We also drove past a very frozen Lake Hebgen. It was so peaceful and beautiful! Shortly after than we made it to our hotel room at the Abbey Inn and checked in. We have stayed here once before in 2008 and liked it so much we returned. Our room had two king beds, a nice sized table we used to eat at, microwave and fridge. It also had two doors, one to the inside of the hotel and another to the parking lot. Which means we could park right outside our hotel door! Much easier when hauling everything in and out everyday!
The next day we slept in and decided to we would head down to the Old Faithful area to see how the weather and road conditions were. We also decided to visit the Grizzly Bear and Wolf Discovery Center before we headed into the park. We had never been there before and it was literally right across the street from our hotel. It was very cool to see the grizzlies and wolves close up. The naturalists were very educational and friendly too. I would highly recommend this stop to anyone passing through. The admission is also good for two days!
We were quite surprised when most of the roads were completely void of any snow. Not even old snow. The weather was also quite warm and we didn't even need sweaters most of the time. We did some shopping at the snow lodge, visited the visitor's center, then watched Old Faithful erupt. We took our time driving in and back and stopped occasionally to watch the elk or bison from the road.
|So crowded. Could hardly find a spot to watch! HA!|
On day two we decided to wake up early, stop by the bear center and then go the Mammoth area. When we returned to the bear center they were just bringing in a dumpster to bear enclosure. They do bear proof canister testing at the center. If a container can be worked on by a bear for 60 minutes and not be opened then that container is then considered "bear resistant". We didn't stick around long enough to see if this one passed or not. I am also glad we went back for the second day too since the wolf packs were also more active.
|Look closely. There is a calf lying down on the right side of mama!|
|Another closed trail! Most were closed.|
|Our truck (actually Grandpa's truck) at the north gate.|
We then headed over to Norris Geyser Basin to hike the 2+ mile loop. It was still raining on and off so we put the rain pod over Savannah's backpack to keep her dry. We didn't get to see any eruptions but it was still a really cool hike. It was one of only a few areas that were still open for hiking. Others were closed due to "bear activity".
We had so much planned for our last day. It was the day that Old Faithful Inn was opening for the season and another section of roads would open inside the park. Unfortunately the truck had other ideas. It had a hard start that morning and then the engine light came on and would not go off. Hubby took it to the (only!) mechanic while I stayed with Savannah in the room. I started to get our stuff packed and ready just in case we had to leave early and tow the truck to the next major town in Idaho. Thankfully, the mechanic was able to fix the truck and we were on our way into the park just a couple hours later! Whew! Since it was getting late in the afternoon we headed straight for the Old Faithful Inn dining room for lunch. We had a fantastic dinner here in 2008 and we really wanted some more of their amazing soup. (Roasted pepper and gouda. YUM!) Savannah was being really good so she got some huckleberry ice cream at the end for a reward.
After lunch we walked around the geyser basin, did some more shopping and then started to head out of the park. On the way out we stopped by Grand Prismatic spring. As we pulled into the parking lot we noticed three bison bulls walking through. We pulled right up to them and parked. They were only about 10 feet away and Savannah had a great time watching them graze and rub on the trees and rocks. We also got to watch a bus full of tourists get amazingly close to the bison. At one point a lady was only standing about 5 feet away from a bull. I had my camera ready but thankfully she got her photo without upsetting the bull.
Then next day we sadly said good bye to Yellowstone and headed out. We drove Idaho and down through Utah and finally stayed the night in Lehi, UT (conveniently close to a Cabelas store).The next morning we drove down through the rest of Utah, a slice of Arizona and then into Nevada. We stopped and stayed in Las Vegas. Savannah had never been to Vegas before and we thought she would enjoy seeing all of the lights. She seemed to enjoy herself and we had dinner at Rainforest Cafe in the MGM Grand. She really liked the cafe but was a little too distracted at times to actually eat! I did feel bad because we told she would see some real lions but the display was closed for a remodel. The next morning we had breakfast at the Silverton. After breakfast we went through the Bass Pro Shops and then headed home. It was a great trip overall and Savannah did amazing. She was overwhelmed at times but still handled it well.
Now where should we go next? Nine states down, forty one more to go!