Yellowstone and Island Park

This past week I was able to enjoy some time at a friend’s dad’s timeshare in Island Park, ID.  The primary draw for myself was a chance to revisit Yellowstone.  We spent only a half day in the park but it was a very full day.  We started out going down to Old Faithful and made one stop along the way.  At Old Faithful we grabbed lunch but failed to see the geyser.  Both of us had seen it multiple times and figured there were more things to do so back on the road we went.  We made a few more stops while heading to our next destination:  Canyon Village.  The weather had cooled off considerably and clouds had begun to fill the sky.  After grabbing another bite, we hiked down to the top of Lower Falls.  It was simply an awesome sight as this video shows.

There were a few different viewpoints that could be hiked to overlooking the lower portion of the canyon.  We walked out to another which didn’t offer much of a different view, but still very breathtaking.  My main concern was making it to Mammoth Terraces in time for the last light of the day.  We drove up through the Tower Falls area and made it to Mammoth in time for some quick touring/photography.  I was pleased with a panorama I captured but disappointed in myself that I was more concerned with leaving in time to avoid a road closure than take one or two more pictures of the upper terrace.  It wasn’t a tremendous loss but still a disappointment.  Here are some of the takeaways from the day:

On our final day at Island Park, we drove up Sawtelle Peak Road to the top of Sawtelle Peak.  It was a steep road (over 3000 feet in 11 miles) but the views were great.  Towards the west you could see the mountains forming the Idaho/Montana border which also happens to be the Continental Divide.  Beyond those you could also see the Beaverhead Mountains.  There was a lot of driving but most of it was very scenic.  The drive back was very nice, passing along the Beaverhead Moutains, Lemhi Range, Lost River Range and finally the Pioneers and Smoky Mountains on the way to Boise.

The wildlife viewing also made this a successful trip.  Within Yellowstone, a usual large amount of elk and bison were seen along with a young grizzly bear at twilight.  Friday afternoon, we went down to the Henry’s Fork at Mack’s Inn.  While sitting on a dock enjoying the nice weather we were noting the fly fishermen in the river.  As we scanned across we saw a moose wading, knee-deep, in the river.  I duly went to get my camera and spent about 20 minutes watching him leisurely stroll upstream and eat.

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