“This is not a hike for climbers without experience at high altitudes,” the ranger warns us. Then, he adds, “It is the best view of Lower Falls.” Gary and I walk down a few yards to see the Upper Falls pound down on the Yellowstone River. We stand at the lookout mesmerized by its 109 feet of power. A few hikers coming up from Lower Falls stop on the trail. They struggle to breathe. One bends over clasping her hands on her knees. “Was it worth?” we ask when she raises her head. Their eyes open wide. “Oh yes.” They both nod and grin.
Gary and I look at each other. Sure, we live pretty close to sea level, and we’ve got a few years on anyone we see coming up the path. (We carry our Senior Lifetime Park Passes in our wallets.) But here we are. We can do this. Right?
After Old Faithful, Lower Falls is the most popular site in Yellowstone National Park. It’s about a 1/3 mile down, and a 600 foot drop, to Lookout Point and stand at the top of this 308 foot waterfall. The switchbacks going down are easy. Climbing back up is not. I stop several times to catch my breath and feel my heart working as hard as it’s ever worked.
I’d do it again. To see this glorious force of nature, to feel the mist and the wind, and to hear the furious rumbling sound as the water crashes down into Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon. As the falls rebound upward creating billows of watery clouds, they catch the sun’s rays, and there, streaming out across the canyon is a rainbow.
These photos and video of the park are better than anything on my iPhone.