Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024
Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hail Yeah -- Mon., Aug. 6

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming:

At 7:15 a.m. we hopped in “The Beast” and set out to see Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Since it is only 17 miles from our campsite, we figured we didn’t have to hike all the trails today.

Uncle Tom’s Point on the South Rim Drive was our first hike. After the short stroll to the viewpoint for Upper Falls, we went down 500 ft. in 328 steps in one-half mile. (Our early morning stair-stepper exercise!) The view of Lower Falls from this vantage point is wonderful. In the morning, you can catch a rainbow in the mist at the bottom of the falls. The mist is so strong from the falls that it creates smaller falls in the rock immediately downriver.

Upper Falls

The stairs. You can see through them.

Lower Falls

Of course what goes down must go back up. That’s when it gets really tough. 328 steps UP is a lot! Thankfully, benches are strategically placed so you can rest on the way up.

We hiked back to the car. Three young white-tail deer bucks were at the upper overlook area. I took a few photos. 

From there, we drove to Artist’s Point. From Artist’s Point you see Upper Falls and the canyon below the falls with all its colors: yellow, white, grey, salmon, brown. I couldn’t stop taking pictures…so beautiful.

Lower Falls, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Love the colors and lines on this tree trunk.

The drive along the North Rim offered some pull-outs, but after the stair-stepper on the South Rim, I didn’t feel like doing any of the longer hikes into the canyon today. We’ll save those for another day.

The Canyon Education Center’s main topic is volcanology. For the better part of an hour, we read exhibits and watched two videos. Geology is such an interesting topic.

From the Canyon area, we drove north to Tower Falls. There’s road construction but no stoppage of traffic when we went through. Tower Falls’ parking lot was full; however we found a space quickly when someone pulled out. Tower Falls is very pretty, but not our favorite. The hike is 150 yards. Short. 

Tower Falls.
Since neither of us had been to Roosevelt Lodge, we stopped in and looked around. No exhibits or anything to hold our attention so we left in a few minutes.

From Roosevelt, we continued on around the Upper Loop Road to Mammoth Hot Springs. We stopped at Undine Falls which is a roadside pullout to view a lovely, three-tiered waterfall.

Undine Falls--three tiers!
At Mammoth Hot Springs numerous elk were lying down on the grass just hangin’ out. The park ranger kept shooing dangerously close people away from the elk.

Bob sat in the Beast and made phone calls for work while I photographed elk (with a telephoto), and visited the Albright Visitor Center and Museum. The theme of the museum in Mammoth Hot Springs is the early history of Yellowstone.

When I finished in the museum I headed back to the Beast and found Bob heading toward the museum. He handed the keys to me as he wanted to see the museum. I went back to the truck and got on his Smartphone which had an internet signal and was able to approve comments for the blog.

When Bob came back to the truck we headed south toward Norris Geyser Basin. Along the way we stopped at points of interest: Sheepeater Cliffs, Obsidian Mountain, Yellowstone River, and some steam vents.

Sheepeater Cliff.

So many faces to Yellowstone. This is one of many meadows.
At the intersection in the Norris area, we turned east to head back through Canyon to the 5er. The Virginia Cascades Road, a one-way, 2-1/2 mile scenic drive, was where we headed next. This drive is not for the faint of heart. A narrow road and steep drop-off into a deep canyon make this a nail biter. Virginia Cascades is a pretty waterfall along the road, followed by Virginia Meadows. 

Virginia Cascades.
In a number of places today, we heard loud, rolling thunder, saw some lightning and even had a few drops of rain here and there. We pulled into our campsite, unloaded the pick-up and walked in the 5er door. More thunder…Loud thunder! Within a matter of minutes, hail was pounding down. Not big hail, pea-sized hail. We love the sound of rain or hail on the 5er (as long as it’s not denting or breaking anything).

Wildlife from last night and today: Bats, scrawny kit fox, herd of bison, four young white-tailed bucks, white pelicans, herd of elk, squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks.

Plan for tomorrow: 10K (6.2 mi.) Volkswalk to the summit of Mt.Washburn, 10,243’. The vertical elevation gain on the walk is 1,400’. At the top of Mt. Washburn are a working fire lookout (in summer only), outhouse, guest logbook, interpretive geology displays, and a powerful telescope in the sheltered, ground-level, observation room. This hike is one of the most popular in the park, so we will be there early to get a parking space at the trailhead. Weather for tomorrow is predicted to be 85 degrees with no chance of thunderstorms.

Tonight we’re paying for internet again, so we’re off. Bob has work to send in and I can post my blog. Woo hoo.

Travel Bug out.


  1. I can't wait until we make it to that part of the world. Have fun you guys!

  2. Enjoy the trip to the top of Mt Wasburn. The views are great. We did the hike in05 with 6 scouts.

  3. Now that is a waterfall. I love shooting waterfalls. The best time for waterfall photos in Georgia is spring. I am making a list of places for us to visit while we are in Wellington, CO next spring.
    Travel safe.


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