After we watched Old Faithful, then took our walk along the rest of the Upper Geyser Basin, we met up with my sister-in-law Cathy and my nieces Zoe and Amelia for lunch at the Old Faithful Lodge. One nice thing about lunch there is that it comes with a show, Old Faithful itself:
After lunch Cathy and the girls headed up to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, while we loaded up the car and headed off to see the Artist's Paint Pots. What are the Artist's Paint Pots? As I said when I woke Malcolm and Henry once we parked, "Wake up, boys. We're going to look at some bubbling mud."
Monique surveys the Artist's Paint Pots thermal area.
Monique, how does it smell?
As promised, bubbling mud.
Monique tells us what she was expecting.
A thermal pool.
Another stand of dead trees, killed off by shifts in geothermal activity.
After we left the paint-pot area, we caught up with Cathy and the girls at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone:
It's a little hard to grasp how big and deep this canyon is until you see the little people standing on this observation platform at the bottom of the stairway. You'll probably need to click on this photo to enlarge it if you want to see them. This is really a big canyon.
So, what do we do when there's a great piece of natural scenery? Put ourselves in front of it and take some pictures, of course!
Malcolm and Henry.
Zoe, Cathy, and Amelia.
Zoe, Monique, Amelia, Henry, Malcolm, and Cathy.
After the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, we headed back towards our campground via the Hayden Valley. We had been assured by a park ranger earlier in the morning that this was the place to see wildlife. Even more excitingly, she said that she almost always saw at least one grizzly bear when she drove through. With keen eyes, we proceeded into the valley....
These bison were certainly closer and more numerous than the far-off pair we saw at Hot Springs State Park, but the herd was still pretty far away this afternoon.
Henry and Malcolm.
John and Monique.
Speaking of exotic wildlife ... look, a Jaguar! I didn't know they lived this far north!
We even spotted a bald eagle on one of the river bends. It's on the branch in the middle of this photo. But we were pretty much through the valley and still no grizzly bears.
Wait, what's that over there by the edge of the trees?
A grizzly bear!
Goodbye, Mr. Grizzly. (Or Mrs. Grizzly, I really have no idea how to tell from afar and certainly had no intentions of getting close enough to find out!) You were truly a grand sight!
Next stop down the road, Yellowstone Lake:
Hello, Mrs. Elk. (This time I'm sure!)
We ended our big Saturday in Yellowstone with a weenie-and-s'mores roast back at the campsite.
All in all, a great day at Yellowstone National Park.