Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River
From Fishing Bridge we drive north about 20 miles just past Canyon Village, and an array of Canadian geese homesteading the banks. We will return to the Visitor Education Center, but first, we are told that bison graze in the meadow just below Washburn Hot Springs. It is a crisp cool morning about 38F, so the windows are up and the heat is on as we follow the Yellowstone River. We stop first at LeHardy Rapids. This is an interesting for, in late July, the spawning trout fly upstream. The info marker says one can see as many as 50 in air at one time. It is a bit early for that, so we can only imagine.
We get to the Washburn area just in time to watch a bison swim across the Yellowstone River. As big as he is, he did not struggle in the swiftly flowing river. Once he arrived at the other bank, he found his footing, shook fiercely, and sauntered up the path. That was quite a sight to behold.
But we need to get over to the Visitors Education Center before the crowds. As we leave the meadows, I don’t worry about wildlife on the road as it is thick with trees. Silly me. Just then a huge bison walks out of those into the roadway walking toward me. Talk about a shocker. He is like, maybe, 8-feet away. Whoa, too cool.
The Canyon stretches for 20 miles at a maximum depth of over 1000 feet and varies in width from 1500 to 4000 feet. has a North Rim and a South Rim drive. Geologists have dated the lava flow at 484,000 years ago. The walls are dotted with wisps of steam from the hydrothemal features that allowed erosion. Beginning with the 308-foot Lower Falls the river rushes through the Canyon over the 109-foot drop of Upper Falls and disappears from our viewpoint at a sharp bend.