The road up to Bunsen Peak is already looking pretty!
The idea was that we'd go on a nice, two to three hour trail, letting JT get her naps in while us early risers wore ourselves out a bit. We also got some pretty phenomenal views!
One of the many views along the way.
Another pretty fantastic view.
Honestly, up till the end, I barely felt the burn. It was so pretty!
I did start wearing out towards the end a bit, though, which I blamed on lack of sleep + being over a mile in elevation (the top of the peak is a bit over 8,000 feet, where even the strong start to notice the thin air). Then I had KW check the time.
We'd gone over 2 miles and something like 1,500 feet up in...45 minutes.
Whelp, guess I'm not as out of shape as I thought!
Strangely, the view from the top wasn't as good as the views along the way. There was a somewhat occluded vista:
Occluded vista is occluded.
Also there was a little cell phone tower hut that we couldn't go inside. We sat by it, though, and ate our cliff bars before going down again super fast.
We made it back to the lodge so fast that JT had left the room, thinking there was no way we'd be back so soon.
THERE WAS A WAY. IT IS CALLED FAST HIKING.
Our party rejoined, we went off to hunt Mud Volcanoes!
We got off to visit the boardwalks and promptly ran into yet another guard bison.
Guard bison is guard bison.
Since we'd seen a great many warnings that guard bisons were, in fact, dangerous, we debated going back.
A warning. Bison even looks angry.
But then bison wandered off the trail and we were all, "Okay, I guess we can pass."
Bison then promptly drank out of the toxic run off spring and gave us this look of like, "Oww, it burns!" which made us all wonder why guard bison didn't know that toxic run off was toxic since, like, he lives here.
Bison are not very smart.
The mud volcano itself wasn't super exciting. Mostly it was just a bunch of mud volcanoes that weren't quite as spectacular (well, to me, anyway, JT seemed to love them) as the ones around Norris. But they were different. Probably the highlight (for me) was the Dragon's Cave, which hissed and spat out gas causing the water to thrash out in waves. VERY COOL. Apparently the waves used to be big enough to splash the bystanders, but alas, no more.
Mud volcano stuff.
Splashy splash splash!
The Dragon's Cave without the video, although it's waaaay less cool.
Also, some cool multi colored grasses from around there, because I like pretty colors!
While the area, again, wasn't (to me) as cool as Norris, there were some good times like...
Seeing this fenced off pit in the parking lot that made me wonder, "WHICH CAR GOT SUCKED DOWN THERE? WHICH? AM I NEXT? NO! I OFFERED TO DRIVE! NO!!!!"
Some pretty natural geysers by the Yellowstone River!
The geysers are especially hilarious in this picture. Poor JT. Poor JT...
Mud volcano is muddy!
Mostly this area, though, just reminded me that Yellowstone has an insane amount of volcanic activity and that volcanic activity can be weird!
Anyway, having seen the mud volcano, we proceeded next to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone (not to be mistaken for the actual Grand Canyon. This one is pretty but, um, less grand...)
Despite it's purloined name, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is still pretty spectacular.
Mostly it's a bunch of spectacular waterfalls running through a sherbet colored gorge.
Like this scenic vista.
Also, this one is none too shabby.
Us magnificent three, all looking well...hike-y.
Although all of the scenic view points are by the major waterfalls (the upper and lower falls), I found the gorge itself equally gorgeous. (Hah hah, I'm terrible...) We took a little hike along it which I think may have been the most terrifying of the trip. You see, the path was maybe 2 feet wide, with a sheer drop off on one side...and sometimes was smaller due to erosion taking off a chunk of the path. Fun!
The views were totally worth it, though.
SO WORTH IT!!!!!!!!!!!
YOU CAN SEE THE WHOLE GORGE FROM HERE, EMRMAGHERD!!!!!!!!!
Even the rocks were scenic, all sherbet pinks and orange!
JT, being JT, leaned OVER THE SIDE OF THE GORGE, to get a picture. Like, her feet were on the ground, but her entire body leaned over it. Along the way, a ranger stopped us and yelled at her because she was off the path. (To which JT was like, "No, the path is here." which is true. Path no safer. Scary path.) Apparently someone had died like two weeks ago. Whooops. I feel like the path needed a warning...
The view JT risked her life for.
The trees amused me too as they CLUNG FOR DEAR LIFE.
Eventually we got to the end, which was just a barricade with no view at all. It felt like the parks department had some kind of plan that they gave up on. Oh well. Still, it was a pretty walk, even if the pay off wasn't half as good as the walk itself.
We drove back just to be stopped by a group of Big Horned sheep...
They didn't block our car, but did block that of another couple who kept asking the ranger whether they could return to their car. The ranger was all like, "NO!" and they were obedient while others parked beside them took off. I suppose it just proves that one should never ask for permission...or something...
We got back just to take a nice trip to Beaver Pools. Along the way, we passed by Hymen Terrace and, um, Liberty Cap. Which wasn't at ALL inappropriate...
(Not even going to note the red run off...oh, wait...)
Then we had dinner and settled in for our last evening.
Our cabin was pretty cute, all things considered. ^_^