Day 7; Grizzlies, Bison, Moose, Elk and a Canyon!
Trip Start Jul 22, 2009
32Trip End Aug 23, 2009
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We were up early and out of the house to be in the park by 8.30am. We had decided to do the Northern Loop today, there was so much to cram in.
We passed our friendly Bald Eagle on the way in, then our first stop was at the Norris Basin. We all loved this, I much preferred it to the Upper Basin, it was much quieter, but still quite eerie.
We stopped to see a huge moose at the side of the road, and then continued on towards Mammoth Hot Springs, which we didn't find as spectacular as expected.
We then left the park, to visit the tiny town of Gardiner, Montana
On our way back through the park, we spotted a traffic jam at the side of the road, this can only mean one thing - wild life! We were all so excited to spot a huge grizzly, thankfully ath the other side of a lake. We watched him drink from the water, and then have a little swim to cool off, then amble back up the mountain.
We headed out towards the Lamarr Valley, which is known as the Serengeti of America. We saw huge herds of bison, and spotted another grizzly, this one a lot closer. He wandered up the mountain to a rock, where he had a little stretch, and then back down again. Wow, what a huge powerful animal, I wouldn't like to try to outrun him! A grizzly sighting causes chaos, the road just stops, with RV's etc just stopping, people climbing onto roofs, sharing binocolars etc. When the grizzly goes, so does the touriists, and the road continues as normal
We then turned back from the beautiful Lamarr Valley, and headed towards the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, which I had been desperate to see. We took the road up towards the 10,000 ft Mount washburn, and passed huge pockets of ice. We had had a stunning hot day, with beautiful blue sky, but up here the temperature dropped, and we bagan to feel our first effects of altitude sickness; mild racing heart beats. Nothing as bad as Mammoth Lakes last year though.
We reached the Grand Canyon of the Yellwostone at about 7pm, along with coachloads of noisy Chinese tourists! The view from Artists Point was just Wow! This is the most famous viewpoint of the Lower Falls, where the Yellowstone River plummets 308ft, that's twice the height of Niagra Falls. The Lower Falls are just breathtaking. We then went on to the North Rim to look at the Upper Falls, which are just as fantastic, at 109 ft. The Canyon walls are a sheer 1000 foot drop. I think we were lucky to see them during early evening, when there were not so many people; I think it would have been chaos earlier on in the day, as this is the second most popular sight after Old Faithful.
We got back to the house, at about 9.30pm; knackered, but happy. It had been a good day. The kids were asleep within minutes! Tomorrow needs to be an easier day!