A great nights sleep in the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and I’m up before the sun to see if I can catch an eruption of Old Faithful at sunrise. It’s pretty deserted, I pass a jogger as I’m wandering out but I’m surprised how few people there are around as I walk around the boardwalk areas.
Old Faithful erupts just before the sun peaks above the skyline, but it’s a beautiful morning to be wandering around and other than a few people out with their cameras I’m alone to wander the amazing scenery as the sun creeps into view. I’m so busy taking pictures that I don’t notice a bison heading directly towards me as it munches it’s breakfast grasses and melts the frost that has formed on it’s fur.
After a lovely wander in the chilly morning air I head back and check out of hotel and head for a hike in geyser country!
Having passed through some patches of morning mist the skies open up to light the scene beautifully. I hike to fairy falls, stopping along the way to scramble up a mountainside to get a slightly better view of the Grand Prismatic Spring, with it’s awesome colours.
As I’m walking back from fairy falls I come face to face with a bison walking towards me on the path, I step off the path so it wanders by ignoring me, I love these huge animals, they’re like massive lawnmowers the way they tuck into the grass around here, I’m sure I could’ve just continued walking towards it and patted it’s head as we passed each other but I have my sensible head on at this point and give it a wide berth.
Because I’ve loved this park so much I’m staying yet another night and found Mammoth Hotel & Cabins ($139, 1nght) to have a reasonably priced room in the hotel, all cabins booked unfortunately :-(. But before I check in I head out the North East Entrance, into Montana, and onto the Beartooth Hwy. Wow! this is an awesome road to drive, I had to stop to enjoy the view to let a slower driver continue up ahead. It winds steeply upwards working back on itself, great road to drive! I love driving in the US!!!!
I’d obviously heard the phrase “Big Sky Country”, but didn’t really appreciate/understand it until I got to Jackson and then up into Yellowstone NP, it really is amazing the way you feel closer to the sky at these altitudes. I speed back down the mountain, weaving left and right on the switchbacks, and catch up with a car in front but I see an amazing sight on the way down as a field mouse runs across the road in front of the car in front of me and a bald eagle is swooping in from the left to pick it up, I see it all happening in slow motion, but as our cars approach the eagle has no choice but to pull out of attack mode and the mouse escapes into the grass at the other side of the road.
There was a bit of drama around the hotel in the early evening as another bull elk approached the territory (within a few miles anyway) and the local bull elk was getting ready for a fight, rubbing it’s antlers in the ground so the wranglers kept everyone at a safe distance in case it kicked off, turned out to just be a bit of posturing with no fight in front of the hotel this evening anyway.
The next morning I check out a few more of the sights at the north end of the park before heading towards the Yellowstone Lake area and viewing more of the hot springs then head south to Jackson Hole where I grab another well deserved NY cheesecake & Belgian choc flavoured ice cream from my favourite ice cream shop! Then it’s back to Driggs, ID, to the Best Western motel ($104, 1nght).