We began by visiting the numerous hot springs that dotted the landscape. From pink springs, to mud springs, to hot springs, to sulfur springs, we lingered around each bubbling spring, thoroughly amazed by the spectrum of springs this geologic park has to offer.
Our second stop began at the Grand Yellowstone Lodge, a ruggedly designed resort that also houses a restaurant and gift shop. Touring the hotel was more like a time-killer though, because it was located just yards away from Old Faithful, making this a perfect place to wait for the geyser to go off. As the time approached, we rushed to the rim to get a close up. We were barely able to contain our excitement when a loud boom thundered across the vicinity as the geyser shot its thick column of steam hundreds of feet up into the air.
For our third leg of the tour, we arrived at the bank of the Yellowstone Lake, where we embarked on a small hike along the lake as we enjoyed beautiful scenery, gazing out into the horizon from the "thumb" side of the lake.
Afterwards, we drove to visit the Yellowstone Falls, where we not only saw it from afar, but also viewed it from the top of the fall, then hiked down the 500-step steel ladder to the bottom, seeing it and feeling the rush of thundering water just yards away from me. But the best view of the falls was definitely the Artists Point, where we got a panoramic view towards the beautiful upper Yellowstone Falls and its valley.
Then we proceeded to our last stop, Mammoth Springs. As we drove towards it, it was to our delight that a buffalo ran up along side of our tour bus, allowing us to view it up close and personal. Amazing. After a brief lunch/tour at the Mammoth Springs Village, we took a hike from the top of the spring to the bottom. It was during this time that we learned that most of the springs have sadly gone dry around 1996. However, there were a few sections of the spring that were still alive, enough so we weren't just seeing a huge, dead, spring. We were able to finish this trail in about 1 hour, frequently stopping to take pictures along the way where springs are still active.
As we finished our tour of the Yellowstone, I walked away with a renewed sense of what Yellowstone is about. It was one of the most memorable national parks I have visited.