Yellowstone National Park is located northwest of the United States. It is across three states (Idaho, Montana and Wyoming), although most of the park is located northwest of Wyoming. It is a source of inexhaustible geothermal activity and is subject to ongoing study. It is expected what could be the largest volcanic eruption of recent centuries. The seismic activity is constant too and if you can I recommend you see some documentary about the park because it's amazing.
Yellowstone is famous for its geothermal phenomena. In it there are two thirds of all the geysers of the planet, and also numerous hot water sources. The trails run parallel to the river offering great views of both the river and the yellow tones that give the park its name. You can do the route by car and park in the viewpoints or if you have time, practically all the way walking, although there are paths of some difficulty especially to do with children.
After spending our last night in New York, we gathered our bags and headed to Newark to travel to the Yellowstone National Park. Our flight left for Jackson Hole, the nearest airport, at 5.00 in the morning. I have to say that we tried to fly to this place from Buffalo or Toronto and it was impossible. If the flight existed, many companies did not offer it. It had 4 stops and the prices were exorbitant.
From New York we found one with a stopover. So it was the chosen one. We arrived at Jackson Hole at around 5 pm. Rain was falling. I thought that the plane could not land between the mountains with that rain at night. Rental cars in this place, was very expensive. We rented a van with full tank and unlimited miles. The pickup was perfect in a fairly new vehicle.
As we had a long way through the Grand Teton National Park, we planned to eat in Jackson and then head to Yellowstone NP. We did not spend much time in the town but it looked like it was beautiful. There were many announcements of rodeos, sale of cowboy clothes, and it can be a good lodging option to visit the Grand Teton NP.
The journey was difficult. There was no light on the road and the sky did not accompany much. The little that was seen of the Grand Teton through the window, was beautiful. We left this park, the Glacier and the state of Washington as a pending subject for the future, which should also be great.
We pass the detour to Signal Mountain and continue to the Jackson Lake Dam, an enclave-unpublished for us-that offers a different perspective of the Grand Teton massif. The extension of Jackson Lake is far superior to that of Jenny Lake and that is why the peaks do not look as close as in the previous viewpoint. Even so, they reflect equally on the surface of the waters of the lake, especially the Mount Moran, something nearer.
At Jackson Lake Junction we turn left towards Yellowstone, and shortly after we drive to the access that leads to Jackson Lake Lodge. There we intended to say goodbye to Grand Teton Park by walking the trail of Lunch Tree Hill, a gentle trail that climbs a hill where the famous oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller Jr. son of the founder of the dynasty liked to take a walk and have picnics. The views from above are great.
And without further ado we left to neighboring Yellowstone. The road that joins both parks has sensational stretches bordering the eastern shore of Jackson Lake and offers a magnificent view of the mountains. There are several viewpoints in the area that we would have liked to approach, but the time had already been a little over and we decided to leave Grand Teton NP without stopping more.
We did not take long to access Yellowstone through its southern entrance, and it received us with a splendid sun that would scarcely leave us during our stay there. This map shows the most important points that we were going to cover along the first day in the park. The truth is that the initial idea was that point D did not stay in Cooke City, but continued somewhat further east to the Beartooth Pass, but could not be.
Our premiere in Yellowstone took place in the Lewis Falls, small and beautiful waterfalls located very close to the road. Nothing great, but to open your mouth, more than enough. Next we stopped at the West Thumb Geyser Basin. It is not one of the most impressive geothermal areas in the park, but to us, perhaps because it was the first one we saw here, it seemed quite beautiful. In addition, this succession of thermal pools and little active geysers offers the added attraction of being located on the shore of Yellowstone Lake, which makes it much more attractive to the visitor.
We made the tour in a clockwise direction and we were especially struck by the Collapsing Pool, the Black Pool, the Big Cone located right on the shore of the lake, the Fishing Cone surrounded by the water of the lake, the double Lakeshore Geyser below the water level of the lake and the neighbors Bluebell Pool and Seismograph Pool, with striking colors.
