Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Yellowstone - Our last day here, Upper Yellowstone Falls, and a Buffalo Fairwell

After yesterday's long trip, we decided to take it easy today with both of us sleeping until just before 8 when the doggie alarm went off with Skruffy making the announcement that "Hey, it is past time for this girl to wait any longer...let me out of here or else!" type of a bark.  I hurried and got dressed and took them out behind the motor home where there is ample lawn and sure enough, very quickly, they both did their duties.  Thank goodness that I had been up about an hour earlier and got the coffee started, I sure needed it this morning to get moving.

Around 11 we left and headed for our last day trip into Yellowstone.  Now tomorrow we will be driving the motor home through Yellowstone headed towards Cody, and during that time we plan to stop and take a few pictures of Yellowstone Lake, one of the few things we wanted to get done before we left.  The other thing was to see the Upper Yellowstone Falls, which was what our plan was for today.

The Yellowstone River flows out of Yellowstone Lake to the north, through Hayden Valley where a large herd of Buffalo typically is located and where we had the huge Buffalo Crossing Party last week , and then it enters the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone by going over first the Upper Yellowstone Falls (a 109 foot drop), and then over the Lower Yellow Stone Falls (a 308 foot drop).  We saw the Lower Falls just before the big Buffalo Party last week (see blog posting), but when we went by the Upper Falls, it was very crowded and Marcia wanted to wait.  Hey, had we did the Upper Falls on that day, we might not have been invited to the Buffalo Party!

Today it was not as busy, but still a bunch of people in the area.  But the view was worth it, and it should be on everyone's "must see" list if they visit the park.
 It would be nice if one could get upper and lower falls together in the same picture, but unless you are "in the air", I don't any angle which provides such a picture.  However, there is a "third" falls between the upper and lower falls, and it is Crystal Falls.
Crystal Falls is a 129 feet drop and feed from Cascade Creek.  The problem with it is that there is not a good place to view it that Marcia could use the GoGo with, except for the views from the trees.  Above the falls is there within the trees, and below is the close up of it through the branches.

Here is another view of it, a little easier to see through the trees, and below is a close up of it.  To get this shot, I had to put the camera lens through a chain link fence.
Many people go to see Yellowstone Falls, and miss Crystal Falls.  It is unfortunate that the Park Service is more concerned about a few, perhaps 4-6, trees than they are for the rights of the people who supply them with the money to operate the park to see a wonderful water fall despite their ability to move along a steep, dirt path or not.  In fact, I think the Park Service should be ashamed of the lack of an asphalt path to see the upper falls as they have to see the lower falls....especially since a pathway would less than the length of a football field.  Marcia in her GoGo was very hesitant to go on this semi dirt, semi rock, semi broken up asphalt of a path that led to the falls.

So with one of our last objectives complete, we were ready to find a place to eat lunch.  I mentioned that we were very close to where we saw the buffalo last week, and she said she wanted to head that way to have one last look.  This time we did not have to travel far at all into the Hayden Valley, for some of the Buffalo were closer to the Falls area than last time, and they were again having a party out in the street...but this one was being supervised by a park ranger....so when one got into the street to party, it was escorted back to the grass by the park ranger's car.
This guy (above) had just been chased off the road by the ranger.  I got this picture of him after he turned around and was "sticking his tongue out" at where the ranger had been.
These buffalo above were just off the road along a pullout which we had pulled the car into.  Marcia got this shot of a amorous bull checking out a young female.  August is the mating season for buffalo...and it is mid-August.
We thought about just having our lunch right here...but for some reason it felt like we were going to be eating popcorn at a porn movie, so we left to find a better location.
This older bull was alone on the side of the road in the trees.  He is a very distinguished old bull...wonder why he isn't out there among the females himself.  Perhaps the younger, stronger bulls have pushed him out.

A closer look at this old guy shows years of scars, eyes of knowledge, and something tells me that he knows that he can step back out there and battle again if he choose to. 

We did not have far to travel as between the buffalo and the falls is small lake where the Yellowstone River comes off of the Hayden Valley just before it takes the big plunge down into the depths of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.  There was a nice pullout, no cars, and great view of the river just starting to show the rapids of rushing water headed towards the falls.
With that, we wrapped up our last PB&J lunch in Yellowstone.  Will we be back?  We sure hope so...perhaps a little earlier in the year...perhaps on our way to Alaska if we are blessed to be able to make it up there in the next year or two.  But the memories we have will be etched into our memories for years to come, and we are both so grateful that we are able to share this with you who have followed us along our trek.

The sun is now setting on Henrys Lake...we told the folks who work here that we sure love their little park...especially since the large, noisy family that were here over the weekend had left....and they said they were happy they left too, so we were not alone.  If we are ever in the area, we sure would stay here again, that is for sure.  Tomorrow it is time to hitch up the HHR and head on out through the park....it will be interesting what we see from the higher view of the motor home window....and we sure hope to get those pictures of Yellowstone Lake that so far have alluded us.

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