Yellowstone – and a detour into Idaho by way of West Yellowstone, Montana , August 16, 2014
It was still chilly when we left the campground, having dropped to 39°F during the night. On our drive over to Norris Geyser basin, we saw the usual buffalo in Hayden Valley along with some pelicans and other water fowl.
We took the 1.7 Back Basin loop trail. While there are many thermal features along this trail, I didn’t get as many photos as I intended. I did get a bit of video footage, which I’ll use later.
After Norris we drove out along the Madison River hoping to spot some elk. This was an area where, in previous visits, we had usually seen elk. We ended up going out of the park into the town of West Yellowstone.
That was a mistake!
I had lost track of days and we found ourselves outside one of the most popular entrances to the park on a Saturday morning in August. The traffic backup was huge. We decided to take an alternate route – another mistake on my part.
Along the way, we visited a favorite scenic spot. Upper Mesa Falls are 114 feet high, dropping over a ledge of 1.3 million years old compressed volcanic ash. (see much more about this scenic area from our 2007 visit)
Scotch (or Cotton) Thistle – an invasive species originally introduced in the late 19th century to many countries as an ornamental plant, and now considered a major agricultural and wildland noxious weed.
Some kind of sunflower.
Cave Falls – I took the wrong road, thinking that I was on the road that went from Ashton, Idaho to Flagg Ranch, between Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. The road I took ended at these falls in the remote, extreme southwestern corner of Yellowstone National Park.
After backtracking, we found the road that I had intended to go on. That was another mistake. It was far longer, far rougher, and more convoluted than I remembered from having driven back in the late 1970s. Of course, we were in our late 20s and were driving a four-wheel drive vehicle with much higher clearance.
We should have gone back through West Yellowstone.