We returned to the car and resumed our journey following the road that borders the shore of the huge Yellowstone lake. The landscape is superb and we were making frequent stops to savor the surroundings as calmly as possible. We arrived at the entrance booth to the park and paid the fee for the American national parks. I thought we would have to take at least a couple, or pay something else, for the number of visitors we were, but with one it was enough.
After the dark journey we arrived at the hotel. It was the first hotel we booked after the flights. In February there were practically no free accommodation for the month of August in the entire park. It cost us something expensive for the quality offered by these hotels but being housed in the park is also worth it. Anyway, it was clean and comfortable, without great luxuries.
For the first time in the whole trip we felt cold at night. Not that it was too much, much less, but it forced us to resort to one of the extra blankets that they had in the closet.
When we woke up we saw the place that surrounded us. There was a beautiful and immense lake. I was not too excited about this park because the photos I had seen were almost all geothermal and I did not think it was too green. I was wrong, as appearances deceive and the park is simply beautiful.
The distances are huge, so the idea of hiring a hotel at one end of the park and another at the other end to avoid undoing the road is ideal. We could not do it because when we booked there were no free rooms. At 7 o'clock we start our daily route.
At the entrance, we stopped at the neighboring Fishing Bridge, to fill the car deposit and have some coffee and some American pastries, as full of calories as always. Of course, the views and the beauty of the place are impressive. From there we go to the park's first point of interest to West thumb. The maps, above all, are very good. We find hot water sources at this point of the park.
When we finished the small circuit of the area (very comfortable for any visitor, including children), we headed to the Old Faithful. This geyser, is one of the most famous in the world. Perhaps, not because it is the tallest or largest in the park but the most predictable, since it erupts more or less every 90 minutes.
There is a very cool path that borders the area, since in just 2 square kilometers half of the park's geysers are concentrated. And we saw others so impressive without a doubt, like the old faithful. We ate at this place, looking through the window of the restaurant, a buffet where we paid according to the size of the dish we chose. We ordered a couple of burgers. We were hungry, but, above all, we needed to rest a little. Once we put our strength back, we continue our way.
We had a long journey through the geothermal area of the Upper Geyser Basin, the largest concentration of geysers, thermal pools, clay pots and fumaroles from around the world. First we would focus on the main area, between the Old Faithful and the Morning Glory, and then we would go in the car to the two most remote sectors to Black Sand Basin and Biscuit Basin.
The journey to Morning Glory left us impressed. The succession of geysers and beautiful as multicolored pools is constant throughout the entire trail. It is impossible at least for me to reflect with words what that is. The time for the eruptions of the Daisy and the Riverside was approaching.
The Castle and the Grand Geyser were scheduled for the afternoon. So after seeing the fantastic Morning Glory we decided to give up the area of the Artemisia Geyser, something further away, and turn around.
As the previous eruption had taken so long, when we arrived at the Daisy we found that the show was over and there was not even the prompter. We returned to the Visitor Center for the area that had been pending on the way out the Beehive and the Anemone, and we could see from far the eruption of one of the geysers of the Lion Group.
They were more than four unforgettable hours, and we enjoyed as children. There are not many geothermal areas of this type in the whole world other than Iceland, Kamchatka, New Zealand and Chile, of which we saw the one of Rotorua, in New Zealand. At the time we liked it a lot, but the Upper Geyser Basin and Yellowstone, in general are big words. In fact, there are more geysers here than in the other four big hot spots together.
We let the car take us to the next sector we wanted to visit inside the Upper Geyser Basin: the Black Sand Basin. This area is small, it is visited very soon and, although it is not much less spectacular than the previous one, it does not stop having its charm. We especially liked the Emerald Pool and Sunset Lake. The midday sun was tight, but next to the hot flashes that we had had to endure further south, this was quite bearable.
We did not want to leave the Upper Geyser Basin without going through the Biscuit Basin, located a few miles further north. It is also a relatively small area, but offers spectacular colors in some sections and has one of the thermal pools that we liked the most in the park is the blue Sapphire Pool. We finally left the Upper Geyser Basin and headed for the neighboring geothermal area, which, in a boast of unprecedented creativity, someone decided to call Midway Geyser Basin.
