My suggestions - Part 1

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 06:10:41 08/07/17

In Reply to: Trip Plans posted by Red Hot Mama

Red Hot Mama,

I can see that you have invested considerable time in developing this proposed itinerary. That is laudable. I'm just throwing out some thoughts that occurred to me as I read through it, and then re-read in the interest of clarity. I'll try to make my comments chronological, in deference to your organization.

First,if you have the time to wrap up the visit to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center on Saturday, do it. On Sunday, if there is some particular exhibit that you want to revisit, because you did not see what you had hoped to to, concentrate on seeing that and getting on the road.

On Sunday, you will be remarkably close to the Canyon area. I would suggest reserving some time to make a run over there. If you have the time, you can visit the Falls. With the traditional viewpoint for the Upper Falls closed, and only the Brink of the Upper Falls area open, I would skip the Upper Falls altogether. Concentrate on the Lower Falls. Start with the South Rim Drive to Artist Point. Either that day or on Tuesday or Thursday, drive the North Rim Drive. Skip Brink of the Lower Falls, but definitely hit Lookout Point. Those two stops will give you plenty of good viewing and photo opps of the Lower Falls. Also, on Sunday, while over on the east side, make a quick drive south into Hayden Valley to see what is going on wildlife-wise. At this time of year, Hayden Valley can be almost sterile, in terms of charismatic megafauna, but it has the potential to produce big time, particularly if there are elk remaining in the valley or there is a carcass drawing bears and wolves. This short scouting mission can pay big dividends in streamlining your itinerary for the rest of the week. The trade-off, if necessary, is to buy the requisite time by postponing a couple of the planned activities between Madison Junction and Norris. You will be going by there daily, and will have plenty of other opportunities to catch those that you skipped on Sunday.

Regarding Monday, I would recommend that your first stop be the Old Faithful Visitor Center to check the prediction table for the anticipated times of the next eruption on the large predictable geysers. With your demographics, I can't imagine dedicating most of a day to running back and forth all over the Upper Geyser Basin, trying to catch all or most of them, but it would be helpful to know when each is predicted for, particularly those closest to the visitor center, like Castle, Grand, and Old Faithful. Be sure to ask someone at the Information Desk about the recent behavior of each geyser. How reliable is the prediction, and how wide is the window? If there is a 4 hour window, that might not be something you want to commit to with young children who might not be thrilled about sitting around for a couple hours waiting on a geyser. If it happens that Great Fountain Geyser is predicted for a part of the day when you might be up north around Midway or the Lower Geyser Basin, you might dovetail a trip out Firehole Lake Drive into your plans. Also, be aware that the Geyser Grill is a fast food joint. I love the flame-grilled burgers, and the fries are pretty good. I just don't want anyone in your party to go in there with the expectation of a diverse menu.

Regarding Tuesday, the Uncle Tom's trail is closed as far as I know. That entire parking lot is unavailable to the public while the reconstruction is going on. Also, Inspiration Point is under reconstruction, so that entire side trip is closed. As mentioned before, skip Brink of the Lower Falls and go to Lookout Point. (You don't need to invest the time and energy to walk down and back up the Red Rock trail.) Grandview would be optional, but after Lookout Point, a bit redundant.

(To be continued in Part 2)

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