So this is Lower Yellowstone Falls. You have likely seen many photos of it. I have some black and whites from my working summers in the park. The difference is that I walked down some 300 plus stairs to the platform closer to the bottom of the falls where I took this photograph. A 60-something couple from Panama City, Florida, walked down and back with me, encouraging me to make a rest stop with them each way. I took many photos of this falls from various points as I also walked down a rather steep path--some 600 ft. down the sign said--to look at the falls as it fell from the Yellowstone River.
It was also on those canyon falls and rim hikes that I chatted with folks--from the Midwest and South. Many Asians were on the stairs, some urgently passing to get to the bottom. The two pleasant older men from Kansas and I started down to the brink of the falls early enough that only one young couple passed us. By the time I left to go up, traffic coming down was much busier. Up top, I visited with the wife of one of the men, enjoying our conversation.
I also went into canyon village, most of which was built after I worked there. First, I stopped there early, to get coffee and an egg from the snack bar as it opened at 7:30, chatting briefly with my college-student waitress from South Carolina and the teacher cashier from Tulsa. A now replaced Visitor's Center, a Hamilton Store (these no longer exist), and a few newly opened cabins were there, and construction on other cabins and a lodge was under way, making for huge traffic jams in that area, particularly the second summer I was there. When I drove into Canyon Village mid-afternoon I found a bustling, overcrowded tourist center, fortunately, away from the canyon and falls, the campground and cabins. While the Visitor's Center and its displays are lovely, the other facilities and the large parking area made me want to get out of there as quickly as possible. To me, it was a blight on the wildness of Yellowstone.
I took a side drive to the Firehole River. It was on the main road to West Yellowstone when I worked there, but has been bypassed with a wider less narrow highway. There isn't a good spot to stop and photograph the Firehole River Falls so my picture doesn't do it justice, and I was almost out of battery so I didn't try a picture of the swimming hole. I did stop and walk down the steep path to the riverbank, remembering our days in that same spot. I dangled bare feet in the water, enjoying its sloshing between my toes as I watched children gleefully jumping around in the stream.
I enjoyed a number of other waterfalls, as a rushing stream or a mountain waterfall has often been a symbol for tossing off pain, grief or resentment. The other one I'll show in this writing is Mystic Falls, which is a 3 plus mile walk (if one counts the walk through the Biscuit Basin to reach the trail head) and well worth it, especially again, as I was there early and was able to perch on a rock near the end of the trail and enjoy the sounds and beauty of this falls.
I have only dipped into Yellowstone, our first national park in these two blogs. I had a great chat with a couple who met when they worked at Fishing Bridge and he proposed at Lake Lodge in 1968, while visiting the Mammoth area and the historic Ft. Yellowstone District. We agreed that the spirit of the park employees that we enjoyed no longer existed, at least in the larger concession areas. There were no longer "savages," (the employees) and "dudes" (visitors) and no celebration of Christmas on August 25th. More of the employees were older and more from other countries; however, I was told that many of the college students had left for the opening days of their schools.
I did see Old Faithful erupt on my way into the park my first morning and had time to walk around all the smaller geysers in the area while waiting. Almost out of battery, I saved what I had for less-photographed sites that morning.
I will include my hike, perhaps some geysers, and the Tower Falls area in another blog.
It was a great trip!!