Today, we leave the Grand Teton National Park, headed north. Guess what’s directly north of the Grand Tetons? That’s right! Yellowstone National Park. Given we had to skip certain stops on our previous day in Yellowstone, we thought this would be a great opportunity to catch those things we missed: Hike for an elevated view of the Grand Prismatic Spring, see the Artists’ Paintpots, wander through Norris Basin, and photograph Mammoth Hot Springs.
It didn’t quite work that way. On our last visit, we were held up by some construction. It was about a 15 minute wait. This time, it took us about half an hour to get through construction. The backup stretched along the exit to the Grand Prismatic Spring. After waiting so long to get that far, we weren’t turning off when we would have to do the same wait to continue. We forged ahead to the artist’s paint pots…where the road in was at a dead stop as the cars in front waited for parked cars to leave and make room. Nope! So we made an awkward u-turn with our hulking 3500 truck and headed to Norris Geyser Basin. A park ranger was at the entrance, just as we were about to turn in, shoving a roadblock in place. Norris Geyser Basin parking lot was closed.
That was it! We threw up our hands…and our bladders began to complain. We needed a bathroom. I looked at the map. There was a ranger museum just a mile ahead. Not many people care about the history of park rangers–a position originally staffed by soldiers that eventually became a specialization for civilians. We should be able to park there and use the bathrooms. Well, that kind of worked. The very small parking lot was also filled. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for someone to leave. We took the spot only to discover that it was such a small museum that there were no bathrooms. Fortunately, it was also next to a campground, which did have bathrooms. After the stress was off our bladders, I started to wonder why the parking lot was so full. Then I saw the sign: a walking trail from the parking lot to the Norris Geyser Basin. It was only a mile away.
Looks like we have one thing to see in Yellowstone because there is yet another massive backup to get to Mammoth Hot Springs and we are not even going to bother trying.