Started out this morning with one of the worst breakfast experiences I think I have ever had! The restaurant in West Yellowstone looked pretty good from the outside, and was very busy (which is usually a good sign), but the reason it was so crowded was that no one was being served! We waited for a couple of minutes for a table, and then a couple left in disgust, and we took their table. The food wasn’t too bad, but the service was TERRIBLE!
We got into Yellowstone Park at about 10 a.m., and before we got very far into the park we were treated to views of a Bald Eagle, a Trumpeter Swan, and two Bison. We worked our way down the west side of the park, stopped at many of the “hot spots” and walked along the boardwalks that they have installed so that you don’t step through the thin crust into boiling water. Some very beautiful sights (and some very awful smells [Sharla says]). The smell of rotten eggs (hydrogen sulfide) was everywhere.
We got to Old Faithful about an hour before the scheduled eruption, so we had lunch in the cafeteria and did some souvenier shopping. We got outside about 15 minutes before she went off. It was a spectacular show (which isn’t always the case – Old Faithful isn’t the most explosive or spectacular geyser – its claim to fame is its regularity – about every hour and a half, give or take a few minutes).
Continuing along the loop, we had a rather tranquil drive past Yellowstone Lake (at an altitude of over 8,000 feet!), and crossed the Continental Divide twice. Then it was more volcanic activity and boiling springs and geysers. By now the sun was starting to go down, and all of the critters started to come out of the woods. This included deer, elk (which we took pictures of, but didn’t include in the blog – didn’t want to make the hunters cry), a black bear, and lots of bison. At the mud volcano basin, we had a close encounter of the wooly kind: Sharla was taking pictures of a herd of bison part way up the trail. We were keeping our distance from the herd, but all of a sudden I heard Sharla gasp. I turned around and was practically face to face with a young bison that had come up behind us silently. It was only a few feet away and approaching fast. We stepped off the path (which you are never supposed to do, but we were surrounded!) and into a pile of fallen trees. The young bison caught sight of us, and just hurried on by, giving us a wide-eyed stare.
We drove in the dark most of the rest of the way out of the park. We are staying the night in Gardiner, just at the north entrance. Tomorrow we are going to start at Mammoth Hot Springs and then go see Yellowstone Canyon on our way out of the park. We will be staying tomorrow night in either Graybull or Worland, Wyoming.
Good night and God bless!