No matter where you go in Yellowstone, the scenery is beautiful and there are neat things to see. This time we started off the day heading North towards the Tower-Roosevelt and Mammoth Hot Springs areas. The 132 ft Tower Fall is very beautiful. We were going to take the hike to the bottom of the falls, but due to a mud slide or something like that, it was basically closed. I was a little disappointed, because I thought it would have been neat to see the falls at a closer distance.
The next stop was a petrified tree. I thought this would be really cool to see. You couldn't get too close to it because it was fenced off. I guess there used to be three of the trees, but over the years tourists had chipped off peices to take home, leaving only one tree standing. Oops! It is pretty amazing that wood can turn into stone, but I wish we could have gotten a closer look.
We then went over to the Mammoth Hot Springs. It is a neat area, because terraces cover a hillside like steps and the hot springs fill each terrace and flow over into the next one. During different times of the year, this can be one of the prettiest areas of Yellowstone because of the different colors produced. When we were there, it was fairly dry and most of the terraces were dry and white colored. It was still really neat to see the terraces, and where the water flowed in a few places along the walkway, it was very beautiful.
After the Terraces, we drove to the Norris Geyser Basin. It is the hottest geyser basin in Yellowstone. We didn't know this, but the largest geyser in the world is found in this basin. It is called the Steamboat Geyser. When we were there, it spouted off maybe 10 feet into the air for quite a while. It is basically dormant, but when it does go off at it's full strength, it reaches 380 feet in the air. That's around three times as high as Old Faithful. I can't imagine what it would be like to be present when that takes place. I think it would be pretty scary actually.
Norris Geyser Basin Museum
After walking through the hottest geyser basin in Yellowstone, in the middle of the afternoon on a hot day, we definitely needed to find somewhere to cool off. We drove to Norris campground and swam in a little river called the Gibbon River. It was so refreshing and the setting was beautiful! There was a current, so you could walk upstream a little, and then float down as far as you wanted. Along the sides of the river, there were tiny holes where gasses would escape. It was pretty neat.
That evening before dinner, I made friends with a ground squirrel. I thought it was pretty cute so I took a video. We ate dinner at the Canyon Lodge again, and almost all the adults ordered the same thing. Prime rib to share with jalapeño poppers as an appetizer. It was so good! That evening, there were more s'mores around the campfire.