Tales From The Camping House

Tales From The Camping House

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Mesa Falls and Old Faithful Inn

We thought we would take a break from our early morning ventures into Yellowstone and head the other direction into Idaho.  Not far from us is the beginning of one of Idaho's scenic byways, Mesa Falls Scenic Byway.

We took the northeast turnoff and it wasn't long until we were driving through the forested land.  We arrived at the Upper Mesa Falls which has been developed with paths and viewing areas that are easily accessible.  The Upper and Lower Mesa Falls are the last major falls in Idaho that have not been used for irrigation or hydroelectric projects.

We stopped at the Big Falls Inn which is now the Visitor's Center before proceeding to the walk to the falls.  This was built between 1907 and 1912 to capitalize on the tourist traffic around Yellowstone.

We took the easy trail to the falls.  There are many stairs, but they are relatively easy.  The Upper Mesa Falls was beautiful with a full rainbow just above the river at the bottom of the falls.  We couldn't get over how wide this falls was.  It is 114 feet high and 300 feet wide at the crest of the falls.

This is the view of the river and rocks just below the observation deck.

 We moved over to the other deck that stands out just above the brink of the falls.  It was thrilling to be standing over the water.

We got in the car to move on over to the Lower Mesa Falls.  You have to stand at an overlook to see them, so you are not as close as you are at the Upper Mesa Falls.  It was a pretty view.

We at lunch at a little drive in in Ashton and headed home.  We had reservations for dinner at Old Faithful Inn so we headed over there later in the afternoon.

We arrived at the hotel which opened in 1903.

When you walk in, the first thing you see is the multi-storied log lobby reaching high to the rooftop  and the gigantic stone fireplace along with the comfortable overstuffed chairs throughout the lobby.

We had arrived 30 minutes early and saw that Old Faithful would be erupting in a few minutes.  We went to the observation deck of the hotel and sat waiting,

for the show to begin.

It was now time for dinner. We headed to the dining room.

Our table was in the original dining room close to the fireplace with this picture of Old Faithful on it.
 We had the prime rib buffet which was wonderful.

After dinner, we went out to the boardwalk around the geyser basin that we had not been to yet.

We walked around the different pools and springs.

We were able to watch Castle Geyser erupt in the distance.

We took this view of Old Faithful Inn from the geyser basin.

As we were leaving the basin, people were gathered around Old Faithful, so we knew it must be time for another eruption.  We viewed it this time from the other side with Old Faithful Inn in the background.

 It was getting late and we needed to head out of the park before it got dark.  On our way out, we saw cars gathered and got this shot of another beautiful elk.

A little farther down the road, Jim saw something moving on the right side.  He stopped the car and this elk came from out of the woods and crossed in front of us.  She didn't look both ways, just walked on out across the street and to the water.  It was a neat wildlife moment we shared without any other people around (there aren't many moments like that at Yellowstone).

She walked out to the water to get a drink. We pulled our car over to the turnout just passed her and watched.  Of course, we weren't alone for long. When people see you out of a car with a camera, they just stop.  It wasn't long and there were two other cars.  We decided to go on.

By the time we got home, it was dark.  It had been another great day.

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