After another cold night and LOTS of heavy rain and hail we were cold and had wet sleeping bags. Apparently there was a trench under our tent site for a reason...
It took us about 4 hours to pack up everything and then we toured 3/4 of the park in one day.
Sadly there weren't many bison near the road as we drove through the Hayden Valley. This one had a friend behind him that was pooping. The highlight of the day for 4 year old Noah!
First stop, stinky mud pits! This was called the Dragon's Mouth as the water is continually coming out in waves making a roaring sound. It's also stinky!
There's a photo of us at this same sign from the last time we visited Yellowstone... Then there were 9 of us, this time there are 6 and it's just our family! I think we grew...
(and I just noticed I have another picture of the Dragon's Mouth in that post too!)
We made it down to the Old Faithful area and had about 40 minutes before the window when Old Faithful was supposed to go off. Daisy Geyser was supposed to go off in about 20 and we wondered if we could get there and back since Cory was very excited to see Old Faithful.
The lady at the front desk told us it was about half a mile out... so we hoofed it. Only to get here to Castle Geyser and have the sign say that Daisy Geyser was another half mile away.
You can see the Inn in the background, where we needed to get back to to see Old Faithful go off.
We took the boardwalk on the other side of the geyser area going back, one I had never been on before. There are lots of bubbling pools and pretty colors like this Crested Pool.
We didn't make it all the way back around as it was HOT and the boys were going slow.
Sadly I think geyers are one of those things that are much more spectacular the closer you are. We stopped at this viewing area when it was getting close because we didn't want to be down in the trees to the left and miss it entirely.
While sitting there I overheard a kid to my right say "this was SO worth it" and his parents laughed and said something about how when they were park employees they thought the same thing. So we struck up a conversation. It's always fun to meet other people who have worked in Yellowstone as it's quite the unique working environment. We chatted all the way back around the walk.
I love the old Inn, it's gorgeous inside, but very dark with bright spots where the windows are so it's quite difficult to take photos inside.
Then we headed north to Bozeman and back to my friend Dan's house (different Dan!). After stopping for road construction we were halfway to Mammoth when we saw a family walking quickly along the side of the road. Bear!
We quickly turned around and found the pull off they had parked in and all jumped out. Hope was still asleep so Brian went back with Joy soon and I took the boys up on the bank. We managed to see through the trees two black bears, although one of them was brown in color.
They headed off through the trees away from us so we went back to the car. By then a TON of people had stopped to see what they could see and by the time we started driving again the brown colored bear had gone ahead to a clearing and was much closer to the road.
There were a whole bunch of people standing way to close (in my opinion) and when the bear started ambling towards them - looking for food - they scattered! We were in the car on the road and I handed Brian the camera and he managed to get a few good shots before a truck behind us started honking (really? I have no idea why they were in such a hurry!).
This is actually the closest and best bear sighting I ever had, even with working over 6 months combined in the Park. We won't talk about the bear that was sitting right outside my dorm room on the back steps one summer while I was sleeping in!
And so we stopped for pizza in Gardiner and then headed back to Bozeman for a good night sleep in warm dry beds!