So we were way behind my schedule by Thursday, and some things had to be jettisoned. We never made it back to the Upper Geyser Basin to see Biscuit Basin. We didn’t see Lower Geyser Basin or Monument Geyser Basin. There are only so many geyser basins you can take after a while.
We started out a Lake Lodge for breakfast, and then we drove to Norris Geyser Basin. And I have to say that if you only have time for one geyser basin, other than Old Faithful and its surroundings, you should probably make it Norris. Norris had a wide range of different geothermal doodads, and some of the most beautiful ones we saw.
I definitely wanted to see the Grand Prismatic Spring, so we made a stop at the Middle Geyser Basin. What I learned from this is that the best way to photograph the Grand Prismatic Spring is not by visiting it. I think there is a kind of overlook which gives you some observational height, where I saw some people taking photos. But I didn’t know how to get to it. Anyway, being on the ground level to the Spring resulted in disappointing photos, to me.
There were other pretty pools at Middle Geyser Basin, too.
We turned back and headed north, stopping briefly at the Artists Paint Pots.
By the time we made it to Mammoth Hot Springs, it was very late for lunch so the nicer dining room was closed. We picked up some veggie burgers at the Terrace Grill and headed out to view the Mammoth Hot Springs formations. I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was fascinating. The area looks like what you would imagine to be another planet’s surface. We didn’t stay long, but I’m glad we stopped to see it because it is very different from the rest of the park.
We drove back past Tower-Roosevelt, which was already closed. Before we got very far, we had the quintessential Yellowstone experience that we had hitherto avoided: we got stuck in a bison jam.
We were on the lookout for grizzly bears, so we drove back and forth several times by a stream they were supposed to frequent but didn’t see any. Another thing we didn’t do much of was animal spotting. There was a section called Hayden Valley we would drive by all the time and it was full of crowds with telephoto lenses or telescopes, just waiting for wildlife to stroll along. It seemed like you could vacation at Yellowstone to view either geysers or animals the whole time, and you would never cross paths with someone who’d made the other choice.
We went back to our cabin and had a late snack at Lake Lodge. Although it was kind of out of the way, I really appreciated staying at Lake Yellowstone. It was much less crowded than the other areas, and a lot more relaxed. It made a pleasant place to return to each night.