Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
One of the shorter hikes I took was along the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Here, the Yellowstone River cuts through the soft volcanic ash laid down long ago by various eruptions. The river carved right through this malleable stuff and so we're left to see this impressive gorge through which the river continues to carve its route from Yellowstone Lake and to the lowlands.
The day I hiked this, we'd had a full day of journeying around the Park. I'd gotten up early in the day to hike up Mount Washburn. Then we drove over to Lamar Valley where I did some more short hikes, and then followed that up with a jaunt through Hayden Valley and back to Canyon Village where we parked along the rim to view the waterfalls.
Of course I had to get in a little more hiking. I generally try to keep my hiking totals to about ten miles per day, and I was already past that. But I figured the hike down the staircase trail to view the falls would only add another mile or so. What I didn't realize is that I was hiking in a full two miles above the stairs! In short, I ended up hiking four miles when I could have just driven down the road a short distance and caught the top of the staircase trail.
Walk and learn.
At any rate, I never begrudge a mile hiked. It's my favorite past time, so if I accidentally ended up hiking a little more than usual, that was okay with me. Carole and Andy were tired from the walking they'd done, so they had to wait for me a little longer than what we'd planned.
So it goes.
The colors in the canyon walls are amazing. As the sun changes angle, so do the colors.
You can see people standing beside the lip of the falls on the overlook on the other side. But you have to wonder when--and it will eventually happen--that ledge of stone is going to give way and the waterfall will advance upstream a little farther.
After hiking for two needless miles, I come to the top of the staircase leading down.
The sun was setting, lighting up the canyon with all sorts of new tints and shadows.
Looking back up the vast staircase on my way back to the rim of the canyon.
From the rim I could look back on Mount Washburn which I had climbed that morning.
What a place! The river in the bottom was like a ribbon of blue-green.