I meant to update last night, but the internet connection at the hotel was poor & we were tired, so it didn’t happen.
After 3 flights we were a bit nervous about our luggage making it on our small plane to Bozeman, but fortunately it did! [I felt for the poor tired lady with little kids standing at the turned off carousel desperately telling an airport worker that her other bag wasn’t there]
We picked up the hirecar & drove the mercifully short trip to the hotel. Driving on the right seemed a Herculean task and I started to worry about all the driving….Fortunately after food & sleep Rod is managing really well although it still feels a bit freaky!
The hotel suite was ginormous and very comfortable & Pappa John’s pizza was conveniently right next door [excellent pizza!].
Nick and I woke up at 2pm [did get back to sleep about 4] and Rod managed to sleep right through [so did Chris as far as I know]. The hotel provided breakfast of raisin toast, bagels or donuts[!] as well as coffee or juice, so we partook & set off for Yellowstone.
The scenery on the road out was beautiful, with mountains rearing up on each side. We were thrilled to see a tumbleweed roll briskly across the road!
We saw some magpies [black, white and blue with extremely long tails] & some mule deer before we even got to the park. Just inside the park was a herd of Elk, including a majestic stag, so we stopped to take photos. Mammoth Hot Springs was our first real stop & we walked around an extensive board walk through the beautiful coloured terraces and springs. Only Nick thought it smelt very sulphurous. Chris enjoyed the walk, although he was pleased to go down for lunch. There are elk wandering around near the shops and hotel, including a bugling stag looking for does, so there are park rangers whose job it is to stop people getting too close.
We spent the rest of the afternoon driving the upper loop of the park, past conifer forests, cottonwoods turning gold & the tumbling Yellowstone River. We stopped whenever we saw clusters of people with binoculars & by this method saw Mule Deer & a distant bear [very exciting!]. We also saw an osprey & a chipmunk (not a squirrel).
Tomorrow we will drive the lower loop as well as a few of the thermal features we missed today because it was too dark to see by the time we finished.
Last night was warm & today was fairly mild, but tonight feels much colder.
We have had a fabulous time today.
Click on the Gallery link above for more photos.