Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Yellowstone Vacation – Vacation Fatigue, a Bison, and Grizzlies

As our vacation passed the halfway mark, we left the Tetons and traveled back up to Yellowstone. There was still a big section of the park on the eastern half that we had not seen yet.

We first headed over to the West Thumb portion of Yellowstone Lake where there is another area of geysers, pools, and mud pots.

Legend has it that fishermen used to hold their catch over the fishing cone (shown below) and be able to cook their fish right on their line.

Vacation fatigue seemed to be setting in. The sights were still amazing, but the enthusiasm for getting out of the car and seeing everything was a bit diminished, and not only from Kai, but with all of us.

One thing that did amuse us was seeing a bison that was moseying down the other side of the road.

He appeared to be in no rush, and did not seem to care at all that he stopped up all traffic going the other way, with a line of cars about two dozen long behind this guy. I’m sure the cars at the back of the line could not see this guy and were wondering what the holdup was.

After lunch, we drove up to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and we saw more beautiful sights, including the Lower Falls.

Kai wasn’t all that interested in the scenery, mostly protesting whenever I wanted to stop and look around. He did cooperate on a few photos including this one:

After that, we drove all the way back over to the western side of the park, returning to the Old Faithful area. We had found out that a different geyser was due to erupt that evening. I had seen Castle geyser erupt on my visit here as a child, and recalled that it was more spectacular than Old Faithful. I wanted my family to see it, too.

As we got to the area, Old Faithful was getting ready to erupt again. That was one thing that Kai never tired of seeing, and we rushed over to see her once again.

Then we had an early dinner and began our walk over to Castle.

We saw some interesting sights along the way.

And even saw Old Faithful go off once again from afar.

But as the walk went on, Kai got more irritated. Frankly, the walk was longer than I had thought it would be. And it did not help that I didn’t want to stop to rest for long as I was afraid that the geyser might erupt at any moment.

Old Faithful’s eruptions can be predicted within + or – 10 minutes, but the predictions on Castle are less precise. It would go off between 6:30 and 8:30 PM, meaning that we would only see it from afar if it started early, or we would have a long wait if it didn’t erupt until the tail end of the prediction window.

Once we finally made it over to the geyser and sat down, Kai was much happier. He pulled out his iPad and was content. But he didn’t have much time to use it; Castle started to erupt.

It was spectacular! Old Faithful may be reliable, but Castle erupts with greater force and lasts much longer – 20 to 30 minutes versus 3-5 minutes.

And as Castle kept going, a rainbow formed.

Kai enjoyed it very much.

Though after about 15 minutes he had seen enough and wanted to leave. We had a long drive back to our lodge on the other side of the park, so we left before Castle had finished.

On our drive back, a surprise awaited us.

We came upon a mama grizzly bear and her cub.

When I came to Yellowstone years ago, it was common to see black bears as tourists fed them. Now, that practice is no longer in place, and it is rare to see bears, particularly grizzlies.

My wife and I enjoyed this treat, but Kai grumbled that he wanted to get going. I told him that this was a rare sight, and we wanted to watch them for a few minutes. We watched for several minutes until other cars got in our way.

We got back to our lodge late.

We were tired.

And though his enthusiasm may have started to wane a bit, I think he is still enjoying the vacation and getting a lot out of his new experiences.

The only question is if I can last for five more days.

Next: Yellowstone Vacation – From Yellowstone to Cody


  1. You are definitely on a very ambitious vacation. Although you will be tired, and you may feel dulled by fatigue...you will always be able to recall the sights seen, from a fresh perspective. I hope your father in law is also holding out well. I had never heard of Castle Geyser. Perhaps when we go, sometime in the future, we will have to ensure a visit to it. There is a geyser only a couple of hours away from here. I plan to take my son there for a short day trip.

    More nice photos!

    1. Yes, I think we will look back on this trip with very fond memories, especially once we have recovered. ;)

      My father-in-law is tired, but is hanging in there better than Kai.

      Castle erupts only about every 13 hours, so many people don't get to see it. We made the trip across the park specifically to see it.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...