We get up and find out it has snowed all night. It is 30 degrees outside and still snowing. The car is covered and so is everything else. It is melting off the roads so we are hopeful that the roads aren’t closed where we want to go today. We’re going to try to make it to the Tetons which are south of where we are but we need to climb in elevation because we will go over the Continental Divide once more at 7988 ft. So we get everything together and jump in the car. We stop at the camp office to check the roads and the workers tell CC that the roads are open except Dunraven Pass which has been closed since we got here. We then head south passing through Lake Village, Bridge Bay and West Thumb. The plan goes awry when we get to Grant Village and see flashing signs and the barricades up across the road. So we pull in to the gas station in Grant Village and ask about the conditions there. The clerk said anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours since they were sanding the road. So we decide to do plan B which was to do the lower circle and concentrate on what we haven’t seen yet. So we head back to Old Faithful area to do the Upper Geyser Basin area. We passed a few elk on the sides of the road on the way but didn’t see any other wildlife out yet. Probably just too cold for them. We pass the Continental Divide twice again and stop to view the Kepler Cascades before arriving at Old Faithful. It was scheduled to go off at 12:17 pm, but I think we will miss it because we will be on the boardwalk 1.5 miles north.
We get on the boardwalk and head to the Castle Geyser which is quite tall. It was steaming but not scheduled to go off until late afternoon. There were quite a few bison roaming around the area. The best geyser to view was the Spasmodic Geyser because it was so erratic with its bubbling and spewing. The most colorful was the Chromatic Pool which had all the colors we’ve seen in the geysers all together. I took a video of PTCC in front of the Grotto Geyser in which she leaned backward and looked liked she was spitting water with the geyser shooting up behind her. We then took another look at the stores and bought my stuffed bison but we can’t find a name for it yet. We saw Canada Geese on the lawn of the Old Faithful Inn and took their photo. We got back to the car and ate our lunch then went on towards Norris. On the way we saw a mother bison with her calf next to the Firehole River. The park ranger was waving away the tourists because they were getting too close to them. We saw a few more elk near the river as well. Photos from the Old Faithful area are here.
We get to Madison and know there is construction ahead between Madison and Norris. They are building a new overpass on the Gibbon River. So traffic will be stopped at times up to 30 minutes. We are so lucky though because we come upon the work and get there as they are letting the cars go. Because of the work this means we won’t get to see Gibbons Falls which is one of the tallest in the park since that is where the work is taking place on the road. We do get to stop at the Artist Paintpots but I think we were all a little disappointed here. We thought we would see very colorful geysers and paintpots but they were rather bland. The walk is was nice though. It felt almost like walking through a Christmas forest with all the pine trees on the path and you could smell the pine scent in the air. We did see an interesting sight there though. There was a pine tree that was all twisted like a candy cane looks. Don’t know how it happened, maybe the wind pushed it and twisted it as it grew.
From Norris to Canyon we did not stop because there was nothing that we hadn’t already seen. So we get to Canyon and take the Brink of the Lower Falls road to check out what we could see there. There were some spectacular views of the Lower Falls from this area. We then took the North Rim drive to see more of the Lower Falls. The Fall has a green streak in it which is very unique. We then drive to Lookout Point and Grand View to take more pictures. All of our pictures are beautiful of the Lower Falls. Then we drive to Inspiration Point and see a huge Glacial Boulder and then walk down the steps at Inspiration Point for more photo ops. The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone walls were gorgeous in the light. It looked like an artist had painted some beautiful watercolors of oranges, reds, pinks and greens with a lot of yellow added in.
We then drive back to the Brink of the Upper Falls to see what it has to offer. We stop and take lots of photos here as well. There was still much snow on the canyon walls and it was very cold here as well. We drove all the way to the end of the road at Artist Point and walked the overlooks here. A nice young lady offered to take our family picture for us with the waterfall as a back drop. We tried to see Uncle Tom’s Trail but there was a medical emergency and the park rangers had closed off the parking lot to bring a helicopter in to airlift the person out. He said they were hurt in the back country. So unless we have some extra time we won’t be able to get back to this area again.
So now that we’ve seen the loop we head back to Fishing Bridge and on the way we see lots of cars stopped ahead and look at what is on the top of a rise. A coyote is up there alone and is scoping out the area. He is probably hoping to jump on a baby bison if the mom is not paying enough attention. We get some good shots of it running along the ridge and then it disappears just like we do when we continue back to the RV.
We get back and turn on the generators and throw all our stuff inside and then head out to the Fishing Bridge store and diner. We are going to eat out tonight and then shop and walk on the old Fishing Bridge and look around. After we eat PTCC wants a jacket like CC and I have from Yosemite but instead says Yellowstone. We have seen many people in these since they probably didn’t expect it to be so cold here and had to buy a jacket once they got here. She also wants some T shirts and I will get another Yellowstone frame. CC just buys milk for breakfast. He already got a shirt earlier at Old Faithful and I guess we do need the milk. We then go walk on the bridge and see the ice flows in the Yellowstone River and take some pictures of the mountains in the distance. It has gotten warmer and is a comfortable 43 degrees outside now. Probably I think because the sun has finally come out of hiding. We walk back along the opposite side and get back in the car to head to the campsite for the night. I think I will call it a day now, it has been a long one. Hopefully we will get to see the Tetons tomorrow.