Thursday, June 11th – Yellowstone National Park – Lower Falls [Day 8]

I continued to enjoy my morning routine. The campground where we were staying (Bridge Bay) was quiet. All the campers were respectful and kept excess noise to a minimum. The bathrooms were nice and clean. No showers. The closest showers where either at Fishing Bridge (not too far away) or back up in the Canyon area. Each campsite had a metal grate and circular area for fires. The individual sites were pretty close together and compact. Tight quarters but comfortable.

My ham radio equipment was able to monitor the park ranger’s radio communications. Most of it was traffic stops (and most of the traffic stops were foreigners – they would call in their driver’s license info). The girls had a FRS radio that we used for communication as they explored the fringes of the campground. There were not a lot of other children around. I guess it is still early and they might still be in school.

Today we headed back to the Yellowstone River to view the Lower Falls. The hike I wanted to take didn’t happen because a bridge for the trail was being rebuilt. The ranger we talked to advised us to duck under the roped off area to view a nearby waterfall, which we did. Then we drove to another nearby parking lot and I decided that we’d hike down to the top of the Lower Falls. The hike was short but the decent was steep. The hike back up was a serious work out which Emily (the soon to be 1st grader) did not enjoy. But she made it. And I made it too. My performance on this hike did speak to my lake of physical preparation for the trip. Lesson learned is that I need to establish a pre-trip walking/exercise program to “get in shape”.

As a celebration of our surviving the harrowing accent of the trail back to the parking lot, we went to the Lake area’s general store for ice cream. Emily enjoyed that. I also began to notice a reoccurring theme of the easy access to ice cream in the national parks. This would continue.

The initial plan was to leave Bridge Bay Campground on Thursday and head to Madison Campground (near the western entrance and West Yellowstone). I learned quickly that there is much to be said for staying one place compared to jumping camp sites every day or two. I was able to extend our stay at Bridge Bay for an additional night and was glad to be able to do it.