This is the section of the park where one of the crown jewels is located, the well-known Grand Prismatic Spring. More geysers form boiling lakes of precious colors, where the Grand Prismatic stands out above all. Some colors are impressive. We read in one of the signposts that there is a path that climbs up the hill and that allows us to see the Grand Prismatic from above through the trail that leads to the Fairy Falls.
We went there, after leaving the car in the small parking lot that is just at the beginning of the trail. The views from above, in fact, are extraordinary. The steep ascent between the trunks thrown by the hillside did not turn out to be anything simple to us and we had to also put a lot of care in the descent so as not to slip and to hurt us. We came down with the knees somewhat damaged.
A little further on in the direction of the Fairy Falls we saw a second climb where there were hardly any people. We returned to our car and then went to the parking lot of the main area of the Midway Geyser Basin. In this western area of Yellowstone, the geothermal areas follow one another seamlessly.
We had not yet finished leaving the Midway Geyser Basin when we were already entering the next one, which, as it could not be otherwise, has given in being called Lower Geyser Basin. Of course, the committee of wise men who distribute the names of the sites had one of its great days of glory here, I do not have the slightest doubt about that.
Within this sector we were interested in knowing the Firehole Lake Drive and the Fountain Paint Pot Trail. We start with the first one. It was a shame not to catch the eruption of the Great Fountain Geyser as it had already taken place in the morning but we also enjoyed each and every one of the geysers and thermal pools on the course. In particular, we really liked the corner of Firehole Lake and the Hot Cascades.
The Firehole Lake Drive ends almost in front of the place where the parking lot of the Fountain Paint Pot Trail is located. We parked the car and went to do the small half-mile circular trek. In 1959, the Hebgen Lake earthquake close to West Yellowstone significantly modified the activity of some of the geysers and fumaroles in this section of the Lower Geyser Basin.
To put a couple of examples, the Clepsydra Geyser erupts almost constantly since then the video camera got wet and the roaring Red Spouter originated in the wake of the earthquake itself. The Fountain Paint Pot, which gives its name to the area, is an original pond of bubbling whitish gray mud that caught our attention. And we caught a small eruption of the Jet Geyser at the same instant in which it was produced.
And already back to the south of the park, we made our second attempt in the parking lot of the Midway Geyser Basin. On this occasion, successfully. The trail is spectacular. From the outskirts, from the outskirts of the bridge that crosses the Firehole River, we can see the amazing channels of the Excelsior Geyser, which discharge more than 15 thousand liters per minute into the river.
This Excelsior was once one of the most powerful geysers on the planet, with eruptions that reached more than 90 meters in height, but since the late nineteenth century its activity has almost completely decreased and has become a gigantic and hot hot spring .
We had walked a lot throughout the day and we felt quite tired, but after returning to Lake Village we still had the strength to take a last walk along the shore of Yellowstone Lake, which was truly beautiful in the afternoon sunlight.
As it was still a reasonable hour, we went to have dinner at the hotel cafeteria. We ordered salmon, as we already missed some fish. It was not bad. And, just like we had done 24 hours before, we ended up on the hotel porch watching the night fall on the lake. When we reached the cabin, we fell down in a few minutes. It had been worth it.
We woke up without hurry and had breakfast in the same place of the previous day in the restaurant near the lake. We set course for the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. I assure you it is to stay without words. On the way we saw some impressive meadows and again a lot of animals.
The cars had to stop on numerous occasions because deer or bison were quietly crossing the road. And people photographed them a few meters without any fear. In the canyon area there are two waterfalls of Upper Falls and Lower Falls. Our initial tour passed by the North Rim Drive (road in one direction) with some viewpoints. I assure you that the photos do not do justice.
I made a descent route from the terrace located in the Lower Falls that provided amazing views. On top of that I piqued with a Japanese girl of no more than 4 years old who was climbing at a high speed. After arriving with the tongue out we continue on our way.
