YNP\GTNP 2014 – 8\4 2014 – Car Trouble, West Thumb and Old Faithful

The plan this morning was to hike to Union Falls in the Bechler region of Yellowstone. We awoke early and drove to the trailhead which is located at the Grassy Lake Trailhead on Grassy Lake road. This is a rough road leading out of Flagg Ranch and following the south boundary of Yelllowstone eventually winding up in Ashton ID if you go far enough.

Along the way are several small campgrounds with pit toilets available so we decided to stop and use one of them before beginning the hike. We pulled into one that wasn’t occupied and turned off the car. When we got ready to leave, the car would not start. The battery had died. We couldn’t push start it due to the road being so bad so we decided to hike back to the ranch to call for help, almost a five mile hike. Fortunately we only went about 2 miles before seeing another car coming down the road (this road is very rarely used). He had jumper cables and was able to get us started up. We thanked him profusely and drove immediately to Jackson for a new battery and our own set of cables. I wasn’t sure I needed it, but with a full vacation on the line I thought it best to be safe. By 11 AM we had a new battery and were back in business. We had no more trouble for the trip. 

It may have been for the best that we had trouble though, because by 9AM the sky had opened up and it rained steadily for the next few hours. This rain would continue off and on for the next several days, although we were fortunate to usually be able to avoid the worst of it.

Having been forced to change our plans for the day, we decided to go drive into Yellowstone and maybe see some wildlife. By the time we got to West Thumb the rain had partially cleared so we took a hike through the basin. West Thumb one of my favorite areas of the park, especially in the morning with the sun coming in on the lake. We didn’t take too many pics, but here’s one of the fishing cone. Back when the park was a little less strict about such matters, you could fish next to the Geyser and then dip your catch in the cone to cook it in the boiling water. Not sure I’d want to, but supposedly people did. P1020953

After leaving West Thumb we drove to Old Faithful. We watched it erupt, but couldn’t get any good pics because the rain and cool weather was really making a ton of steam. From there we hiked around the basin a bit. 

Observation Point and Solitary Geyser: 


Giant and Grotto Geysers:


All in all we made a good day out of a bad start and still managed to get in about 8 miles of hiking (including the road). Tomorrow we’ll try Union Falls again. 


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