I’ve had a lot of people ask me: “Where did y’all stay?” “What did y’all do?”
Well, the answer is very long.
We flew into Bozeman, Montana on a Saturday around 1:00 p.m. Mountain time. We rented an SUV and drove straight to the Wal-Mart in Bozeman to pick up a cooler and some supplies and refreshments. That afternoon, we drove to West Yellowstone, where we stayed the night.
We stayed at the Madison Hotel, which is a 100+ year old log hotel. It’s very reasonably priced, has some hostel rooms, and is super convenient to the Park and everything in town. We found a bar that evening, watched Georgia lose their football game, then went to another restaurant and had some appetizers for supper.
The next morning, we got up before the sun (pretty easy, considering our bodies never strayed from Eastern time!) and headed into Yellowstone where we watched the sun rise.
This was the best time for critter watching, and it wasn’t too long before we started running into elk and buffalo jams. These pictures of this elk at sunrise turned out to be some of my very favorites from the entire trip.
We saw SO MANY BUFFALO. And a few osprey, Trumpeter swans, geese, chipmunks, and of course, squirrels on Day 1 in the Park.
We went in the West Entrance of the Park and headed south towards Old Faithful. On the way there, we saw all the wildlife above, as well as made many, many pit stops. We saw the mud pots and paint pots, Excelsior Geyser, the Firehole River, Grand Prismatic, and so much more.
We made our way to Old Faithful, then hiked the Observation Point Trail nearby.
After Old Faithful, we headed back from whence we came and did a very long hike to Fairy Falls. It was a three-mile hike to the trail head (the way we went, anyway) and we hiked a total of twelve miles on day one.
The Fairy Falls trailhead is on the other side of Grand Prismatic, so we got another view of it.
After twelve miles of hiking, we were famished and ready to head to the hill. We spent our second night inside the Park at the Canyon Lodge in a cabin. It wasn’t a luxury cabin, but it served the purpose and had a hot shower (possibly the best I’ve ever had?), so we were happy campers. We ate dinner at the Canyon Lodge, which has a great beer and wine list but the food is just sort of meh. As much as I love to build a trip around food, this wasn’t one of those kinds of trips, and that was A-okay. Just don’t get your hopes up. Save your hungry for Bozeman. :) If you’re interested in staying inside the Park, the rooms and cabins book up to a year in advance. We were lucky and found one night in a cabin at Canyon and I built the rest of our trip around that. To make reservations inside the Park, visit Yellowstone National Park Lodges.
Day Two up next! With all these pictures, I thought it unfair to bombard you with them all at once. And a more whimsical, sit-down-child-let-me-tell-you-a-story version is coming soon, too.