On June 21st, we decided we needed a bit of a rest. The previous day, we’d done the Sevenmile Hole hike. The day before that we’d climbed to the Petrified Forest atop Specimen Ridge. That was a lot of climbing.
So we figured we’d do the touristy thing and hit Old Faithful.
On the way there, though, we hit another wildlife block. Now, most wildlife blocks are caused by people in cars who just stop in the middle of the road to try to observer the wildlife.
But sometimes the wildlife forces the block. Like when they decide to take a stroll down the middle of the road.
This shows why it is so ridiculous to see cars near Canyon Village pulled over for a lone bison. For Pete’s sake, drive around a bit and they will come to you.
Here’s a better view of some of the calves, obviously spring newborns.
My car was in one lane; these guys (gals?) were in the opposite lane, so we were no more than 10 feet away from them. At least they knew to keep to the right.
Before we could get going, a few more went by on the shoulder on the right of the car.
No doubt about it, Old Faithful is really, really neat. But the place is filled with tourists, and a geyser is a geyser. We’d seen it before. We had a nice leisurely look at the geyser. We also saw the Beehive Geyser go off. After Old Faithful did its thing, we climbed up to the observation overlook, and then watched it go off again.
It was neat. We enjoyed it. But I guess we’re a bit jaded.
On the way back, what we really wanted to visit was the Virginia Cascade. We’d noticed them on our first full day, the 17th. There was just a small, one-way road that led past them.
We drove in on a whim. They looked pretty cool, but we only had a distance view, except at the very top.
What I really wanted to do was try to get some really good pictures. I wanted to maybe cross the stream to get to the other side, but didn’t have my hiking stick, and I also didn’t want to kill myself by accidentally heading down the cascade.
But after visiting Old Faithful, we made a point of heading back down that one-way road.
Here’s the topo map showing the area.
The “official” viewpoint, at the top, is on the far right of the red line. However, as we headed along the road, there was a small parking lot at the far left point of the red line. So, I decided to stop to explore it.
There was a small, rarely-used trail that started there and headed along the creek. (This is what the red line is showing.)
Here’s my son heading around that sharp left bend in the trail
Eventually, the bottom of the cascade came into view.
Isn’t that much better than the view from the top? That’s why I love to look for the stuff that isn’t that standard fare. Find something different; go where few have gone before.
Eventually, I was at the bottom of the cascade.
I did not start out the hike barefoot, since my soles were still feeling it. However, thhe terrain was just about perfect for it, along a creek bed (this is actually an early part of the Gibbon River). After not too long, I shed my sandals, and with all that water, what could be more perfect than bare feet.
And of course with bare feet I was able to wade right into the water to the base of the cascade. That’s what it takes to get this shot.
Or this shot, taken from the side and showing the steepness of the cascade.
Eventually, I crossed the creek and was able to take this picture of my son (who with his Vibrams did not cross) on the other side.
When I crossed back over, we headed up along the side of the cascade.
Here’s my son from when we were about halfway up. (I just held my camera out over the cascade and aimed as best I could.)
This is all the sort of stuff that I revel in. I just love exploring a tad further than most other people (and you see that in my Ohio explorations, too).
When we got to the top, we had to walk along the road (yes, I was still barefoot) back to the parking lot and the car. That gave us a chance to see how the road was constructed — precariously.
Those are wooden beams they have placed all along the cliff face to shore up the road. Who knows how long they are going to last?
Then when we got back to the parking area, these flowers (I have no idea what they were) were sitting right next to the road.
I loved this short hike. It was one of the hidden gems of Yellowstone that so few other people have had a chance to experience. Yet, it was a fun hike, to a great and incredibly scenic location.
It’s a bit like going barefoot. I have this incredible secret that so many other people know about, about going barefoot in experiencing such a great connection to nature. And the Virginia Cascade is another of those secrets. Most tourists just experience it in passing (as so many experience going barefoot in passing, merely in their home or possibly in their yards).
Both are worth exploring in so much more detail.