We arrived at Yellowstone National Park on the afternoon of August 13. Yellowstone is amazing on so many levels. There is such a variety of landscapes; every vista creates a new definition for beauty. Though we wished to be different from every other visitor-tourist, we were compelled to take multiple pictures of the abundant wildlife. The bison and elk, in particular, were fun to watch and are magnificent creatures. Our visit was the perfect prelude to our ride through the greater ecosystem; Yellowstone is a treasure worth protecting.
We entered the park at the East Entrance, then circled through Hayden Valley where there were many, many bison. A park ranger told us that bull bison usually ranged the park in isolation, but due to mating season were currently near the cows. He said that bears were more visible this time of year, too, to take advantage of the injured young bulls who get injured fighting the older bulls. We did not see any black or grizzly bears. Rangers strongly advise carrying bear spray when hiking and only hiking in groups of four or more.
We entered the park thinking that we might camp, but saw that many campgrounds require “hard sided” campers due to bear activity. We decided to stop in one of the lodges to see whether we might be fortunate enough to find a room. We were SO very lucky and found a room in the Old Faithful Inn for the first night and in the Grant Village lodge the second night. On our way to the Old Faithful Inn we stopped at the Fountain Paint Pot and Geyser Basin. The sun was beginning to set when we arrived at Geyser Basin; it was magnificent.
The Old Faithful Inn, built in 1904, is right beside the Old Faithful Geyser. It was the coolest hotel stay ever! We took a tour of the hotel on the morning of August 14. The tour was very worthwhile; we recommend taking a look around the hotel when you visit. In the early days, the hotel was a key element in helping people recognize the need to protect Yellowstone. Check out the picture of the lobby below. Can you spot the tree-house at the top of the lobby? They told us that in the 1920’s musicians would play from the tree house for dancers in the lobby!
We saw Old Faithful perform in the evening, but then watched again the next morning. Pretty awe-inspiring! As we traveled to do some hiking, a bison traffic jam brought traffic to a stand-still! We later hiked from the Upper to the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River to Artist Point, considered part of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.
As we made our way south toward our lodging at Grant Village in the south of the park, we had to stop for construction between Norris and Madison. It reminded us of our trip on the Alaska Highway so many years ago! The guy in the car ahead jumped out at one point, dug a canister of candy out of the back and offered it to the surrounding cars! That’s how friends are made!