The canyon was gorgeous and one of my favorite parts of the trip. Now the Grand Canyon is certainly grand, but in a way it's just so big and the walls that jut out from the Colorado River eroding down make it hard to see it in all its expanse. Yellowstone Canyon was a big canyon as well but much much much smaller than the Grand Canyon and I think it had a lot more character to it. The coloring of the walls were varied and gorgeous and the constant views of the lower Yellowstone Falls (both upper and lower) were just phenomenal.
|Upper Yellowstone Falls|
After Artist's Point we followed a trail along to some of the ponds in the area and it looped back to the parking lot. As we were the only ones on the trail it was quiet and serene and the area was quite diverse landscape-wise. We passed some small mud pots and many warning signs to stay on the trail. No bears were encountered and the last bit took us through a huge meadow back to the parking lot.
Now a side note on weather. Although it was sunny and very very nice out, the heat in northwest Wyoming isn't dreadful like the Midwest or the desert. By midday it gets in the 80s but what's so surprising is how cold it gets at night. That first night we were not prepared and both Molly and I woke up in the middle of the night to add a couple of layers of clothes. The following nights we were prepared with only two pairs of sweats, a long sleeve shirt, socks, hooded sweatshirt and a camping sleeping bag keeping us warm. In the morning it wasn't as frigid but was still chilly so we'd change and then throw sweats over our clothes before heading out for a hike. However out on the hike, depending on whether you were in the shade or sun, you could be hot one minute and cold the next so until about noontime it was a constant battle over whether or not to keep the sweatpants on or not.
After the canyon hike we drove over to the Hot Springs and explored that area. There were some elk hanging out in front of one of the buildings and some lady was being really really stupid and walking very close just to get a picture...even though there were numerous signs saying "do not approach the elk."
Speaking of stupid, there was a lady and her family walking up one of the boardwalks along the hot springs and her hat flew off her head onto the sulfur-y, water-y ground where you're not supposed to walk. She kept prodding her adult son to go and get it. We saw them later and she was wearing the hat that had been sitting in all the nasty water so I don't know how they got it but ewwww.
The hot springs are just that, hot springs and they were of all shapes and sizes. And really different from the ones in the geyser basins as discussed here. My words don't do it justice so take a look at the pictures showing off the colors and wonders of the hot springs.
After the hot springs we made our way driving around the rest of the northern loop of the park. Taking a slight detour off the main road, we took a scenic drive which I hoped would give us some wildlife to look at but no such luck. However, there were some fantastic views that certainly made it worth the extra time driving 15 mph.