After sleeping in till 10 (the latest I’d slept in on this trip by far!) Mom and I went down to the Snow Lodge Grill for a quick breakfast. Matthew, Grampa and Auntie Stacey had gone to a junior ranger thing, leaving the rest of us to have a relaxing morning. After we were all dressed and ready, we hopped in the car, picnic supplies in hand, towards Hayden Valley, the other area recommended to see the most animals.
We kept our eyes peeled for animals and saw some elk on the drive. Soon we reached the edge of the Yellowstone River which reflected the Rocky Mountains! It was such a gorgeous view. We stopped to briefly dip our feet in. We drove a few stops further to have a picnic lunch, more turkey sandwiches. Our picnic spot was much more scenic than the first one. We found two lone tables on the edge of the lake. It was quiet and peaceful while we ate our sandwiches.
Our next pit stop was at the Mud Volcano and Mud Pots, a few pools of mud and minerals fueled by hot water and sulfur. It looked like a swirling death trap and smelled like a tire fire filled with eggs. The beauty of America. The coolest part of this stop was a spot called the “Dragon’s Mouth.” This was a cave mouth that led into a stream where the water was constantly waving back and forth due to the heat. It was also constantly steaming, and the waves beating against the cave sounded like a dragon breathing. I’d have believed a dragon lives there. Maybe one does. How would we know? You’re not allowed to go in and look.
Soon after we were in Hayden Valley and once again in a sea of bison. They were in herds of hundreds on either side of the valley. We got very close to one bison, especially Grampa, who was once again out of the car. That bison and his family eventually crossed the street and headed up the hill. Cute.
On our drive back, we stopped in the Canyon Village for souvenirs. Mom and I both liked the same sweatshirt, so we both bought it, because we’re THOSE people.
We got back to Old Faithful, and Matthew had once again completed his Junior Ranger activities, so he was able to get another badge. We all went down to the visitor’s center to see him get presented his Yellowstone Junior Ranger Badge. The Ranger presented it to him after his completion. She was going to pin it on his ranger vest but he wasn’t sitting still enough, so she gave it to Auntie instead.
We watched Old Faithful go off one last time before heading over to the Old Faithful Inn for dinner at their dining room. It was a beautiful restaurant filled with pretty murals of Yellowstone and a view of our hotel…over some construction equipment. It was still really nice though. Auntie, Mom, and Grampa all got the dinner buffet and Memere and I each got the steak, which was delicious. After dinner we went to get ice cream and take a walk around the geysers. We even got to see a hot spring which inside you could see the whole cavern and the water bubbling. Matthew had a little trip on the boardwalk. Mom had found some animal poop and he got very excited, spun around too fast and took a tumble. It’s okay though. Band-aids fix everything.
Soon after we were in bed, ready to set off the next morning to our next destination.