Lately life here at Yellowstone has been work, work, and more work now that the summer hordes have arrived. The bookstore has been doing between $9,000 to $13,000 per day, and is packed with people from all over the world and across the country. Foreign visitors arrive by the bus loads and rented car fulls. They are comprised of mostly Asians (spelled Chinese) and Europeans, and are easy to pick out in that they are thin mostly thin and fit, while our countrymen are very large for the most part (spelled really fat). It’s rather appalling actually.
Last week I waited on a gentleman from my old stomping grounds in Turkey. I hit him with a formal greeting in Turkish and he was quite surprised and tickled to say the least. I think it helped to reassure him that everyone here in the U.S was not from the tribal areas of our country – such as West Yellowstonistan, Montana.
Later on in the week I was able to do the same for a young woman from Istanbul. It’s amazing what the Old Mind still remembers after 45 or so years.
If you want to get away from the crowds of people in the park, it is best to get out early in the morning if you have the desire to see any of the popular sites that are easily accessed by vehicle. The touristas it seems do not get up very early in the morning. Kay and I did just that and took a hike to see Fairy Falls via the Midway Geyser Basin at about 7:30 in the morning. The going early strategy proved to be successful. We were pretty much alone.
The geyser basin where we started our five mile jaunt is about 5 miles north from where we live, and lies besides the Fire Hole River which stays ice free during Yellowstone’s arctic winters because of all of the runoff from the hot springs and geysers along it’s banks. Here are some views of the basin:
The Midway Basin is home to the Grand Prismatic Spring – Yellowstone’s largest hot springs at 370 feet across. If you are on the Basin’s boardwalk you can walk right up to the spring, but to gaze on its real splendiferousness you must climb one of the nearby hillsides to really appreciate its glory. The colors around the perimeter are caused by bacteria that grow in the pool, and are specialized to live at a certain range of hot temperatures in the water. Here are some views of Grand Prismatic:
Carrying bear spray and bear bells and whistling a happy tune, we hit the trail to Fairy Falls past the far side of Midway Basin
through the dog-hair woods of lodgepole pine
where you wouldn’t see anything lurking in the wood until you were right upon it. In the time it took us to get to Fairy Falls we only saw two women walking back from the falls. Our early morning strategy was working! The forest was awash in flora. We saw, amongst many other types of wild flowers:
It was a fairly easy morning’s ramble, and Fairy Falls was well worth the hike. The falls are one of Yellowstones’s tallest measuring in at 197 feet. Fairy Creek flows off of the edge of the Madison Plateau there and then continues on to the Firehole River. Fairy Falls was quite lovely and we were there alone. A difficult situation to achieve if you want to be alone at the popular sights in the park.
We returned to the trailhead the way that we came in passing many people who were heading to the falls solo or in groups – some with cranky children in tow. The trailhead was packed with cars as we headed home to continue our day.