Walter and Sara Let the good times roll
In Part VII we visition Mammoth Hot Springs and the Norris Geyser Basin. The next morning we got up at 7 am, had breakfast and packed a picnic lunch. We drove north and stopped to take photos of the steaming geysers across the river from the Mud Volcano area.

Geyser across Yellowstone River

I spied a chipmunk on a log and he stayed still while I got a picture of him.

Ground Squirrel Yellowstone

There were lupine in bloom too. It was quiet and peaceful and it was like having the park to myself. I also spotted pair of Cassin’s Finches in a tree but they didn’t stay still long enough for me to photograph them.

Lupine Yellowstone

We got to the South Rim Drive of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone at about 8:45. There were a few cars in the parking lot for Uncle Tom’s Point and the view of Upper Falls but most of the folks there were headed down the Uncle Tom’s Trail which we took a pass on. Instead we went out to the viewpoint for the Upper Falls.

Upper Yellowstone Falls

Then drove on to Artist Point. There were three buses but the passengers were mostly heading back to their buses.

Lower Yellowstone Falls

I took the short view classic shot above and then the long view to give you a sense of the scale of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Lower Yellowstone Falls

And finally here's a close up of the falls themselves.

Lower Yellowstone Falls

Having finished the South Rim Drive we drove back out to the highway and up to the North Rim Drive which is one-way most of the way. We stopped at Lookout Point. Here you get a slightly different angle on the falls, complete with a rainbow in the mist at the bottom.

Lower Yellowstone Falls with rainbow

In addition to the waterfall views there were views of hot springs on the canyon walls and an osprey nest on the top of a rock spire with a youngling sitting near it.

Osprey Nest

We stopped at Grand View which really is about the canyon not the waterfalls. And then drove on to Inspiration Point which is totally about the canyon.

Inspiration Point Canyon view

Here's a shot of the rapids at the bottom of the canyon as seen from Inspiration Point.

Rapids from Inspiration Point

On the way back out I stopped and shot a photo of a HUGE glacial erratic that is right next to the road.

Glacial Erratic near Yellowstone Canyon

Then we drove back south to Mud Volcano passing a few bison here and there but no big herds like we’d seen before.  We got a parking space without a problem and I took this photo on the edge of the parking  lot. There are little bubbling pots everywhere!

Boiling mud pot at Mud Geyser

We took the loop trail in a clockwise manner coming first to the Mud Caldron.

Mud Caldron

Here's a close up of geyser that is the source of the Mud Caldron

Mud Caldron close up

The trail goes up hill and you get a view of the Mud Geyser area.

Mud Geyser Panorama

Then you come the Churning Caldron which is true to its name.

Churning caldron

Next to it is Sour Lake. Peaceful as it looks, you need to stay away from it because it's so acidic.

Sour Lake panorama

There were patches of Goldenrod in bloom along the upper section of the trail.


And some little asters too.


Sticking with the mud theme, there's a Mud Volcano too that bubbles and burps.

Mud Volcano

And the Dragon's Mouth Spring which puts out lots of steam.

Dragon's Mouth Spring

Up above the Dragon's Mouth Spring we spied a big bull bison walking along.

Bison above Dragon Mouth Spring

After we completed the loop we crossed the road and walked over to Sulfur Caldron. In the middle of the parking lot there was a vent that they simply fenced off. I guess you could say that the fumaroles have right of way like the Bison.

fumarole in parking lot

We spied a real nice clear bison print in the mud near the edge of the parking lot.

Bison prints

And then saw a whole trail of them going across the basin.

Bison tracks across geyser basin

The Sulfur Caldron is full of wonderful burping splatting mud pots.

Sulfur caldron

And steaming fumarole thata smell like rotton eggs.

Sulfur Caldron

There's also a nice boiling pool that reeks too.

Sulfur Caldron

And out in amongst all these goodies there was a bison who had been taking a dust bath in the traventine. He made his way across the basin and up into the parking lot which caused a lto of folks to run to see him and then run away when he just kept on coming.

Bison in geyser basin

I hiked out along the road so I could get one more shot of the bubbling mud pots. I do so love mud pots!

Bubbling mud pot

Having gotten our fill of things that bubbled and hissed we went looking for a place for lunch. We ended up at the Nez Pierce Crossing Picnic area. It had kids out playing in the river and a wonderful example of a major wildlife feature I hadn't gotten a photo of yet: the fly fisherman! Of which there are many in Yellowstone.

Fisherman at Nez Pierce crossing

On the way back to Fishing Bridge we stopped at LeHardy's Rapids.

LeHardy's Rapids

There was a breeze and I had them all to myself. It was lovely.

LeHardy's Rapids

When we got back to Fishing Bridge there were open parking spaces next to the bridge so we parked and walked out onto the bridge. It was really windy and the pelicans I'd seen in the morning had flown away.

View from Fishing Bridge at Lake Yellowstone

We hiked out along the trail next to the river and I spied some pink pussy toes.

Pink Pussy toes

And some lovely wild roses.

wild rose

Here's a view of the Fishing Bridge looking south towards Lake Yellowstone.

Fishing Bridge Lake Yellowstone

In Part IX well got back to the Old Faithful area to explore the Upper Geyser Basin.