Day 1 in Yellowstone

Trip Start Jul 24, 2010
Trip End Aug 03, 2010

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Where I stayed
Madison Campground

Flag of United States  , Montana
Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We got up at 5:30, took down the tent, showered and were on our way into Yellowstone by 6:20.  We jumped out and took a quick look at Moose Falls.  Then a couple miles later we jumped out in the roat to take a picture looking back at the Tetons.  Next we jumped out at Lewis Falls.  There was a fly fisherman than added nicely to the picture.  We crossed the Continental Divide three times ove the course of the next few miles.  Our 1st major stop was West Thumb Geyser Basin.  This trail was only .6 miles long but there were easily more than 20 attractions including pools, springs, and geysers.  Next we made a quick geocaching stop at Ida Lake.  The entire lake was covered by lilly pads with yellow flowers. Nest we jumped  out at Kepler Cascades and there were a couple of elk right in the road.  Our next stop was Old Faithful and we were there in time for the 8:30 am eruption.  Next we did Geyser Hill trail which was about one mile and much to our suprise there was a huge bull elk right there munching away at the thermal waters.  Next we made our way to Observation Point.  This gave a view of Old Faithful from way above.  We had to wait about 15 minutes but it was a much better view of the geyser.  This trail was 1.6 miles total.  We did a long tail all the way to Morning Glory Pool.  The total out and back was 2.5 miles.  Morning Glory was not nearly as colorful as I was hoping, but over the years it has been damaged by people throwing things in it.  We went to the famous lodge but it was very crowded.  We headed to Biscuit Basin and at lunch on a picnic table there.  There were boardwalks to protect your feet from the boiling water features.  It was 2.4 miles round trip to do the Mystic Falls waterfall and it was well worth it.  Miles got close to the falls but I stayed back and got pictures.  We planned on stopping at the Grand Prismatic Springs but there was no place to park so we drove the couple ile Firehole Lake Drive.  We happened to be driving by as White Geyser was eruption.  Then we walked the very short Fountain Paint Pot look which could not have been more than 1/2 mile.  We went back to check out the Grand Prismatic Springs.  They really should build an overlook tower.  I guess it is pretty amazing from the air.  We wanted to do the Firehole Canyon loop because Miles was going to swim.  The road was closed, so we along with about 5 other carloads of people decided to walk back to the water.  A ranger met us though and told us that the area was completely closed for an investigation.  We drove back to the Firehole Cascades and Miles got to cool off there.  He said the water was cold with spurts of warm.  We went to the Madison info center to get a lttle more info about the road closures.  We got to our  campsite amoung a bunch of campers and next to the bathrooms.  It was a clean bathroom so this was actually very convinient.  We boiled water, then ate spaghetti which was suprisingly good.  Even though it had been a long day, we decided that if we wanted to get a good start on getting to the canyons the next day we really need to go do a little more exploring.  After dinner we set out to the Artist Paint Pots and did that 1.2 mile loop trail.  Then we drove all the way to Norris and did both the .5 mile and 1.5 mile geyser basin trail.  This geyser basin is more active and more acidic than any other in Yellowstone.  Here we saw Steamboat Geyser.  It last erupted May 23rd, 2005 but when it does erupt it is the World's highest between 300-400 ft.  We stopped at a picnic area so I could go to the bathroom and there were 4 bull elk hanging out by the water.  We were pretty lucky on our way back to only have to wait about 15 minutes for our side of the road to open back.  We spotted a couple of bison, and before we knew it several other cars had stopped too.  We conintued past the campground in search of wildlife.  We saw a few more bison and some elk but it got too dark.  This was our latest night yet, but we didn't have to get up early because the road was completly closed until 8:00 am. 
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