Archive for the ‘2017 Yellowstone’ Category

Yellowstone Highlights: Waterfalls

September 11th, 2017

“Moose Falls. Louis Falls. Tirzah Mae Falls.”

Ask Tirzah Mae what her favorite part of our trip to Yellowstone was and you’ll be sure to hear about the waterfalls.

Daniel and Tirzah Mae at the brink of Moose Falls

Daniel and Tirzah Mae at the brink of Moose Falls

Ask her mother what HER favorite part of the trip is? She might have to (somewhat sheepishly) answer with the waterfalls too.

Why the sheepishness? Because in all my planning for the trip, in all my preparations, I didn’t pay the waterfalls much mind except to note where they were and what kind of hikes there were around them. I was busier thinking of geysers and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and wapiti and going on hikes.

Louis and his aunt Anna at the brink of Moose Falls

Louis and his aunt Anna at the brink of Moose Falls

But on our very first day in the park, as we were driving through from the South Entrance on our way to our lodgings in West Yellowstone, I pulled out the guidebook I’d made for the trip and suggested the we stop at Moose Falls just a mile inside the park. And so we did.

We took a quick scramble down the short trail, past the sign proclaiming that the falls were not for swimming, and to the brink (that’s where the “fall” starts) of the falls. Moose Falls is a 30 foot waterfall on Crawfish Creek, nothing particularly spectacular and certainly not record breaking. But between the sight of the water foaming and the sound of it whooshing and the feel of the spray on our faces, it was amazing. Even more amazing was the wonder on my children’s faces as they took in the whole experience.

Tirzah Mae and I with Moose Falls again

Tirzah Mae and I at Moose Falls

“Whoa,” Louis kept pointing and exclaiming. And “whoa” was right.

I followed along behind as the rest of our intrepid party (we’d met up with my parents and my older sister on I-80 in Wyoming and were caravaning our way
to our lodgings from there) clambered down the rocks toward the base of the falls, where a couple was defying the written directions and swimming in the pool at the bottom.

Tirzah Mae and I near the base of Moose Falls

Tirzah Mae and I at the base of Moose Falls

Tirzah Mae wanted desperately to join them, and would suggest swimming every time we saw water for the next few weeks.


Having had such a positive experience with Moose Falls, we decided to also stop at Lewis Falls (named after Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark) a bit further north along the road. This waterfall is visible from the road, which meant it was packed full of people, but we made our stop like all the rest, pulling into a pullout and crossing the road to see the falls.

My mom, the kids, and I at Gibbons Falls

My mom, the kids, and I at Gibbon Falls

Tirzah Mae enthused and Louis whoaed as I explained that the loud whooshing was made by the water tumbling through the rocks.

Tirzah Mae loved that the waterfall was named Louis Falls (after her brother, of course) and began requesting to see Tirzah Mae Falls next.

Tirzah Mae and Louis climbing rocks as Grandma and Grandpa look on

Tirzah Mae and Louis climbing rocks as Grandma and Grandpa look on

Our opportunity came three days later, when my parents joined us for an excursion before meeting the rest of our party at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Gibbon Falls, an 84 foot waterfall, was duly renamed “Tirzah Mae Falls” and we walked from the parking area along the wide guarded path alongside the road to get a better look at the falls. Tirzah Mae was thrilled to have her own waterfall – but the real highlight of “Tirzah Mae Falls” for her was the boulders here and there along the paved path. She observed other children climbing them and walking along the top and then jumping off – and decided she wanted to do the same. Unlike with the swimming episode, there were no signs prohibiting boulder climbing, so we were happy to oblige.

A look of utter joy directed at his papa

Louis’s look of utter joy directed at his papa

Tirzah Mae climbed the boulders (with help) and walked along the top of them (with help) – and, once safe on pavement, she jumped too. Despite her audible desire to jump off the rocks themselves, she never actually worked up the courage to do so.

Tirzah Mae gets down from a boulder at Gibbons Falls

Tirzah Mae gets down from a boulder at Gibbon Falls

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