Sunday, November 28, 2010

Western Vacation 2010 Day Five: September 7

This is the log of my western vacation in September 2010. Some of my own photographs are included and some from Wikipedia.

We set off to the east from Mammoth, through Tower Junction and up into the Lamar Valley. Along the way we saw many bison and a single coyote who crossed the road very near our car.

Then we saw a traffic jam caused by many people watching a wolf feed on a carcass in the Lamar River. Several coyotes appeared and started calling (howls and barks), and before ten minutes passed at least three more coyotes appeared. They made an attempt to run the black wolf off but another gray wolf appeared on the bank and the coyotes dispersed. We went up a bit further and saw a bear-jam, but saw no sign of the animal. The ranger said it could be all day.

Somewhere during this time we stopped to see the Petrified Tree. We ate our lunch at Tower Falls, just past the Hanging Cliff. Out of Tower Junction we headed south towards Canyon Junction. This road crosses the Dunraven Pass near Dunraven Peak and Mount Washburn, the highest road in the park.

At Canyon, we first walked the trail down to the brink of the Lower Falls. From this trail we got our only glimpse of the Upper Falls.

Next we walked out to Inspiration Point. You cannot see the falls from here, but the view of the canyon is truly inspiring. The point itself is a precarious looking rock hanging out from the edge. Finally we went to Artist Point, which is the most famous spot for viewing the Lower Falls.

Next we took the trail to Cascade Lake to check out the fishing. There was no chance of catching anything there with my rod, so we all hiked the trail to Observation Peak.

The hike to the peak was about 3 miles of uphill, to around 10,000 ft. From the top we could see the Tetons, the Absarokas in the east, the Gallatins in the northwest, the Boiling Spring, and a bit of the canyon. There's much fire damage to see in the area. Round trip on this hike was about 10 miles. That would prove to be the most difficult hike we would make.

We were unable to eat at Canyon, so we drove back to Mammoth via the Norris Junction and ate at the cafeteria.

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