Monday morning, day two of our vacation, promised to be cold and wet. We decided to spend the day primarily viewing the wildlife in the park. We were rewarded right away with views of a bald eagle. We saw lots of bison and plenty of elk. The elk's antlers are just growing so they are not especially spectacular right now.
The park was very crowded. We amused ourselves by searching for license plates from all the states. Over the course of our vacation we would see at least one plate from 46 states (we didn't find Rhode Island, Delaware, Maine or Hawaii), four Canadian Provinces and several European plates. We visited with people from Italy and Great Britain and heard lots of French and Spanish. Not the mention that there were many people of Asian descent in the park as well. We were surprised and delighted to see so many people traveling in spite of the recession and the high gas prices.
We walked the short walks to view Gibbon Falls and Tower Falls. I like waterfalls. Like I told Utah Dad, they're a sure thing.
It was my first time driving through Lamar Valley. While we have heard that it is an excellent place to view bears. We were there in the middle of the day and didn't see any. The views were breathtaking. We saw lots of herds of bison, elk and some pronghorn.
As we headed north to Mammoth Hot Springs, I spotted an actual black black bear walking in the valley below. We stopped to take pictures and ended up creating quite a "bear jam". I'll swear the bear performed for the tourists. My filming skills are lacking and you can hear all the craziness of traveling with five kids in the background. Utah Dad is better, but then he doesn't have kids hanging on him.
At Mammoth Hot Springs we enjoyed ice cream and walking around the springs. We drove around the loop and stopped at Canyon for dinner. The meal was good--I had the Bison Ravioli--but it took a very long time to get our food and eat. By the time we left the dining hall, it was pouring rain again. We headed south to Hayden Valley and were thrilled to see a Grizzly bear mama with her two cubs.
This video is very shaky and you will get to hear my irritable-I've-been-in-the-car-too-long-with-five-kids voice. Forgive me. The bears are cool, though.
We continued on the south loop of the park in the rain. It was raining so hard that we really couldn't see anything. We were in the Madison Valley nearing the west entrance of the park. The rain had stopped and it was dusk. We saw a crowd gathered on a turn-out. We joined them and were excited to see a wolf feeding on a bison carcass. A second wolf also ran across the nearby meadow while we were watching.
We had a fabulous day but by the time we got back to the hotel in West Yellowstone, we were all very grateful to climb into warm and comfortable beds and go right to sleep.