valley to the Mud Volcano Area. This huge valley is where most of the bison spend their time. There were herds of them grazing all over the place. In other places of the park we would see people pulled over to take pictures with huge telephoto lens of a single bison over 500 yards away. They could easily come here and see hundreds, a lot of the time up close.


When we got to the Mud Volcano it started to rain. We went out for a bit (camera in a plastic bag) but then it got worse and started to hail as well. Back to the CRV.




We waited for about 20 minutes and decided we really didn’t need to see this area.


We are getting a bit burnt out after 9 straight days of being out all day. This is a big park so we do a lot of driving everyday. The drive back from Mud Volcano is about 80 km and took well over an hour and a half.

I think we are done with Yellowstone for this trip. The forecast for tomorrow is kind of lousy so it will be a rest and chore day before we head for the South Dakota Badlands and then home.

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