Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Trail Journal: Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone South Rim

*Instead of one picture this Wednesday, I bring you yet another trail...

Trail: Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, South Rim
Date: July 11, 2008
Distance: 6.4 miles
Time: A while; I really need to buy a watch

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone probably has the most dramatic scenery in the park: waterfalls, a roaring river, a deep, colorful canyon. It's possible to see the canyon and its waterfalls from roadside pull-offs, but we all know by now that I think that's cheating (unless you are really old, a baby, or disabled. Otherwise you have no excuse.)

The trail starts right down next to the river, which is moving at high rates of speed. Curiously, the trail is partially paved, although you can tell it was done a long time ago.

After about a half a mile of woods and river views, you suddenly come upon a bridge, where you look out on this:

If you look closely you can see a huge mass of people on the other side of the waterfall - on my side, my husband & I were the only two people standing on the bridge. So, if you can walk half a mile, I strongly suggest hiking, it's so worth it!

After this point, the trail becomes more crowded, since "Artist Point" is one of the park's biggest attractions. I was sort of sad to see that part of the trail actually goes through a parking lot, and a lot of unprepared people wander out onto the trail. We saw some rangers helping a woman who had fallen on a switchback (wearing sandals), and they were getting ready for a "carry-out." When I worked at the Caverns, we had many carry-outs (really wheel-outs, since this means taking someone out on a litter), which are always completely difficult and exhausting. I felt sorry for them since I knew the next few hours of their day would be spent pushing this woman up switchbacks. So be prepared! And if you do fall, give the rangers cupcakes to make them like you more.

I digress... from Artist Point you have a view up the river and of Yellowstone Falls.

It was pretty cool that day... in the 60s I would guess. Notice I am wearing a fleece in the middle of July!

From here we continued on a mile to Point Sublime, which was considerably less crowded. But, the end of the trail is anticlimactic. The trail ends, but its difficult to see anything for all the trees blocking the canyon. However, again we were the only people there, so the 10 minutes or so of just hearing the river rushing below was worth the trek. (Are you seeing a trend?... its so hard to get away from people here!) There were great views of the canyon along the way though.

And finally, you can rest assured that "Wumpie + Slumpie" made it here OK.

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