After entering Yellowstone National Park traffic slowed to a crawl. Cars were pulled off to the side of the road and the faint sound of camera shutters were snapping. A small herd of bison were taking their leisurely stroll for the day and the park visitors were consumed by the opportunity of capturing a photo of these large mammals.
Brave, yet dimwitted people, were literally taking their lives into their hands as they encroached upon the herd. People will never learn. A safe distance and a zoom lens is all you need… to stay alive.
I headed south once inside the park, stopping at the Fountain Paint Pots. The wooden boardwalk loop trail is about a half of a mile around (.8 km). The area consists of geysers, hot springs, fumaroles and mud pots. The Spasm Geyser is probably the most entertaining part of the walk. The geyser lives up to its name, spouting off in a somewhat twitchy manner.
Because it is Yellowstone and somewhat required I made a stop at Old Faithful. I have seen the famous geyser many times but viewing Old Faithful again never hurt anyone. It was also near lunch time so I grabbed myself a sandwich and a beer from the general store and found myself a prime spot to view Old Faithful.
I saw no restrictions posted regarding alcohol consumption while on the boardwalk near Old Faithful so I took a beer selfie. I don’t know, is that a thing? I don’t like to take actual selfies but if you were to scroll through my phone you will find that I do take several photos of beer. Of course you will also find several photos of my dogs as well as all the places I drag them too. Speaking of dogs, dogs are welcomed on the boardwalk at Old Faithful. Next time I have Boomer and Jovi in the area we will for sure be taking advantage of this opportunity. If the Park Service allows dogs to go anywhere in a national park I like to take advantage of it.
Once Old Faithful had done her thing I packed up and moved on to the next area in the park that I was visiting, the Yellowstone West Thumb area. I have visited Yellowstone National Park several times but had never ventured into the West Thumb part. Or if I have I do not remember doing so. This is where my dad comes into play. He reminds me if I have been somewhere that I think I have not. Hey, I can’t remember everything from my childhood!
Although Old Faithful Geyser is probably one of the most photographed sites in Yellowstone National Park there was another photo running around that had caught my eye. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The canyon’s size pales in comparison to the actual Grand Canyon, but in my opinion is far more beautiful. There are two main waterfalls, Upper Falls and Lower Falls, that are found in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Both can be viewed from overlooks from either side of the road however I believe the Lower Falls is a must view from Artist Point off of the South Rim Road.
I will admit, the photos that I had seen of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, specifically the lower falls looked somewhat unbelievable. Some of the photos I had seen looked like someone went a little too heavy-handed with the Instagram filter. I am not a huge fan of filters but I do believe a little bit of editing is always necessary.
I stopped first at the Upper Falls. A mad amount of water flowed over the cliff pairing up with a loud roaring sound. A classic waterfall. Located near the Upper Falls is the South Rim Hiking Trail that traces the rim of the canyon. If followed to the end of the trail it will take you to Artist Point. I walked along the somewhat busy trail taking in the views of the Upper Falls and the canyon below. It was late in the afternoon and the sun was beginning to set so I decided to drive, not walk to Artist Point.
When I arrived to Artist Point my suspicions regarding the over-filtered photos were validated. Although the richness of color was there, the colors were not as saturated as some photos had led me to believe. Don’t get me wrong, the canyon is still beautiful and worthy of ogling. The stunning Lower Falls and Yellowstone River are enough to make you give up adding filters to your photos all together.
The last stop on the tour was the Yellowstone West Thumb, located in the western part of Yellowstone Lake. And while Yellowstone Lake is a showstopper the West Thumb Geyser Basin is the real reason you will be stopping.
Rich, bold colors of teals, oranges and yellows lay hidden under the steam boiling off from the hot springs.
A ½ mile (.04 km) wooden boardwalk leads you around the different geysers and hot springs with the Yellowstone Lake as your backdrop. Sometimes it is unfair how breathtaking a place can be. Yellowstone is always sharing with us how unfair life can be by showing off just how amazingly gorgeous it is.