Bucket List Destination #3: Geysers, Game, and Gorgeous Views

Last day of work for me! Tim and Grandmother slept in, and Tim had to run to the breakfast room to grab breakfast before they closed. Grandmother was just out of bed when Tim returned with food. Despite my blessing to go forth and explore, they decided to hang out in the hotel room and read. (Though I think I heard some “Angry Birds” on the iPad from Tim’s side of the room at some points.) Tim assembled lunch for us, and then he and Grandmother took a little snooze until I finished work. As soon as I shut down, we headed straight to the park.

At the main gate, we stopped to get a senior pass, which will get us in all the parks for just $10 thanks to Grandmother’s senior status. The lady at the gate did a double-take–she couldn’t believe that Grandmother was almost 86.  She said she thought she needs to move to WV if Grandmother was any indication of what people from WV looked like at an older age. 🙂

We weren’t ten minutes inside the gate when we spotted our first bison, and about ten minutes later we passed one right next to the road. Tim was moving a little too fast for us to stop, but we’re confident we’ll have another “up close” experience.

We stopped at the Paint Pots, a location that Grandmother particularly remembered, and then headed on to Old Faithful. There’s a chance of rain tomorrow, so we decided if we were going to have to sit outside to wait for the eruption, we might as well do it when the sun was out and the breeze was blowing.

Grandmother's two fingers represent second trip, not peace or victory, she wanted to clarify. ;)
Grandmother’s two fingers represent second trip, not peace or victory, she wanted to clarify. 😉

After a bit of a wait, Old Faithful was, well, faithful, and Tim and I got to check another item off our bucket list, and Grandmother got to double-check it off. 😉 She said by her count it was 44 years ago that she last saw Old Faithful erupt.

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A growling stomach and an almost “hangry” girl meant there was a quick tour around the Old Faithful Visitor’s Center, and then we were on to the Old Faithful Inn for dinner. The Inn is a really neat place to visit, and we enjoyed having dinner there.

Inside the inn, which was built over the course of a single winter in 1902. Note the tree trunks used in its construction
Inside the inn, which was built over the course of a single winter in 1902. Note the tree trunks used in its construction

Grandmother got the bison, pheasant, and chicken sausage dinner, Tim got the bison pot roast, and I broke the bison trend with a steak.

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After dinner, we headed for the Grand Prismatic Spring and enjoyed the half mile walk around the almost other-worldly site. The light was beginning to fade, so we made our way back to the west gate back to our hotel, stopping on two side roads that afforded us views of more thermal features and a beautiful waterfall. We also saw a lone bison and a couple elk in the twilight.

A hydrothermal feature
A hydrothermal feature
Off-the-beaten-path falls
Off-the-beaten-path falls

The sites, as have been so many on this trip, are amazing. I felt like the camera couldn’t capture the colors the way I saw them, so I didn’t take as many pictures. I wanted to see the sites with my own eyes and not through a camera lens that restricted my view and reduced the hue of the beauty around me.

Our plan is for an early morning to try to beat some of the crowds into the park. We’re going to try to see as much as possible tomorrow, and spend most of the day sightseeing. Fortunately, quite a bit of Yellowstone can be seen from the car, so Grandmother will have rest opportunities. She was a real trooper today, though. On several occasions, she said she was tempted to stay behind, but each time she went and made it the whole trek and said she was glad she did each time. We just walk slow and take breaks to enjoy the scenery. I told Grandmother I’d rather stay at her pace, see less, and appreciate it more than to try to run around, see more, and appreciate it all less. I’m looking forward to another day of appreciation and beauty tomorrow!

L

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