We went to the main road and ate in the visitor area. Later, we crossed the bridge to see the Upper Falls and make the so-called route of Uncle Tom, to Artist Point. Some of the beautiful views offered by the trail that are basically the previous views from the other side of the river.
We continued on to the Fishing Bridge, located a short distance from the point where the Yellowstone River leaves the lake of the same name. In a shadow that we found there we sat down to eat in plan picnic sandwiches and varied appetizers at discretion.
We returned to the main road of the park, structured in the form of a double loop, and we headed north. The next stop was at LeHardy Rapids. Upon arriving at Mud Volcano, the hottest area in the entire eastern sector of Yellowstone, we left the car in the crowded parking lot and went for a walk along the signposted trail that runs between fumaroles, bubbling muds and acid pools. A place that impresses, not only by what is seen and heard inside such holes of hell, but above all by the pervasive stench of rotten eggs generated by hydrogen sulfide.
Very close to Mud Volcano is the Sulfur Caldron, a greenish pool whose waters reach a very high level of acidity. Not to beat around the bush that stinks. Although, paradoxically, in the surroundings of the pond we discovered our first bison in the park. Then there would be a few more. What I do not know is if the rest would have the sense of smell so damaged as this copy, which even came close to the very origin of that putrefaction only needed to take a bath to finish impressing the bouncy public there congregated.
A few miles further north begins the wide and green Hayden Valley. That's where we began to see more and more bison. In fact, the entire eastern part of Yellowstone is the ideal place to see the enormous herds of these peculiar animals, which roam their respects on either side of the road or on the road itself.
At about 3 o'clock in the afternoon we reached the canyon area of the Yellowstone River, one of the park's enclaves where we were, a priori, more interested. We wanted to start with the viewpoint from which we can see the most famous panorama: the Artist's Point. And we headed there, through the South Rim Drive.
When we looked over the promontory and could see the mythical canyon of yellow hillsides, with the Lower Falls at the bottom of the scene, and the enraged downstream, the initial sensation that seized us was similar to what we had already experienced in the Tunnel View of Yosemite and seeing the Grand Canyon from Mather Point for the first time: unreality.
Something so beautiful can only be a gigantic tapestry placed before our eyes. After a few seconds, the brain assumes that the landscape is really there, and that is when you begin to feel belittled at times and get excited with the overwhelming beauty of the place.
In any case, and as I said before, Yellowstone is not explained with words, but with images. And even so, in the case of Artist's Point I doubt that our photographs and video shots, of discreet quality, will also serve to explain much. At most, to make a vague idea of what that is. Little more.
We did not do the Uncle's Tom trek because we prefer to do another one on the opposite shore, but we do go to the neighboring viewpoint of the Upper Falls, the smallest of the two main waterfalls in the canyon. 33 meters of fall.
Once on the road that borders the north side of the canyon, we alight at the first parking garage on the right. There begins the steep trail that leads to the Brink of Lower Falls. Since we did not have enough time to do the two treks, we opted for this one rather than the Uncle's Tom. And he did not disappoint us at all.
The descent, as is obvious, does not offer the slightest difficulty. The road is paved and descends making about seven or eight revolts. The climb costs a bit, of course, but the amazing spectacle that you enjoy when you reach the platform that is right above the waterfall - whose drop is 94 meters - more than compensates for the effort. 100% recommended.
The rest of the panoramic points of the North Rim Drive are very good, but they are somewhat less spectacular than the previous one and, above all, the Artist's Point. In any case, as long as there are no clock needs, they should not be overlooked. None of the three
The Lookout is more or less halfway between the Lower Falls and the Artist's Point. And both, waterfall and lookout, look pretty good from here. The Grandview Point is undoubtedly the best viewpoint to see Artist's Point, Confused since it is located almost opposite it. From Artist's Point we can see the entire back of the canyon, just behind the Artist's Point, and also the course of the river in that stretch. In the opposite direction, waterfalls are seen, but already far away.
