Although he cried out a few times during the night, BattleKid slept until 7am. We all got better sleep than the night before and felt we might just be over our jetlag. BattleDad kindly cooked us bacon and eggs for breakfast while BattleKid and I watched a chipmunk on our cabin porch.
The cabin had large windows at one end that led onto the porch and these windows made it very easy to watch any wildlife that was out and about early morning. BattleKid thought it might have been Mouse from the Gruffalo as he believed we were staying in the “deep, dark woods”. After breakfast we got dressed and were out the door by 8am, headed for West Yellowstone, this time with a picnic on board.
Our first destination within Yellowstone was the Midway Geyser Basin, home to the Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring in Yellowstone and the most recognisable from above. We arrived at 9am, and it was quite misty at the spring. It was also cool but this didn’t detract from the beauty of the Grand Prismatic Spring. We had passed the Midway Geyser Basin the afternoon before, and there was no parking in the car park, and a lot of cars were parked along the roadside. But, as we had arrived early, there was plenty. The trick seems to be get there early in the morning, a piece of advice given in the Park paper which acts as an information and guidebook of sorts.
At the Midway Geyser Basin, you can also view the Excelsior Geyser which pours over 15,000L of water into Firehole River every minute.
From here we headed on South along the Grand Loop Road and West Thumb via the Craig Pass. Through here you pass across the Continental Divide twice but we didn’t stop for pictures as we had passed the two signs before we realised what they were.
From West Thumb we followed the edge of Yellowstone Lake, the largest body of water in Yellowstone National Park. Lying over 7000 feet above sea level, Yellowstone Lake covers 136 square miles and during winter, it is covered with a 3-foot layer of ice that can remain until late May. It is a beautiful lake and we decided to stop at Lake Lodge for a cuppa and a cake to enjoy the view of it.
Two cakes, a coffee, a tea and two packets of crisps cost us $14. While the lodge and view are lovely, the canteen and food were not. The cakes were dry and the canteen was in need of some serious updating. We were also saddened to see the same poor-quality food on offer for lunch as we had experienced the previous day.
After our pit-stop, we carried onto the Fishing Bridge, a very beautiful spot on the Yellowstone River. We went down to the water’s edge and BattleKid had a great time throwing stones into the water as you do when you are three.
From the Fishing Bridge, we carried on the great Loop Drive stopping off at the Mud Volcano area where the clouds rolled in and we even had a little bit of rain. It didn’t stop us seeing the Dragon Cave and Dragon Cauldron. BattleKid was fascinated by the steam coming out of the Dragon Cave, firmly believing a dragon lived inside. He wanted it to come out!
Once again, the smell of sulphur around this area was quite strong. That was one thing we noticed. Whenever you are entering a volcanic-type area, the smell hits you before you can see it. In areas where springs and geysers are not prevalent, there is no smell.
We continued our drive along the Yellowstone River and it was along here that we finally spotted a small herd of bison. Joining everyone else, we pulled in and got some pictures with the herd in the background. BattleKid’s fascination with bison really started with this herd.
Our next destination was Canyon Village and it was just as we arrived that BattleKid fell asleep in the car for the first time since our trip from Richland. BattleDad and I tag-teamed to see the Brink of the Upper Falls. This is one of two waterfalls along the Yellowstone River and you could only view the top of it from the Brink Lookout. The Yellowstone River itself is quite beautiful and its power is ferocious around the falls.
The viewpoint of the Upper Falls was closed due to construction work, which was a shame. Still, it was amazing to see the top of these falls. The noise was incredible with the force of nature certainly at play. By the time we’d both seen the top of the Upper Falls, Sleeping Beauty had awoken from his slumber, so we had our picnic in the car. We carried on along Canyon Drive and although we didn’t stop, I scouted out the lookout point for the Lower Falls, and BattleDad scouted the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, both now firmly on our to-do list for the next day. Our plan was to get there early in the morning to avoid the crowds and to get a decent parking spot.
We eventually left the Canyon Village area at 4pm and decided to head out of the park. We had completed the Grand Loop Road of Yellowstone and ticked off another of our Yellowstone Bucket List points.
We arrived at West Yellowstone at 5pm and BattleKid and I made a return visit to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Centre, using our ticket from the day before for our visit, while BattleDad went to shoot some guns.
Once BattleDad had completed his assault course (only kidding) we got some more groceries and head for home, thrilled with a fab day in Yellowstone. I cooked us a spaghetti bolognese while the boys had their shower.
After dinner we all relaxed and BattleKid discovered the delights of Tom and Jerry, or Tommy and Jerry as he’s taken to calling them. Then it was early to bed for an early start to the waterfalls.