Friday, September 29, 2006
So we pull the quick UTurn and dash back towards the Norris area where we can get through to the Canyon area of the park. The Canyon area features the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, as well as two large waterfalls and some great overlooks. Off we went with daylight fading to see the rest of the park.
As we passed through the Norris area, we stopped briefly to evaluate the campground. Jill & I have learned that campgrounds at National Parks are slightly less noisy than a Frat house during Rush, but with little daylight our hands were pretty much tied. The Norris campground was surprisingly empty, and pretty scenic. We didn't grab a spot, but we made note of it so we could compare the conditions in the Canyon area and make a decision.
As we started driving to the Canyon area, it was quite evident we were gaining elevation quickly. Snow was much more prevalent, and the outside temp was dropping quickly. This may make our decision that much easier, especially consider tonight was supposed to be even colder than the previous night we had spent.
On our way we got stuck in one of the traffic jams I mentioned in an earlier post...
When the traffic jam broke up, we found ourselves with our first views of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. We stopped at several different vistas and proceeded to get great views of Upper and Lower Falls. With the exception of Niagara Falls, Lower Falls is probably the biggest waterfall I've seen, impressive setting for sure.
After seeing the Canyon area attractions, we made the call to forgo back country and head back to the Norris area to setup camp there. We arrived in plenty of time to get camp setup and get dinner cooked before the sunlight faded. As we had a surprisingly scrumptious dinner of beef stew and pasta primavera, Jill pointed out some thermal features just a bit north of our campsite.
Shortly after dinner we hiked up to go check out the nearby thermal features. A bit of a tricky hike led us to an open field where we saw this feature pictured below. The colors don't even look like something that should exist on this planet, which seemed to be pretty typical of Yellowstone.
After getting back from our brief hike, we settled in for the night. Of course as we started to get ready for sleep the campground was invaded by masses of people scrambling for a place to stay for the evening. Suddenly our open area where we setup camp was surrounded by bumbling campers trying to solve the mysteries of setting up there tents in the dark.
Note to self: AVOID CAMPGROUNDS AT ALL COSTS
After a couple hours, Jill & I both overcame the noises and got to sleep. What we would realize the following morning was that even though we chose lower elevation, we should have realized camping that near a stream would make for a chilly evening. We both mentioned the cold the next morning as we packed up camp and planned a course for Grand Teton National Park where our we would turn the adventure knob straight past 10 all the way to 11.
More to follow...