Thursday, August 4, 2011

Yellowstone - Day 4

Today we took our time again getting up and going.  We had our agenda planned before we got to Yellowstone, and we had done almost everything we wanted to do to this point.  The hike to Fairy Falls was the last on our list, so we headed out around 11:00 towards the falls.  We arrived at the trailhead, grabbed our water, and hit the trail.  Along the way we got swarmed by these pesky fly-type creatures that bit!  They would just sit on your shoulder and “ride along” until you swatted them away.  If they landed on your skin, they would give you a little bite!  Pesky little boogers!

We had a one-mile hike to get to the trailhead for the falls, and then it was a winding dirt path through a thick evergreens forest.  The trees weren’t very tall, and lots of them were down.  We kept thinking it was the perfect place for bears.  We were a bit concerned when it seemed like almost every single person we passed along the trail had bells attached to their backpacks, or we would spot a can of bear spray hanging off their belt loop.  We only had a backpack of water bottles… and Emilee, who usually chatters nonstop along a trail if there is a fear of bears.  Considering the fact that a man was killed by a bear in Yellowstone a couple of weeks ago, we expected some chatter from Emilee!  We walked about 2.5 miles to the falls, and they were beautiful.  The weather was perfect… sunny with a slight breeze and about 78 degrees.  But at the base of the waterfall, the temperature felt like it dropped about 20 degrees.  It felt great!

Fairy Falls

 Ashlee at Fairy Falls.
Emilee didn't feel like posing for me.

We spent a little bit of time at the base of the falls, and then Emilee started not feeling very well.  That’s why we hadn’t gotten much chatter out of her.  She and I started back toward the van, but Scott and Ashlee wanted to walk a bit further up the trail to the Imperial Geyser.  On our way back to the car, I grabbed a picture of Grand Prismatic Springs from the other side of it.

Grand Prismatic Springs toward the top of the picture
Emilee and I got back to the van and grabbed a bite to eat for lunch while waiting on Scott and Ashlee.  We assumed they would be about 20 minutes behind us.  They weren’t.  It turns out that they had gone on to the Imperial Geyser and were getting ready to turn back toward the van.  However, an older gentleman started a conversation with Scott inquiring whether Scott and Ashlee were going to continue further on the trail.  Seems his hiking partner was done, but he wanted to continue on.  Scott said he just didn’t feel right about the older man going on alone, so Scott told him they’d continue on with him.  They walked to the end and headed back the way they came, stopping to wade a bit at the base of Fairy Falls to get cooled off a bit before heading back to the van.  I was so glad to see them come around the bend… almost two hours after we left them.

Scott said he thinks this hike almost did them in, but they got a great view at the top… and came face-to-face with a marmot!  His camera battery was dead by then, so no picture of the marmot.

We finished up our Yellowstone visit and headed back to the hotel passing more bison and elk along the way.  Yellowstone definitely was the best park to see animals!  Our favorites… the bison and the bald eagle.

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