Roadtrip continues: Madison area of Yellowstone

After leaving the Fishing Bridge area of Yellowstone Sunday morning, we made our way to the Madison area on the west side of the park. Along the way we passed Old Faithful, and just had to stop.


This ended up being probably my least favorite of the sights on our 3+ days in the park. You see, it's pretty much the "Disneyland of Yellowstone": a huge parking lot, many shops, restaurants, and other unidentified buildings, and a long set of bleachers around the south edge of the geyser.

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When we arrived we had no idea how long we'd have to wait, as we hadn't researched how often this famous attraction erupts -- about every hour I guessed. So against our nature we waited with the growing crowds, watching the slightly-steaming mound for some evidence of excitement.

It turns out that we only had to wait about 25 minutes, and were rewarded with a minute or two of this:


Although the eruption was nice, I wouldn't say it was spectacular. That combined with the wait and crowds, and this attraction is way at the bottom of the list for me.


There were quite a few hydrothermal attractions on the road between Old Faithful and Madison but most were on the opposite side of the road, so we decided to skip them now and hit them in the morning as we will be coming back this way.

So we arrived at the Madison campground, fed the cats, and took the 5-minute walk to the Madison river:




I simply loved this spot!




The combination of water, grasses, trees, and mountain, well, that's pretty much my ideal view.



The mountain wasn't the most attractive, with evidence of a long-past fire leaving it somewhat barren...


...but still it had its beauty.


Water and grasses complement each other so well -- that's one thing I've learned on this trip:




Hmmm... how am I going to get a crystal-clear mountain river to run through my garden at home in St. Louis?

I think I have to give up on that idea, but I can do something like this (if I clearcut my yard):


What's not to love about a grassy field of wildflowers?


Okay, now the panoramic shots:



Even the reverse view was spectacular:


The campground is back in those trees -- you can see a few of the white RVs peeking through the trees in the middle of the image if you zoom in.

I spent most of my time looking to the south though.


No walkways, parking areas, guide signs -- just pure Yellowstone Nature. It makes part of me want to come back someday and trek a bit of the 97% of the park that is wilderness.


I came back here later in the day to grab more photos of the plants, like I did in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. That post is coming soon.


Did I mention that I really loved this area?

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Alan  – (September 5, 2013 at 9:04 PM)  

So I'm the only one who loves this area? Not a single comment... :)

LostRoses  – (September 6, 2013 at 7:01 PM)  

I love it too but was a little taken aback about your lack of enthusiasm for Old Faithful! So many of the wonderful sights in our country are accompanied by crowds so don't let that stop you. Did you visit the lodge? So much history there. I admire your biking/hiking stamina!

Alan  – (September 8, 2013 at 7:30 AM)  

LostRoses: I didn't say I hated Old Faithful, just on the relative scale of Yellowstone attractions it was disappointing. I think it's mainly because I really like to quietly observe these wonders for as long as I like, and Old Faithful doesn't let me do that (and is certainly not a quiet spot).

Alan  – (September 8, 2013 at 7:32 AM)  

I've just realized in looking at a more detailed map that the river in this area next to the campground is not only the Madison river, it's where three rivers come together: Madison, Gibbon, and Firehole. Technically I think it's where the Gibbon and Firehole rivers combine to form Madison.

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