The main reason we stopped in Livingston, MT was to visit Yellowstone. And we are sure glad we did. Today, we drove south through a wide valley with high mountains at the edges, past horse ranches, the Devils slide, and through Yankee Jim Canyon.
We arrived at the famous gates of Yellowstone just after 11 a.m.
"FOR THE BENEFIT AND
ENJOYMENT OF THE PEOPLE"
After stopping at the ticket booth (many thanks again, Petra & Jarda!), we headed up the twisty 2-lane road to Mammoth Hot Springs. Jen's first tour stop was the Terraces.
We walked to the lower level together, then I left Jen at the van and headed higher. There's a lot of lumber in the walkways guiding you across the fragile landscape to the various highlights of the Hot Springs.
Yellowstone is really spectacular in that you drive through a wooded area, up a slight grade, then boom, all of a sudden you are in a very large meadow.
And that scenario continues as we headed towards Old Faithful. There are no really steep grades as I thought there might be; just gentle slopes climbing ever higher. We passed geysers and hot springs as we got closer to our destination.
We passed this guy, obviously not terribly bothered by us humans.
We pulled off at the "Artist Paintpot" where Jen was told it really wasn't worth the hike, but on the way back to the main highway, we saw this guy - a grey wolf:
We arrived at Old Faithful and hit the café. On the wall was an electronic displays which told us the next eruption was to occur at 1:28, give or take 15 minutes. The sun was shining so we wandered out onto the viewing deck.
After answering a question from another tourist couple as to when Old Faithful was going to erupt, they wandered off. We found a comfortable spot just a short distance away from the milling masses. About 5 minutes later (approx. 1:15, ahead of schedule), old Faithful erupted.
Show done, we started back to Livingston back along the same highway. We stopped at Gibbon Falls, on the edge of the caldera that was formed approximately 640,000 years ago when Yellowstone last erupted.
We arrived back at Mammoth Hot Springs to see buffalo and elk merrily grazing on the side of the road. Okay, this was a good time for a tea. We parked just around the corner from our first stop at the Terraces this morning - another stunning view.
(I didn't think you needed to see more pictures of buffalo and the elk were sheddy their winter coats - scruffy!)
It has been a long day, a thoroughly delightful day, and we were tired, so after tea we headed back to camp.
At Mammoth itself, we saw these grazing without a care in the world. Okay, these guys are not scruffy.
Going back down was even more interesting than driving up. Here is one example:
We saw this large formation on the Upper Loop above the Terraces:
An hour or so later we were back at the RV park.
Yellowstone certainly did not disappoint. Jennie & I look forward to next year on our way back to Vancouver Island. We may very well stop and see the other half (still closed half) of Yellowstone. And there is also the Beartooth All American Highway to drive.