We get up at 5am, creeping out in the chill and darkness in hopes of seeing animals before the day gets too hot.
We are nearly alone on the roads, inching toward West Thumb. We stop a few times, signs of elk having been through in the past but none so far this morning.
But when we stop at Grant Village for coffee and start back out, two females pass beside and in front of us in the quiet of the morning.
Then we head up along the coastline of Yellowstone Lake, through Lake Village and northbound toward the Canyons.
Along the way we see bison on the distant hills, best made out with binoculars.
We stop at one of the restrooms just in time for a group of bison to come heading our way.
Then we press on only to find another herd right at the roadside.
Our next tops are the South Rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, with its waterfall views, and then a lunch stop at Canyon Village.
After lunch we circle back to see the North Rim before pressing on.
Pretty soon we’re looping south back toward Old Faithful, passing Norris and Madison. We’re tired after our early day, so we decide to forego everything else and press on to the midway geyser basin to see the Great Prismatic Spring. But that lot is full and backed up out onto the loop – we don’t make it in at all.
Finally we make our way back to the Old Faithful Inn. We decide to walk the geyser basin near the Inn before going in to clean up and change for dinner.
We buffet at the OFI restaurant is a feast, after which we head back to our room to unwind and…
Sleep comes early again.
## IRL: happy birthday 🎈