Enchanted with everything we had just seen in the Canyon of the Yellowstone, we headed to Tower-Roosevelt, with the intention of crossing the valley of Lamar and enjoy with its abundant wildlife, leaving the park by Silver Gate, already in the state from Montana, then up the Beartooth Highway to reach the over 3300 meters of the Beartooth Pass and contemplate the splendid views.
We had the time more or less calculated to be able to retrace the road and be back at our hotel in Lake Village with enough room to see sunset from the shores of the lake. But our particular tale of the milkmaid fell apart at the first exchange. After crossing the beautiful Dunraven Pass, near Mount Washburn, a little before Tower we were caught by a brutal retention for works on the road that took us almost an hour without moving. And of course, the planned plan was automatically thwarted.
Not only because of the time we had already lost, but also because nobody could guarantee us that when we returned to the same place we would not run into another retention in the opposite direction. So we had no choice but to turn around when we reached the town of Cooke City. A real pity, because knowing the Beartooth Pass was something that we really wanted, but we prefer to give it up and make sure we can still get to the hotel in sunlight.
We are stuck in various traffic jams by wildlife in the beautiful Lamar Valley. And we also had another small break in the towering works of Tower, but with everything and that we arrived at the Lake Lodge with enough time to do the check-in, settle in the cabin that we were assigned and walk up to the charming porch of the hotel. We sat there, drank something and watched the sunset over the lake until it was dark.
We thought it was too late to have dinner at the hotel restaurant, so we made some cold sandwiches in the cabin and ended the day taking a short walk around with the intention of enjoying the night sky of Wyoming. However, the various points of light in the complex prevented you from contemplating too many stars, so we soon retired to sleep. Also, the day after promised to be intense.
We had dinner again at the lake restaurant because we had to go to bed early.
We sleep more than any other day on the trip. After two days walking a lot, we began to notice the accumulated fatigue, and that's why on this occasion the alarm didn't sound until 7. It was about 9 hours of restful sleep that we felt great.
After the usual showers, we approach the main hotel building for breakfast in the spacious restaurant. There was a self-service with a lot of variety, so between some things and others we ended up full, especially me.
We got into the car and headed to the north of Yellowstone. From Mud Volcano to the end of the Hayden Valley we find hundreds of bison on either side of the road. And in the meadows just beyond Canyon Village-in the direction of Norris-we saw a gray wolf in the distance.
The weather was still good, but the sky was not as clear and clean as in the previous two days. Fortunately, the clouds did not evolve and allowed us to enjoy the park without any problem.
Once the intersection of Norris is over, we continue north. We stopped at Roaring Mountain, a strange mound of steaming hillsides bored by dozens of fumaroles. Apparently, at the time the roar caused by them became overwhelming, however now the mountain is quite tranquil and the sound originated in its interior is more hiss than anything else. In fact, during the time that we stayed there, when a car passed by on the road, nothing could be heard. I had thought to leave the video with the ambient sound, but it's not worth it.
We planned to climb up to Mammoth Hot Spring. The road was very long and the terraces of this area, disappointed us a little but we saw a lot of bison, bald eagles, deer, and wild horses. It made the trip worthwhile. We almost face a few meters to a clueless young bear that people photographed without any fear. Neither did it seem very afraid.
We soon reached our first big goal of the day the terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs. When we arrived at Mammoth Hot Spring it started to rain. We parked the car in the parking lot located just at the beginning of the Upper Terrace Drive, and we peeked into the viewpoint from where we can see the entire Main Terrace with Mount Everts in the background.
We dined in a fast food restaurant that was in that area and decided to return to the hotel because it was already getting dark. When making the way back, in the Tower-Roosevelt area we did not see too many things that caught our attention. We planned the next day to go up to this end of the park and stay in the area of the Canyon that is beautiful.
We made a first trek through the path that leads to the amazing waterfalls of Canary Spring. The whole area is spectacular, and highlights the mixture between the white calcium carbonate deposits, they look like pure snow, and the orange, red, brown and yellow tones caused by thermophilic bacteria in some pools.
