Sunday, June 30, 2013

Yellowstone - Part Nine - Yellowstone River

View from Artist Point
The Yellowstone River has its own Grand Canyon as it cuts through the valley.  There are the Upper and Lower Falls, but you can't see both at the same time unless you in a plane.  A bend in the river prevents the view. 
Artist Point looking downstream
This a major tourist trap full of tour buses and many people.  There are two dead end roads that lead to different viewpoints and trails. The most popular is Artist Point.  There even was an artist painting the view on my way out.  If the Falls weren't enough for you, the color on the cliffs and rocks were amazing. I really wish the camera could capture the brilliant red and golden tones, but it just doesn't do it justice on a cloudy day in the afternoon. 

I coincidentally met up with a couple from my now ended tour.  So I had a companion for the walk down to the Lower Falls. Only one of them could make it down and I don't blame her for turning back halfway.  The trail did include ten switchbacks.  Its not for the lazy, but I was determined to not miss out.  The destination is literally at the Lower Falls.  There were two large ice packs melting in the river on each side that produces their own waterfalls of melting water.

Across the valley you could see the lengthy staircase for the Uncle Tom's Trail. I was happier to be on the ten switchback side as that probably would have triggered my vertigo and they weren't even at the Falls.
Check out the crazy stairs on Uncle Tom's Trail

Just upstream of the Lower Falls

The Lower Falls!
When we got there, another photographer had camped out and was waiting for the right sun conditions to cast a rainbow over the Falls. So we waited and within a few minutes a rainbow did appear.  Perfecto!  Here you can also see the two ice packs on each side to give more perspective to the above photographs.  

My last stop on the Falls was Inspiration Point. It should be named "Trips and Falls Point" as the stairs are crumbling.  I successfully navigated the marginally difficult stairs and watched as person after person nearly bit it.  It's a park, not the mall. You have to watch your step.  Funding for the National Park Service has never been a top priority and things will suffer.  
Inspiration Point
Inspiration Point

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