I went to bed thinking I’d get up super early and go south to the Colter Bay Village to get in a kayak trip before going into Yellowstone to meet my friends. I was up early, the lack of comfort in my little cabin made that easy, but was more realistic about what I’d be able to accomplish. When I’d checked in the evening before the clerk told me it could take 2+ hours to get to our meeting point and the fear of keeping people waiting kept me focused on a northerly course.
As I got on the road the fog made it clear I’d made the right decision. It started as a light haze and got thicker as I entered the park. In a way that was good, it kept me focused on the road rather than gawking. Around the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake things cleared up a bit, allowing for a nice view.
I was making way better progress than anticipated, probably because it was early enough not many people were on the road. When I happened upon the Mud Volcano Area I decided there was probably time for me to take a quick look around. It was other worldly with the haze that was still lingering. I was amused by the little bubbling mud pot and Drangon’s Mouth Spring.
A short while later I found myself in the midst of a Yellowstone-style traffic jam. The bison were amazing. The big guy crossing the road delayed traffic enough you could get plenty of pictures without having to bother with parking and getting out of your car.
Seeing that I was still on track to be early meeting with my friends I went ahead and stopped off at Artist Point for a quick wander around the viewpoint.
I made my way up the other side of the canyon to the Canyon Village where I was meeting the Kanegaes. Still a bit on the early side I parked, sent a text letting them know where I was, and went in to the café for some coffee and light breakfast. I opted to sit outside and it didn’t take long for my travel companions to find me.
We passed back through the Hayden Valley and I got some additional bison photos from a different perspective.
We parked briefly at the Sulfur Caldron. Rather than stare at the caldron I stepped the other way and snapped a few pictures of the valley. I got back in to the car and turned to Jeff just in time to spot a Bison strolling down the street.
After that bit of excitement we moved on to the Mud Volcano. The pictures look about the same as the ones from earlier in the morning so I’ll spare the space.
We stopped off at Lake Village for a late lunch, nearly too late as they cut off lunch service at 2:30pm. It is a lovely old lodge with a great views of Yellowstone Lake. Definitely a place I plan to get reservations at for my next visit.
We continued on along the southern loop making a few stops on our way to Old Faithful. From our perspective from the back of the crowd it was hard to tell if it was water or just steam rising. Pretty impressive either way.
We procured some scrumptious ice cream at the gift shop. It was totally worth the wait!
From there we looped back around to Canyon Village so I could collect my car then we made our way to Gardiner. A few pictures were safely taken using a selfie stick along the way. Clearly my focus was not on getting the best pictures, but some of them turned out nice. For reference we took the route directly north from Canyon Village to the North Entrance via Tower-Roosevelt as there was construction on the shorter, western leg.
We weren’t staying at the same hotel so I stopped to check in to my hotel, drop off my things, then meet my travel mates at their hotel. I’d been told they had surprisingly good food and I was not disappointed.
Everyone was pretty wiped out after all the distance we had covered so we confirmed our plan for the morning departure and said good night.