We weren’t quite so lucky with weather on our second day. We had booked a wildlife photo tour with a local guide departing at 5:45 am. It was pouring rain, and eventually turned into snow. The 1930’s yellow mini-bus we were travelling in was painfully frigid. We had to leave the windows open a crack to keep the fog away. By the end of the day I was convulsing with cold and no longer knew if I still had fingers or feet.
I was really hoping to encounter some otters, but instead we saw a whole lot of elk, bison, deer, birds, ducks, and to the staten island, ny fellow’s delight a grizzly bear trying to encroach upon an elk’s territory (perhaps to eat it’s baby).
*Note: for peace of mind, it did not appear successful
When we were returned to our hotel, I grilled up a feast of veggies and tofu and started to get excited to only have one more night’s sleep beside the gross sick mess that has become my mother.
I started to contemplate my reasons for this trip — to get away, and to be somewhere quiet. I think I half achieved this. My mother is a very chatty person and can often happily chirp away to herself, therefore not so much peace and quiet. However, the vast nature that surrounds us did have a somewhat calming effect.
I think camping would have been a totally different experience — a more authentic experience. I noticed a bison just standing, hanging out in the middle of a nearby campground. I think perhaps that’s how I will proceed the next time I visit this park, or it’s equivalent. I expected to do a lot more hiking and I’m a bit disappointed that didn’t happen.
It’s hard at the end of a vacation to really get motivated to pack a lot in, especially when each leg of the journey includes an arduous drive. But, this is how I like to travel. I feel obligated to cram a lot in to the few opportunities I do get to travel. Next time I might try a slower paced holiday.
Eventually I was so worn out I buckled and paid for my own hotel room. I needed some space and quiet for a good night’s sleep.
YELLOWSTONE – LAST DAY
I slept like a baby. Having my own room was amazing. I could sit quietly and contemplate, but instead I chose to veg out in bed with nachos, then sleep.
I woke up feeling a million times better, and ready to take on the park.
We drove in towards all the geysers and basins. It was already packed with tourists. I loved examining all the geothermal colours, textures and patterns as well as watching the water jump. It was crazy to think that they really had no idea where the next hot spot could appear. I was watching people step down off the wooden boardwalk to get closer to the geysers, not knowing (or caring) what was potentially brewing underfoot. Not to mention if they somehow lost their balance and fell into these beautiful pools of inferno. The waters can be as hot as 250 degrees Fahrenheit!
While we were waiting for Old Faithful to blow, a 20 year-old gentleman asked my mom if the seat beside her was taken. I could see him out of the corner of my eye eyeballing my camera to see what kind of lens I had. Nothing fancy. Then my mom started chattering away to him. Somewhere in that time, our neighbours mentioned a friendly chipmunk. I wandered off to find out what the fuss was all about.
We sat there for a good hour while she conversed with him, mostly telling him stories about her time in Germany (where he was from). I felt super awkward. I don’t know why I always feel the need to apologize for my mom, but I made it known that she regularly talked to random strangers. I asked him some questions and suggested some places for him to visit on his road trip so it didn’t seem too weird just be chatted up by an older lady. I was quite famished by this time, so I suggested we go grab lunch before getting on with our day. When we were leaving, my mom likened the fellow to her boyfriend when she was young. Oh dear.
After lunch, we headed back towards the gate to catch the last geothermal sites that we had missed on our way in.
I was content to leave the park, feeling as though I had covered most of the territory. The geysers were probably the most interesting bit. As soon as we got in the car, it began to rain, which seemed fitting given the weather we had endured the whole trip. At the exit, we met a herd of bison again, a true Yellowstone goodbye. The only thing we missed out on was otters. I had scoured the bodies of waters trying to find one. Next time.