September 8, 2011 – We enjoyed a nice breakfast at the Canyon cafeteria and then headed over to Mt. Washburn. We saw some buffalo along the way, and saw some grey jays and Clark’s nutcrackers, as well as a few marmots. The scenic views from the top were amazing, as usual.
After the hike we headed towards the Lake area; we were sidetracked for most of an hour by some buffalo who were walking on the road, as well as tourists who kept stopping in the middle of the herd to take pictures. 😉
Public service announcement number two – buffalo are wild; they are usually pretty darn calm, but not when they have the calves with them – do not stop your car in the middle of the road and back up traffic for 15 miles behind you, if you want pictures park your car to take them (wait, you really DON’T want to be that close to a massive animal?! then please, keep driving), and keep traffic moving by the herd. 🙂
We eventually reached Lake and found that the dining room wasn’t yet open for dinner, so we headed towards the Natural Bridge trail head instead. This is a very easy, mostly flat 2.5 mile round trip to a natural bridge. As a bonus, it’s an easy hike through a forest (rather than a meadow)! After the quick hike we drove over to Fishing Bridge; they have a great soda fountain that’s open till 5pm. We really enjoyed the great chili with cheese/onions/saltine crackers, and a BBQ beef brisket sandwich with French fries.
Post dinner entertainment was trying to get people to let an ambulance through (again, stop stopping to look at buffalo people, keep moving), and then seeing the mud volcano. Afterwards, we decided to keep the volcanic activity going by watching some flying mud at the Artist Paint Pots trail.
And to round the evening off, a sunset walk around Norris geyser basin, featuring mini eruptions of Steamboat Geyser. This one is a picky one, and erupts sporadically with intervals between 4 days and 50 years. The last eruption was in 2005, so we all might be waiting awhile before it goes again.