We return to the starting point and head towards the trail that runs through the Lower Terraces. We found the area a bit dry, as even several waterfalls did not have a drop of water, but it was still very beautiful. We especially liked the Mound Terrace and the Cleopatra Terrace. We also saw the upper part of the Palette Spring. Not bad, but these waterfalls are much better appreciated from below, as we would have opportunity to check shortly after.
After the steep climb back to the parking, we climbed back to the car and made the loop of the Upper Terrace Drive. The most outstanding, the beautiful Orange Spring Mound. From there we headed to the lower area of Mammoth Hot Springs. It is highly recommended to stop the vehicle in one of the parking lots on both sides of the road to see the Canary Spring from below. It is the best of the park.
We finish our visit to this corner of Yellowstone coming closer to see the Liberty Cap and the Palette Spring. The first is a curious cone formed from the accumulation of mineral deposits over thousands and thousands of years. And what about the Palette Spring ... Along with Canary Spring, the highlight of Mammoth Hot Springs. With the particularity that the previous one can only be observed from a distance, and Palette Spring is almost at hand. There are the images to prove it:
We passed through the town of Mammoth Hot Springs and were very surprised to see the high number of deer in its streets and roundabouts. We headed for Tower, through the only stretch of road in Yellowstone that does not close permanently during the winter. All this area of the north of the park is very beautiful and, above all, very green.
We spotted a small black bear running down a hill, although unfortunately we did not have time to immortalize it with our cameras, since it disappeared from the scene in a seen and not seen. When we reached Tower, we turned around and headed back towards Mammoth Hot Springs. We stopped at the Petrified Tree, at the waterfalls of Undine Falls and at the impressive bridge over the Gardiner River.
We passed Mammoth Hot Springs and headed south, undoing the road we had traveled in the morning in the opposite direction. We made another small stop at Roaring Mountain, more beautiful and better illuminated by the sun than hours before, but just as silent.
As we had a lot of breakfast, we did not have too much appetite and decided not to stop to eat. Some appetizers that we took in the same car were more than enough to entertain the respective stomachs. At almost 3 o'clock we arrived at Norris Geyser Basin, the last great geothermal area we had yet to meet in Yellowstone, and the hottest in the whole park. It is composed of two well-differentiated zones: the Porcelain Basin, located in the lower part of the basin, and the Back Basin, above.
We chose to start our tour in Norris through the Porcelain Basin. And the truth is that it has no waste. The color of the land is spectacular and we enjoy as children walking there. Without a doubt, one of the best moments of the day. In particular, we particularly liked the Porcelain Springs, the area of the Whirligig and Pinwheel geysers where the soil looks hand painted and the Crackling Lake.
We went up to the Back Basin and the first thing we did was to go to the Steamboat Geyser, whose eruptions are currently the highest of all the geysers on earth. The truth is that his mere contemplation impresses. In fact, the small jets of water and steam that came out of that imposing hollow were threatening, as if they were a prelude to what might come after.
The rest of the Back Basin left us a bit cold, worth the paradox, since most of the thermal pools and geysers in the basin had very little or no activity. In addition, the general coloring here is considerably more grayish and dull than in Porcelain Basin. To highlight the Echinus Geyser -a curious geyser of acidic water-, the noisy Puff 'n Stuff Geyser -to which you could hear the puff, but not the stuff- Mr. Green, the beautiful Pearl Geyser and the Veteran Geyser, the most active of all , Steamboat on the sidelines.
At the end of the visit to Norris Geyser Basin we return to the Lake Village area. Before Hayden Valley we came across a bison jam that kept us half standing for more than ninety minutes. And luckily the rangers of the park were on the verge, using their vans to separate the animals from the road based on accelerations-braking and strident horn touches. The surreal scene was to see it, pity that I had run out of charge in the two batteries of the video camera.
Seeing the storm clouds that appear in the previous photo, it could well give the impression that a new storm was coming. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, barely half an hour later the sun shone again with greater intensity than before, even.
