Day 25 – 9/24 Yellowstone: Norris Geyser Basin, Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and Hayden Valley

We had a really nice day today.  Bia was up in a great mood and quick as she had set an alarm for herself and woke up right away, and got going.  Bella took longer to wake up, but once she did she was mostly focused and got going quick.  We wanted to get everyone off of whatever work we were doing by 11am, so we could have lunch and leave before noon.  Bia got done before 11, and mostly on her own, she even had a bit of time to spare.  Bella got most done before 11, only had 6 pages of her social studies book to read left, so we will catch up with her on that tomorrow, no big deal.  I had a work call and got most of my main things done in the morning.  Carol got our food ready for the day ready. 

We actually left at 11:55, so we did really good with timing.  We needed to leave a little earlier than most school days usual, which is 2 or 3pm, as we were going to cross the loop at Yellowstone, and do the lower loop, and it’s a 2 hr drive just to get to the other side, if we go non stop.  The drive there was good, usual, we are now used to long drives, turns, up and down hills, and the views there never get old.  So far we had gone south on Madison Junction, and this time we went north, then turned right once we hit Norris Geyser Basin. 

We checked that basin out and it’s pretty cool.  It was a 2.5 mile walk, and we saw different geysers. 

The girls are kind of tired of walking, and feel like they’ve seen all geysers, but this walk had 3 that were quite different. 

The Vixen geyser was shooting when we got there, and it was pretty cool.  It’s a very small geyser, and we were very close to it, so it was fun to watch.  Then, it just stopped, and within a few seconds the water on it drained down like a toilet.  We were hoping it’d fill up and start again quick, but it didn’t so we kept going. 

There was another one that I can’t remember the name that was just very pretty, and formed a small cave at one of its ends, that was was near the Steamboat geyser, which is the more popular one there and can shoot very high.  There are signs in the parking lot that when it does erupt, water which has acid that can damage paint and glass will hit cars sometimes, and you should park there at your own risk.  We watched it for a bit, while it was just shooting small, not a big eruption, but kids were not patient to wait until who knows.  That geyser is not predictable so you don’t know when or if it will erupt. 

After that, when we got to the end of the road that crossed the pass from west to east, we were doing south, to finish the lower loop. 

Right there is the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, or of the Yellowstone River.

That area is amazing, some of the stops had awesome views of the canyon and the falls.  Very breathtaking views with everything else that surrounds it. 

We made a few stops to take pictures from different angles, and really enjoyed that spot. 

The girls loved it too, mainly because there we lots of rocks, and they were climbing on rock walls and creating their own adventure. 

Bella even climbed a retention wall that was about 6ft tall, all on her own and all the way. 

They are really enjoying climbing on rocks, so we should try to get them more opportunities to do hikes or just play around areas like that. 

From there, we continued the drive through Hayden Valley and towards the mud boiling pots. 

And that’s where we saw the coolest thing, a herd of Buffalos crossing the road and grazing right there near the road.  There were hundreds of them I think, that was quite amazing to see.  We were moving very slowly, and all the cars were just taking it all in, taking lots of pictures and videos, watching this show from nature.  The girls were enjoying it too, especially when they could spot baby buffalo. 

From there we checked out the mud pots, and continued our drive back and around the loop.  We saw some more buffalo and Elk on the way back, even seeing an Elk with a full rack, but he was in a spot that was hard for us to take a picture of. 

As we got to the Yellowstone Lake, we decided to find a spot to have our picnic dinner, so we stopped near the marina where we could see the entire lake, and even Yellowstone hotel, which is actually yellow.  That was a nice stop as well.  We ate, the girls played a bit on the rocks, walked by the water, etc.  It was a good break before our final 90 minutes of drive back.  It was getting darker as we left, so the rest of the drive was dark most of the time, and we got back around 8:45, got the girls ready for bed and on their way so they could be rested for tomorrow.  Really nice day.

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