Yellowstone National Park 2018, Day 4: The Road to Old Faithful (Southwest)

The amazing thing about today is that we covered more points of interest -- twelve! -- in a shorter distance than we did either yesterday or the day before. This resulted in a full photo set on Flickr with 117 shots, 6 of those actually being video clips.

I suspect the road we took today, Grand Loop Rd to the southeast once we got off W Entrance Rd, is the most popular in Yellowstone National Park, given it's the road to Old Faithful, which of course is easily the park's most popular attraction. Indeed, in the area of Old Faithful, it's basically a village, with several "Yellowstone General Stores," the huge Old Faithful Inn, an Old Faithful Lodge, a separate Old Faithful Snow Lodge, a Visitor Education Center, a post office, and even two gas stations. The parking lot there is huge, bigger than that of any other lot we've seen in the park.

But, there is a lot to see along that 16-mile stretch from Madison Junction to Old Faithful, and we saw ten of them! Add to that one spot we went to just beyond it, and one spot we drove through on W Entrance Rd on our way back, and we actually visited twelve points of interest today! So how about I just get on with the requisite photo digest of each of those twelve places?

Firehole Canyon Drive. A truly spectacular loop off of the highway that runs along Firehole River.


Fountain Flat Drive. Not a loop this time, but just a short drive off the highway, after which we hiked on a trail for a bit. I got this shot of bison with a couple of calves using the binoculars with the phone's camera against one of the lenses, a technique I have particularly honed on this trip.


Lower Geyser Basin. Highlight: Fountain Paint Pot, which includes several geysers and springs that are filled with liquids so thick they resemble paint pots.


Firehole Lake Drive. Another loop drive off the highway. Highlight: Great Fountain Geyser. I don't think that's what's pictured -- I believe that would be this -- but, along that 3-mile road with lots of different geysers, this was a pretty cool video I got.


Midway Geyser Basin. Highlight: Grand Prismatic Spring. Note the steam coming off the pool near the top of this shot, which just can't do justice to how truly vibrant blue it is in person.


Biscuit Basin. Apparently known for "knobby formations," but also including this, which I think might be "Sapphire Pool." It's so pretty I had to take a panorama shot of it.


Mystic Falls. We nearly didn't do this, standing at the trail head and being told by hikers coming out that it was a 15-20 minute hike. But they also said it was worth it, and why waste an opportunity? So on we went. It wasn't nearly as grueling as the mile-hike we started with yesterday that also included a 600 ft elevation climb.


Black Sand Basin


Old Faithful. This erupts with such regularity it's at nearly 90-minute intervals, and after we had lunch in the car and walked in, it was scheduled to erupt after only about another ten minutes. Great timing! I also wanted to take this photo to commemorate our anniversary -- which is today! (14th of our first date; 5th of our wedding) -- and after several tries, I thought this one turned out great.


Upper Geyser Basin. This is basically what Old Faithful is a part of, but the area includes so much other stuff that I decided that qualified it for its own separate entry on this list. I mean, Shobhit and I hiked through this area two miles one way and back, looking at all kinds of things, after we were done with Old Faithful itself.


Kepler Cascades. Only a couple of miles further down from Old Faithful, and we finally decided to go when a ranger at the Old Faithful Education Center assured Shobhit it was worth it. We were exhausted from walking by this point but were told the lookout for these cascades was right next to where you could stop to park. I only got three pictures here, but it counts!


Riverside Drive. A brief loop detour right off W Entrance Road on our way back, rather near the West Entrance. Again, only three pictures, but still counts as a point of interest!


And even after all that, we still returned to West Yellowstone in record time, allowing for enough time to go out for an anniversary dinner at a local pizza joint, after I had uploaded and tagged the photos (I edited most of them, just as I did yesterday's, in the car on the way back from the park). We left about half an hour earlier today than we did yesterday as well, and both going in and coming back out were super easy -- no bison-related traffic jams this time.

We even stopped for ice cream after dinner, although we were disappointed to find that their waffle bowls were sold out so we had to settle for a 10oz cup. The mixed cheesecake and banana flavors turned out to be super tasty together, though. And then after getting back to the motel, I came here to their one "wifi room" (the individual cabins are too thick for wifi to reach through their walls, they tell us) so I could get this post written. So now I shall get ready for bed!

[posted 11:30 pm]