We check out of the Old Faithful Inn, with an aim of seeing the Great Prismatic Spring ahead of the crowd. It is a good theory. But it is still early and cold – so much steam is rising from the springs that they aren’t visible.
We head north to do the Firehole Drive, pausing to watch the White Dome geyser erupt, and then walk the trail at Fountain Paint Pots, then loop back hoping the sun would have warmed things up sufficiently to see the Great Prismatic Spring.
No such luck. Apparently we have come too early.
We head north to Madison and Norris, meeting the upper loop. Along the way, we see a coyote.
There’s a big delay from construction en route to Mammoth Hot Springs, the roadside being reinforced against slides.
We stop at Mammoth Hot Springs for lunch and to visit the lower terraces.
We decide not to pursue the upper terraces today; the day has gotten hot and dry and we are all tired.
Instead we visit the Albright Center, which is surrounded by elk that are also enjoying a shady spot on this hot day.
It’s just a half hour or so until check in time at our hotel in Gardiner, so we head north, pausing at the Wash Tub to drop off a load for Fluff and Fold service while we go about our vacation. We fill up at the Conoco (also buying a fresh supply of wine) and then go check in at the Yellowstone Riverside Cottages.
We’re in unit #9, which has a full kitchen, nice bathroom, two full size beds and two bunks. They don’t look like much from outside, but in fact they are absolutely delightful for our two nights in town.
We have dinner at the river edge at the Iron Horse Bar & Grill, just appetizers (including elk nachos – so now I’ve tried bison and elk). We relax back in the cottage where we have both WiFi and TV.
Nature is beautiful, but oh how I missed the amenities of civilization!