Thursday, July 23, 2009

Springs and Falls

Hello once again from Yellowstone, and once again, the wifi isn’t great so we are having to backtrack a little with our stories.

MONDAY, we made a day trip to Island Park, Idaho. Ellie found a place for us to visit, so we made a plan and headed out. However, first we made a trip into town so Jim could get himself a pair of hiking shoes. Andrew, Lauren, and Zachary got these cool water canisters for when we are out walking. In addition, Lauren found some cute socks she couldn’t live without and Zachary found a Yellowstone baseball. As we were walking down the street, we couldn’t pass by

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this painted buffalo without a picture.

We then headed out of town, crossed the Montana state line into Idaho and soon found the turn off to the Johnny Sack Cabin and Big Springs. For a little information…Big Springs produces over 120 million gallons of water each day. It is a Natural National Landmark and is one of the 40 largest natural springs in the world. The springs create the headwaters of the Henrys Fort of the Snake River which travels across Free County creating the spectacular scenery at Upper and Lower Mesa Falls. It has a constant temperature of 52 degrees.

This is

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the Johnny Sack Cabin and water wheel house sitting beside the springs. In 1929, Johnny Sack leased a small tract of land from the the United States Forest Service and began building his log cabin at Big Springs. Little did he know that this site would become one of the most photographed sites in Island Park and that it would attract thousands of visitors each summer. Johnny built the little water wheel house at the edge of the springs to harness the power of the springs to create electricity.

The house is open for touring, so we

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walked around the trail to take a look inside the cabin.

We also learned that Johnny was a small man standing only 4’11”. Lauren wanted to see

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how she measured up! Then she and Zachary

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took a look upstairs. They were also interested in the fact that

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the bathroom was located outside!

After touring the small little cabin, we headed back around the trail and saw these

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gulls enjoying the cool spring waters. The kids

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enjoyed feeding the gulls and while they were doing so, we had the pleasure of getting to seeing

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this muskrat swimming around. This area is also home to osprey, eagles, ducks, and moose.

Mark, Jim, and the kids then talked Ellie and I into heading back into town for a late afternoon lunch. They chose

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We spent the rest of the afternoon at the RV Park and then late evening we decided to take a drive to an area that we thought we might find some wildlife. However, no luck and the only wildlife we saw was

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the two bears from the souvenir shopping at Mammoth Springs. LOL

We however saw

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this really cool old tractor before we got to

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the end of the road and the end to another great day.

TUESDAY, we were up and making a plan for the day. Jim and Ellie decided to stay home today, while our three travelers wanted to go hiking. And, hiking we did. We started out taking a drive on Firehole Canyon Drive. We found a pullout where the kids

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could walk down a trail and get a closer look

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at the river running though the canyon. Then, it

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back up the trail. We then drove on around the curve and found the

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falls. They were beautiful. Here also, we found a place

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to walk down to get a better look

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at the falls. We left

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Poppa up top.

From here, we traveled on around to the Old Faithful area which was only about 6 miles on down the road. We needed to refuel both ourselves and the jeep.

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We enjoyed a great lunch and now after a nice break, we were ready to tackle the afternoon hike.

So, it was back down the road to the Mid level Geyser Basin. We parked the car, loaded up water bottles, binoculars, and cameras and we were off

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across this bridge. The first stop was on the back side of the geyser that we viewed from

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the top of the mountain. Just to let you know how high we climbed, these

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folks below wondered how we got up so high! Well, you just chose

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one of these trails and head up.

After we enjoyed the view from the mountain, we came back to ground level and started our hike to the Fairy Falls. And what a hike it was, but at the end of the 1.6 mile trail was

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the falls. Wow…

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Lauren and Zachary are trying to figure out just how tall the falls might be.

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Really breathtaking…I am so glad we took the hike, otherwise we would not have experienced this sight.

Now, for the 1.6 mile trip back. Andrew was

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the leader. We had to forge

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rivers and

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go through the forest…but we all made it back to car where drinks and snacks were waiting for us. On the trip back to the RV Park, we saw

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these elk enjoying the cool of the evening.

What a beautiful ending to a great day. And, by the way, our total hiking for this day was 6.5 miles of trails and mountains.

Wednesday….which was yesterday…we once again packed up our picnic lunch, loaded up Jim and Ellie and the gang and headed to the Park. Our destination was they Upper and Lower Falls. However, we ran into lots of traffic inside the park and it took up almost 2 hours to get past the eagle and the construction. But, once we made it past those two spots we were on our way. However, because it took us so long to get to those spots, we decided to find, what else, but the picnic spot. We chose a area close to the

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falls. After lunch, we headed out to a viewing area called Artist Point, but on the way there we were stopped by

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this big guy hanging out beside the road.

Once, we reached Artist Point, we had a great view of

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the Lower Falls coming down through the canyon. This area is known as the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. What a view it is!

While we were here, Andrew

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decided he would take over Pop’s camera. He did a really great job…

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of taking pictures. He even got this picture of

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Pop and I. Then, I got this great picture of

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the kids with the falls behind them.

After a full day, we headed back to the RV Park…and just before we got there...this

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What a great finish to another fun day in Yellowstone!

This brings our adventures up to today….which is Thursday. We are just hanging out today at the RV Park and resting. We might take a shopping trip into town later. Tomorrow, Greg and Kate will be joining us. We look forward to showing them around the park.


  1. Great photo's.. Love the one at the top of all of you. What a great adventure you are on with the g'kids. I hope we can do that someday. Enjoy the rest.

  2. Grat post photos make me feel as if I was walking those trails and seeing those great sites. Tell Mark his Solution on the motor home did a bang up job. Easy to apply and take off. Maybe not as good a job as the Klasse but pretty dern close.

  3. LOVE the new header pic! And I'm so impressed with all the walking and hiking you've done. I got a little winded just reading about it! :) Kids will make you move, won't they?

    Miss you guys.

  4. Great photos...Kids appear to be having a blast! Thanks for sharing you adventure with us.