Tales From The Camping House

Tales From The Camping House

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Back to the Canyon

We got an early start this morning and decided to go back to the Yellowstone Canyon area to go to the areas we had missed the other day.

We took the North Rim Drive parking at Lookout Point and beginning the switchbacks and steps to Red Rock Point.

 It is a paved but very steep trail of about 1 miles round trip.  It had rained yesterday and parts of the trail were wet.  I sure had wished I had brought my hiking poles with me.  There were parts of the trail that had to be taken slowly because it was so steep and winding.  The view down was beautiful.

Towards the end, there are groups of wooden stairs and the view of the lower falls.

We reached the last platform and were greeted with pounding of the water of the Yellowstone.  Osprey flew over the falls.  It was gorgeous!  The early morning lighting formed a rainbow at the bottom of the falls.

 We spent quite a bit of time admiring the beauty and then made the much harder hike back up.  We reached the top and then walked the short trail the other way to Lookout Point.  There were more spectacular views!

We left Lookout Point, completed the North Rim Trail and headed back to the Brink of the Upper Falls.  From there, we took another trail that led to Crystal Falls.  This trail was definitely not traveled much and there were signs stating this was Bear Country.  I began my clapping and chanting of No Bears, No Bears so we would not run across any by surprise.  It was a short walk and we came to Crystal Falls which drops 129 feet in three stages.  We took the right fork first to see the view of the falls and then went back and took the left fork which crossed over the top of the falls. It always amazes me how there are places in Yellowstone that are wall to wall people, but then you can go off on another trail and there is absolutely no one!

We got back to the car and continued toward Tower Junction.  We stopped at one of the many turnouts to admire the views.

Our next stop was the 132 foot Tower Fall.  When we were here in 1982, there was a large boulder right at the top of the waterfall.  It fell in 1986.  In fact, members of the 1871 Hayden expedition placed bets on when it would fall.  So, it was balanced there for quite awhile.

Tower Fall is the only waterfall in the park officially called "fall" rather than "falls", maybe, because it is one clean drop to the creek below.

We continued the drive passing these basalt columns that were formed when the lava flowed, stopeed, cooled enough to become solid, and then continued to cool and shrink.

We came to the Tower-Roosevelt Junction and stopped at the Roosevelt Lodge for a little while, then continued down the road.  We were lucky today was Saturday, so the road construction was not going on today.

Our next stop was the Petrified Tree.  We didn't know there were petrified trees in Yellowstone!  This happened 50 million years ago.  In fact, Yellowstone has more well-preserved upright trees than any other known locality.  At this spot, there used to be three trees, but tourists would chop away bits for souvenirs prompting the forest service to build a fence around this last one.

Next, we came to Blacktail Deer Plateau Drive, a 7 mile unpaved one-way road following a former tourist road.

We climbed and weaved the road seeing more awesome views.

Our last stop was Undine Falls, a triple waterfall dropping a total over 100 feet.

 We came back around to Mammoth Junction stopping to view yellow-bellied marmots sunning themselves on the rocks by the river.

It was another wonderful day in Yellowstone!

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