Saturday, July 25, 2015

Westward Adventures - Old Faithful, Natural Bridge, Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Artists Point and Uncle Tom's Trail

After getting to bed early Sunday night (around 9:30), I got up early on Monday morning to make the trek to Old Faithful. My goal was to get there early enough to beat some of the crowd that I had seen on my first drive through Yellowstone. Part of the road from Mammoth to Old Faithful was under construction, so there were some short delays, but nothing too terrible. Since I left so early in the morning, it made the steam and fog rising from the thermal areas much more dramatic than you would see in the middle of the day.



When I got to Old Faithful, the parking lot was already pretty crowded, but I found a spot and then headed to the main attraction. There were already a lot of people sitting in the benches near Old Faithful, so I figured I would stick around there until it erupted and then wander around the rest of the shops after. I only had to wait for about 10-15 minutes before it started to erupt.



This ended up being a fun place for people watching because there were a lot of selfies being taken during the eruption and huge groups trying to coordinate their own pictures. I really couldn't have timed my arrival any better because I beat a lot of the crowd and didn't have to wait too long and then I was able to continue on my journey through Yellowstone.

Next up was the natural bridge which is exactly what it sounds like - a bridge made out of stone. Water washed out the rock from below and left a bridge with even a tree growing on top!



From this picture, you can see how small people on the main trail are. I didn't actually come up that direction, so I made a loop out of the trail and got an even better picture from the bottom of the trail.



From the natural bridge, I headed to the South Rim trail which includes the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and Artists Point. While it was a little bit more crowded here, the views were absolutely amazing. The pictures that I took don't even look real!



Part of the South Rim trail leads you to Uncle Tom's Trail which is very, very steep, but leads to a great waterfall view. I even got to see a few rainbows the day I was there.



There are 328 steps to get to the bottom platform of Uncle Tom's Trail, which means another 328 steps to climb back up to the top!



From the South Rim, I headed to the North Rim trail which was much more crowded, at least at first. Everyone wanted to parked in the first parking lot which caused a lot of backup, but the second parking lot had a ton of open spots, so it was easy to grab a spot there and check out the views from that side.



After the North Rim trail, I headed back to the Madison campground for the night... only one more day until I head home.

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