Day 16 - Yellowstone National Park
Today we finally have nice weather. We have breakfast at our hotel and we immediately notice that there are lots of Russians.
We leave for the national park, which is Patrick's most favorite park, and we are confronted with wildlife (bisons) crossing the road. You really have to pay attention here as the animals' unsteady behavior (as well as the people wanting to take photographs) is impossible to assess and you can have a collision with all its consequences. Nevertheless, you still see cars driving very fast in the park, irresponsible!
Today we take our time for the northern loop. On our way we see, at a close range, a bull elk (or Wapiti) with beautiful, but still small, antlers. We drive to Mammoth Hot Springs, a place you really should see when visiting Yellowstone and again we are amazed by nature's beauty and vulnerability.
We continue on the North Entrance Road, a part which we never did before and then we drive back but in the other direction. On our way we stop for a picnic in an area where you might see moose. No luck today! There is a lot of wind here as it is an open plain so we drive on.
When we almost reach Tower-Roosevelt (crossing the North-East Entrance Road) we see some cars standing next to the road so we stop. In the valley there is a black bear walking between the dead wood. We hear a park ranger saying that the bear will probably cross the road here, as he does this every day, so people have to get into their cars. We drive on now that we still can.
We take again a turn where we never have been before, the North-East Entrance Road. We see pronghorns in the grass. A bit further we see again some cars by the road and people with their big lenses on their camera's... there's something to see here! Indeed, we see a nest with a mother and 4 little badgers. We never saw this before. Beautiful and playful animals.
On our way back we try to see wolves in the Lamar Valley but we have no luck.
We drive to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and when we get back from Inspiration Point, PaNa make for the first time the hike to the Lower Falls (a heavy walk but worth it). The descent of 200m on a path of about 500m (a slope of 40%) goes easily. Once we arrive at the top of the waterfall we have a beautiful view and the water falls down about 100m with full strength. The walk back up goes less fast and Patrick starts to have some problems with his knee.
We drive back to the other side of the Canyon, to Artist Point where we have a better view of the Lower Falls.
We drive through the middle of the loop to Norris Geyser Basin where we have a look. It slightly starts to rain and gets very cold now. We decide to drive back to the hotel. On our way back we are again stopped by a herd of bisons crossing the road.
After a very nice shower we take the car (as it is raining now) to the Outpost Restaurant and have a very nice meal. Hopefully we will have nice weather tomorrow...
Daytrip approx. 253 km