From the Canyon and across Blacktail Deer Plateau

(Friday, July 17 ~ early afternoon)

One of the most fascinating things about Yellowstone is that the scenery changes so drastically every ten to fifteen miles. One minute you're in a barren, smoky geyser basin, the next you're driving by stone mountains jutting up from the river valley, and the next you have beautiful rolling tree covered hills to gaze at. I have so many pictures of just scenery because the place is just amazingly beautiful!

Just one beautiful hillside view on the way from the Grand Canyon to Tower Falls on the north loop road.

Our next planned stop after lunch was Tower Falls. We found a parking spot, put shoes back on (taking off shoes seems to be the first thing the kids did every time we got in car) and took off for the observation spot.
We didn't have the leashes at this point, but Ian had them handy in the backpack.

The falls were beautiful and we really wanted to get a closer look. BUT the trail was about 3/4 of a mile long with over a 600 foot drop. And we both knew that IF (and even this part was a toss up) the kids walked the entire way down that we were going to have at least 30 pounds each on our backs coming back up. So we settled for walking down the trail a ways and viewing a buffalo in the river and a flock of Bighorn Sheep across the valley. Kylie was particularly disappointed that we didn't make it down to the bottom of the falls, but it wasn't anything that a peppermint ice cream cone at the Tower Falls general store couldn't fix...

On our way to view the Petrified Tree we caught a glimpse of the food chain in action. This friendly little red fox
was running off with a ground squirrel dangling from its mouth. Kylie asked if the fox was giving the little animal a ride to it's house. We simply answered, "Yes..."

The petrified tree was pretty cool. Sadly there used to be three such trees right there together, but over the years folks taking home "a little memento" of their trip to Yellowstone have completely removed the other two.
And that explains the fence around this one...
Just in case you were wondering about the science of it...
(click on any picture for it to show up larger)

At this point both kids were sleeping (actually Ian and I had to take the short walk to the petrified tree one at a time so someone was in the car with our sleepy-heads) so we decided to take a few extra minutes to check out the Blacktail Deer Plateau drive. We weren't lucky enough to see any deer, but it did give a little more rest for the kids and some beautiful glimpses of the surrounding area to us.

As we were entering the main road again, we saw these stagecoaches going across the prairie. I totally think that would be a fun way to spend an afternoon there. If only we had had a bit more time...
Then as we drove along we saw an interesting trail name.
No thanks, I'll pass on this one...

In the last stretch of road between Tower Falls and Mammoth Hot Springs (so crazy and cool that it is getting it's own post) we saw what turned out to be our one and only antelope spotting for the trip. We hurriedly parked the car, unbuckled the kids, and carefully stepped across the sagebrush prairie field to get a closer look.
Caleb proudly (and correctly) showing us the Pronghorn Antelope on the field guide animal card. Can you believe that we failed to pick one of these up as his souvenir? He was so proud of his animal identifying skills!

I've already posted a picture of Kylie checking out the antelope from the safety of Daddy's arms in the July 17 post. She is currently quite (in her own words) "nervous" around animals other than Maya. After we started back to the car she was okay to be out of Ian's arms and wanted to take a minute to stop and "fell the flowers."
Next stop, Mammoth Hot Springs!


Ally said...

I am so enjoying your pictures! Maybe one of these days if we ever travel there I will know just what to do.

Nancy said...

Wow, amazing pix. Isn't God's creation so beautiful?