• Wendell

Day 19 - Yellowstone

Tuesday - September 24, 2019

We decided to stay in the Old Faithful area today. I woke around 4:00 AM this morning and decided to try to download some trail maps on AllTrails, and it worked. There was still not enough bandwidth to use the phone as a hotspot, but I did download about 6 maps.

We left a little before 8:00 AM for Misty Falls trail-head. We opted to hike the loop which is a little over three miles and rated moderate on AllTrails. It has almost 1000 feet elevation change. Looking at the map and elevation table, it appeared it would be best to hike the loop clockwise. Boy, was that a good decision.

Looking down the Firehole river to the Lower Geyser Basin.

Once we reached the trail-head, which was about .25 miles it was only .7 miles to the falls. It was really an easy hike to the falls. I was slightly concerned about a grizzle encounter. There were multiple warning signs and the ranger program we attended last night didn't help ease my feelings. Fortunately we did not encounter any bears on the hike, but less than a half-mile in, we found ample evidence of a bear population. There were many trees with claw marks and completely de-barked. I kept very vigilant the entire hike.

I began to wish I had rented a bear spray canister. This tree had marks over 7 feet from the ground - and they were fresh marks.

After the falls, the trail began a steep, switch-backed climb. We took our time and it really wasn't too difficult.

There are several reasons to get out early to hike, one being the lack of fellow hikers. This is especially true on the longer and more difficult trails. There were several groups at the parking area when we arrived, but they were all just walking the boardwalk around the geysers and hot pools. No one else ventured onto the trail. We didn't see another hiker until we were almost down the opposite side of the mountain. We met a group of about 10 persons hiking the trail counter-clockwise. They were already huffing and puffing. I don't know if they made it to the top or not.

This was a pretty tough hike. There were steep switch backs, narrow ledges and sheer drops, in addition to the rock slides you had to negotiate. I can say that Kay is a trooper. No complaints and she said it was the best hike we have made so far.

A good view of the Lower Geyser Basin.

This is a photo from the overlook down to the parking lot. You can see the cars in the far left of the frame. The next photo shows the overlook bluff taken from the parking lot.

and finally a close up of the Bluff from the parking lot -

After doing the Misty Falls trail, we drove an additional three miles up the road to the Grand Prismatic Hot-springs trail. This trail was an in and out trail which was 1.6 miles. From where we had to park it was actually over two miles. The parking area was full and so was the trail. After the wonderful hike we had earlier, this hike was a real letdown. It was crowded because it was short and easy. Anyway this got our 5+ miles in today.

And we saw another buffalo!

It was only 11:30 so still too early for lunch. We decided to go by the General Store and see what they had. It was surprisingly well stocked. I picked up a 12 pack of Moose Drool beer and a half-gallon of milk. We returned to the Cabin to rest a while before lunch.

About 1:30 we decided to walk down to the Yellowstone Inn to see the lunch menu. It turned out it was a buffet, which neither Kay or I care for. It was also $18 per person. We then walked down to the Snow Lodge to check out their full restaurant. It was closed. They only serve breakfast and dinner. This is the problem, with no phone service and no internet, you don't know what the hours or the menus are.

We ended up back at the General Store grill and had a flat bread pizza. It was really good, just not what we had planed on.

Going to rest up for a while and might do one of the geyser trails here at the Old Faithful Lodge.

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