Today we had the chance to take our time and meander through Yellowstone and look at all the thermal pools and geysers. Immediately south of Mammoth Hot Springs is a group of thermal pools, and a dormant geyser called Liberty Cap. This was our first walk near the thermal activity and Spencer was quick to announce his dislike for the smell. We avoided telling him that the smell of sulphur is like the smell of rotten eggs. He already did not like eggs, so I didn’t want this to be the cause of him never eating eggs again. (Later on in the day a sign would give away this secret info). There is also a great little drive called the Upper Terrace Loop. We again were using our helmet communicators to listen to the Gypsy Guide app, so we could hear all sorts of fun and interesting info about the area.
After that we continued to the east side of the Grand Loop. Our next stop would be to take a look at the petrified tree. There is a large metal fence around it, because over the years people have been vandalizing it or stealing pieces for a souvenir. Next we stopped at Tower Junction for gas, then continued on to Canyon Village for for lunch and souvenir shopping of our own. The kids decided on a “bag of rocks”. Yes that’s right. A bag of rocks. They have come to love the little displays of different rocks at gift shops where you can fill a bag with as many rocks as you can for one price. I had been the mean mom and kept refusing to buy them rocks. But I gave in this time because even I had to admit the rocks were really pretty, and the price was cheaper than we had seen elsewhere.
Back to the road trip. Next stop was the Brink of the Lower Falls. A steep downhill hike to a viewing point were you are literally right at the edge of the top of the waterfall. Such a mesmerizing spot to look at the water of Yellowstone River rushing over the rocks. The walls of the valley are also brightly colored in different hues from the minerals and water.
Our home for the night would be the beautiful and historic Old Faithful Inn. I had forgotten how large it was (I forgot a lot about that trip 10 years ago, and I am blaming it on pregnancy brain). The inside of the Inn was made of real trees that had been shaped by nature, to make the decorative supports and handrails. We arrived just before dark and enjoyed a dinner in the restaurant. The power went out during our meal in the back section, and did not come back on. As the waitress stated, “the fun of working in a building that’s really old”.
The next day we explored all the geysers around the inn, then headed back west and north to find some more that we had passed the previous day. We had great luck with catching some of the smaller and medium sized geysers erupting. To be honest, the highlight of the day was not Old Faithful. We took the driving loop into Lower Geyser Basin, again thanks to the GypsyGuide app. We brought lunch and sat in front of the Great Fountain Geyser. We sat for about an hour but it was worth the wait. We had a fantastic show as it shot up water and steam for over 7 minutes. And we saw the White Dome Geyser erupt twice while we were there.
We had planned to meet our friends Jeniffer and her daughter Fiona for dinner, so we headed south to Lewis Lake. Dinner was at the Pizzeria at Leeks Marina. When we got there the lake and sky looked beautiful. But as we waited for our pizza, the weather definitely took a turn for the worse. Thunder, lightening, wind and rain. Customers went inside for cover, and we decided that we should wait the storm out instead of riding. We were gifted with a full rainbow, and some cloud formations I have never witnessed before. We later learned that they are called Mammatus clouds. Our picture is pretty good, but if you want, check out Google Images for some amazing examples of these clouds.
We had lost time and still needed to get to the Tetons. We said our goodbyes and hit the road. Wouldn’t you know it, we got to add another animal sighting. A mother moose and her baby. The kids were so excited to see them. The next 3 days would would be high milage pushes through the desert to get back home, so it was nice to have our last day in Yellowstone be so unique and memorable.