States Visited Today
Saturday, July 4th, 2020, started really early in the morning, 5 am to be exact. We needed to get up super early as we had a long drive and a long day ahead of us. We headed straight for Lamar Valley in the north-central area of Yellowstone National Park, which was about a two-hour drive from West Yellowstone.
Along the way we would see an occasional bison after we passed the Mammoth Springs area.
Once we reached the valley we saw some small groups of bison. And then we noticed bigger and bigger herds.
At a restroom area there were some odd birds that looked to have made their nests out of mud into the area under the roof. Do you know what those birds are called?
On the way out of the valley we noticed more herds on the hill. We saw, probably, hundreds of bison during our short drive in Lamar Valley.
Next, since it was on the drive back, we stopped by the Mammoth Springs area. There were a few cool terrace and spring features, especially Pallette Springs, and another all white spring.
On the way to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone we noticed a bunch of cars stopped along the side of the road and decided to stop and investigate as well. This is a common occurrence in Yellowstone, mind you, and in every case, if you happen to be in the park and see this, stop as well. In this instance we ran across our first elk of the day.
At the bridge leading into the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone we stopped to watch the Yellowstone River rush on by.
Then Artist’s Point was next. It had a great view of the Lower Falls.
On our way to our next destination we saw some more elk.
From there we went to the Mud Volcano area. There were some cool features, all of which stunk badly (don’t let the smell scare you away!).
As we came down the hill there was a bison really close to the walk path. As it was about 20 or more feet away we should not have kept walking, but we did anyway. Fortunately, it was too busy eating to notice us. After we passed by, we watched it from a safer distance as it slowly made its’ way up the hill.
From here we went to check in at our campsite at Grant Village near Yellowstone Lake. Yes, you read that correctly…we were spending the night of July 4th in Yellowstone!
After checking in and finding our campsite we went back to the Old Faithful area to see the geyser schedule. And it was in our favor!
Castle Geyser did not have a time listed by it, but it was erupting as when we reached the area, so we watched it for a little bit.
The first one of the timed geysers that we were able to watch was Grand Geyser. And it sure was grand! When it was really going, it and the two spots next to it, Vent Geyser and Turban Geyser, were also going too.
On the way to our next timed geyser we passed a lot of other geysers that were either quite erratic with their eruption times or had not erupted in a very long time. Here are a few of them.
Next was Daisy Geyser. It was the least impressive of the bunch despite some of the water being shot out at an angle. It did have the shortest eruption time though.
Finally, there was the Riverside Geyser. After it started up it was doing the exact same thing at seemingly the same height for minutes on end.
From here we took the long trek back towards the parking lot. Before that though, we stopped for dinner at the Old Faithful Lodge cafe again. Once again, I had the bison brat (it really was that good!). Then we took the short drive over to the Grant Village area to our campsite. We put up our tent and then Andrea found some twigs so that she could start a fire. We roasted some marshmallows and then got ready for our first night of sleeping in a tent.