After much excitement and adventure on the north side of the Yellowstone, we packed up camp and headed down south to stay at Lewis Lake. As with everything else in the park, the drive was long and took us most of the afternoon. Thankfully, this campground is the last among those in Yellowstone to fill up so we had many spots to choose from. We set up camp, relaxed, and took a nice stroll along the lake and added kayaking to our to-do next time list.
The campground here gives the impression to be the least popular amongst the area as it was on the far south side of the park. Campers seemed to arrive late and stay only one night, just using the campground as a passing through point. The sites were set in a more wooded setting than previous but were closer together so it wasn’t private though it was quiet.
About 85 sites here with an equal mix of tents and RVs, there was lots of spots to choose from with just a short walk to Lewis Lake. A beautiful place to camp, it was wonderful to see all the people enjoying nature.
We ventured out the next morning to see the geyser basins that we past on our drive to the campground and marvel in the renowned Old Faithful. This week was bringing us some of the coldest weather we camped in but we stayed ahead of the challenge. Looking at Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone’s largest and most colorful geyser, steam from the cold air obscured most of normally colorful view. It was nonetheless incredible observing the geyser in a way most people don’t and capturing some beautiful pictures.
After viewing the marvelous geysers at Lower and Midway basins, we opted for a hike and a little off the beaten path action. We were nearby Fairy Falls and I read some great things about it, so off we went. The terrain was flat and with no worries of altitude adjustment, the hike was incredible while the view was spectacular. This waterfall was inspiring along with electrifying and was well worth the 5-mile hike. A definite must see in Yellowstone.
To end this evening, we stopped at Old Faithful Geyser and watched it surge. An impressive view nonetheless witnessed by a large group of people all with their cameras out and ready. An array of Ooos and Ahhs amongst the crowd as the geyser erupted for several moments.
I learned that while predictable to around every 90 minutes, there is a more specific formula for the next eruption time that is based on the force and time length of the current one. Therefore, they can only accurately predict one eruption at a time. Impressive data.
Before giving in to this journeys end, we headed to the east side of the park to see the final attractions. Yellowstone Lake was a part of this venture which was followed by another bison on the road. This time we were a solo car and he managed to get real close as he was in no mood to change his intended route. Such stout and robust animals. Of the large animals, we had managed to see bison, elk, deer and were anxious to see a bear before we left (from a safe distance, of course).
As luck would have it, while we were driving, I saw a car stopped in the middle of the road. A quick glance to see what they were looking at and I spotted what looked like the rump of a bear. I quickly pulled over to a turnout, grabbed my binoculars, and headed back. Low and behold, a momma bear and her two cubs decided to cross the road right in front of me.
Perfect view, but… I forgot my camera. As they headed down to the river, I ran back for my camera but we never saw them again. We took a small hike down that direction but when we returned we heard that they crossed the road and were gone again. Powerful animals and it felt awe-inspiring to see such beauty but I have no pictures to show for it. Only the memory in my head.
As, we continued to head up the road toward Mud Volcano, and I felt a sense of completeness. It was great to come spend a few nights in the world of wild animals and get to view them from a safe and protecting distance. They manage to still live in such harmony as we invade their domain and it’s great to see they are thriving well.
A final hike was in order and we found Storm Point Trail which circled around the forest and grazed the edge of Yellowstone Lake. It was a beautiful hike and so peaceful we could hear the trees creaking as they swayed in the wind. A large wooded area and a well hiked path, we passed others as they were also enjoying the view but never did see any large animals here. We stopped for a break at the lake edge and partook in a little wading. The water was chilly but comforting and tranquil.
Given this was my first time here at Yellowstone National Park, we made an impressive effort to take in all the popular sites. While everything was grand and glorious, there was an excessive amount of tourists and lots of driving that made the trip a little exhausting.
As we reminisced of all our activities, we talked of returning to take part in the other opportunities available such as the day long hikes, back-country hiking and camping, historical galleries, and the winter opportunities of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. It was a miraculous area to visit and an absolute must for everyone, I can’t wait to return to take part in more that the park has to offer.