June 5Mary was still not quite up to early morning treks, so I went out on my own out to the Firehole River for another look at the river from along the drive. I wanted softer light than what we had on the last visit and getting up and out early is the best way to do it. There was some early morning fog which made the drive interesting, but by the time I got to the river, it was beginning to lift. I stopped at several places I’d picked out last time and spent a good while turing the yellowish turbulent cascades of the river into soft and feathery flows. I found a favorite spot right at the end of the drive and tried to recreate an image I did here in 2006. I tried to set it up from memory, just where I stood and how I composed the shot. It’s always interesting to see how I remember it. I am always wrong. The light was not nearly what it was that day either. I wanted to also check out a part of the river right above the cascades, so I got back on the main road and stopped just a little bit further upstream. Here the water runs calm, but swift. I was taken with the undulating river grasses and experimented with a polarizer to cut glare.As I was finishing up, a van full of interestingly dressed Japanese tourist pulled up and all got out. They were really fun to watch as they pulled out the selfie sticks and walked along the riverbank. They did actually take a few minutes looking at the river and surroundings, but mostly it was selfies.South Rim
After that interlude, I drove back to camp to pick-up Mary. We want to do another drive/hike along areas of the South Rim Drive. This way, we can hike some and drive/rest some in between. That should keep Mary going for the day. There will probably be loads of people at the overlooks, but we’re hoping the 1/2-mile out rule will apply and the trail portions will be lightly traveled.Our first stop was at the Uncle Tom Trail to the viewpoint. Before we even got out of the parking lot, we came across a beauty of an elk with a big felt covered rack. He was just calmly eating grass, so we loitered a bit, watching and photographing.Out on the trail to Artists point, we began getting views of the falls. They are indeed an impressive sight to see. From our vantage point, we could easily see the folks across the chasm standing on the brink at the overlook. As we suspected, it was crazy crowded here. We set out pretty quickly on the trail to Clear Lake. We didn’t realize it ran along the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone for so long. All along the trail were amazing views of the canyon.The walls on both sides seem nearly vertical here as they plummet down to the river. Colors bleed into one another and all the time, breaks in overhead clouds would cast constantly changing light onto the scene.The trail eventually turned away into the forest. We passed by marshy bug filled areas and as we neared Clear Lake, we began to feel the plunk of big drops again. Sometimes it is brief shower, sometime not. This one started off light, but got heavy fast. We donned our rain gear and found some cover in a small stand of trees next to the lake.It soon turned to pea sized hail. But it was still just dropping straight down. No sever winds or dropping temperatures. The lake became a roiling cauldron as the cloudburst increased.We were good though, in our tree. Just photographing and watching.
Next post is our last full day in Yellowstone.