At the height of Mud Volcano normal traffic was restored, and once the monumental retention was overcome, we went to the Fishing Bridge to have dinner in the town. We entered a typical American cafeteria, and we took a seat in one of those long and elongated bars, so characteristic, where the customers stand side by side to give a good account of the gigantic plates that tend to serve there. We ordered a couple of hamburgers and for dessert a cake that we had to leave halfway because it turned out to be too sweet for our taste.
And without more, we went to our cabin to rest, because the next day we again expected another long journey of more than 1000 kilometers.
At 5 we were already in the shower. We had a hard day ahead on the road, since our forecasts were to sleep in the vicinity of Provo, south of Salt Lake City, and before we also wanted to get close to the salt desert of Bonneville Salt Flat, which meant that from the Great Salt Lake we should deviate to the west more than 350 kilometers between the going and the return. In the previous map, we can appreciate how demanding our daily route plan was a priori.
For all these reasons we try not to delay the departure in excess and pick up things with some urgency. We fill the fridge like every morning, we load the luggage in the car and, before checking out at the hotel reception, we call our families from the public telephones of the premises.
We begin our journey. The idea was to go up to Canyon Village through the area of Mud Volcano and Hayden Valley and then turn west and leave the park for West Yellowstone. Just after LeHardys Rapids the bison began to appear, and after a while they were everywhere.
And suddenly the final drive with which Yellowstone wanted to say goodbye to us: a huge black bear walking quietly on the shoulder of the road. It must be said that to spot animals in this fantastic place the best time of day is, without a doubt, at dawn. With the exception of the bison, of course, since they can be seen at any time, especially in the easternmost part of the park, between Mud Volcano and Lamar Valley.
We were very struck by the exaggerated amount of smoke that we saw coming out of the ground, looking where we looked, as if the fumaroles had multiplied from one day to the next. Even in the same parking lot of the Sulfur Caldron there was a small fenced hole expelling dense smoke. And the Yellowstone River was beautiful, since the thermal contrast caused its waters to be covered by dozens of columns of steam. The day had dawned simply spectacular.
When we got to the Madison crossing, we went south, because we did not want to leave Yellowstone without going through Firehole Canyon Road, of which we had very good references. However, we did not find the detour and, as there were works on the road and we could not turn around, we were forced to continue to the parking lot of the Fountain Paint Pot.
Back to the north we realized the reason why we had not located the road we were looking for: it was closed, I imagine that because of some detachment, and had covered the indicative signs with black plastics. Anyway, we were left without seeing the canyon of the Firehole River.
At West Yellowstone we stopped for breakfast. While we drank the coffee and the strong American pastries to which we were already getting used to, I reviewed in pleasant talk the best moments of the three unforgettable days that we had dedicated to see Yellowstone.
The town is very oriented to tourism, as is logical, and hosts many hotels, restaurants, cafes, supermarkets and shops. We entered Idaho, the eighth state of our trip. And he began a very long journey through immense plains and endless straights. The driving in such conditions becomes quite monotonous, and to cope with glanders in the best way possible, I read an e-book as I entertained, as usual, with my daily stock of progressive rock.
At a certain moment we could observe, very far away, on our left, the unmistakable silhouettes of the Grand Teton mountains. Seen from the opposite perspective to what we already knew, of course.
A curiosity of this land is the importance acquired here by the cultivation of potatoes. In fact, there is even a museum dedicated to this tuber in the town of Blackfoot. We rested in Pocatello and took the opportunity to drink a coffee and stretch our legs. The clouds had been appearing gradually, and the morning's luminosity was decreasing little by little.
A little further south we stopped again at a service area near the small town of Downey, in the middle of nothing. There we ate some sandwiches with salad and we stocked in the small supermarket next door. Just as it had happened days before in some towns in Colorado, on the way to Vernal, again now we felt immersed in the deepest America, far removed from conventional tourist itineraries.
We soon re-enter our long-awaited state of Utah, already with the day quite cloudy and gray.